Catherine Zeta-Jones
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No one shined as bright as Catherine Zeta-Jones did during last night’s NYC Dance Alliance Foundation‘s Bright Lights Shining Stars Gala in New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. The Tony and Academy Award winning actress, in a dazzling silver Dennis Basso gown, was honored with the 2013 Ambassador for the Arts Award. Upon accepting her award, the 44-year-old, who started dancing at age four, recognized how much the discipline of dance had impacted her life. “[The] professionalism, poise, grace, stamina, all those things that I learned from that early age has stood me in good standing for the rest of my career,” Zeta-Jones said in her speech. “Even if I never put a pair of dance shoes on in my life, if I never sung a note, if I never acted a line, if I ever stood up in a board room, those years of dancing would have helped me become the woman I am today.” The actress also thanked and shared her award with her mother, “only because the hours she sat in a cold church hall waiting for me, the hours she spent sewing on sequins,” Zeta-Jones touchingly said. The actress then praised the efforts of NYCDAF for helping fellow dancers achieve their dreams, which since 2010, has awarded $8.5 million in college scholarships across the country. “I look at some of these young people on the stage and they’ve dreamt big and because of the NYCDAF, their dreams have come true.”

Plus, see more celebrities from the weekend’s parties!

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• InStyle‘s 2012 Interview with Catherine Zeta-Jones

—Jaclyn Hendricks