Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Judith Meister
Westside Ballet 

Swan Lake and Giselle at the Broad Theater May 8, 2016

Westside Ballet of Santa Monica Announces 2016 Spring Showcase

 

Sarah Poss in Sleeping Beauty

For its 2016 Spring Showcase, Westside Ballet of Santa Monica presents an enchantingly diverse program, featuring excerpts from two of the world's most beloved ballets, Swan Lake and Giselle and reviving August Bournonville's spirited divertissements from Napoli. Among the highlights is George Balanchine's charming Harlequinade Pas de Deux, Sophie Monat's fiery new work Lift, set to music of John Adams, and the return of the jazz sensation Sweet Charity!

The performances showcase the stars of tomorrow including Westside Ballet's own Shelby Tzung who is the 2016 Spotlight Awards Grand Prize winner in classical ballet. Complimentary champagne will be offered to ticket holders (Generously sponsored by The Huntley Hotel).

Santa Monica, CA -- Westside Ballet of Santa Monica is delighted to announce their annual Spring Showcase, to be presented at The Broad Stage at Santa

Monica College Performing Arts Center on Sunday, May 8, 2016. The program will feature excerpts from three great classics: Napoli, Giselle and Swan Lake; Balanchine's charming Harlequinade Pas de Deux; a dynamic new work and the return of the jazz sensation, Sweet Charity. An abbreviated, educational presentation is also planned for Friday, May 6, to be performed

for 5th graders from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School district.

Martine Harley, Artistic Director says, "Our annual Spring Showcase is an opportunity for our gifted young dancers to perform in a wide variety of classical ballets and contemporary works, which is a critical part of their ballet training. This tradition was set forth by Yvonne Mounsey, Founder of Westside Ballet, who gave generations of young dancers the same opportunities. We continue to carry forward her exceptional legacy in this program. It illustrates the evolution of our dancers from an inspired foundation to polished pre-professionals whose refinement and versatility belies their ages."

The program opens with a revival of August Bournonville's spirited divertissements from Napoli, staged by Nilas Martins. A former Principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, Nilas Martins was born in Copenhagen and trained at both the Royal Danish Ballet and the School of American Ballet in New York. Martins' wife, Monique Meunier, is an alumna of Westside Ballet and a former New York City Ballet dancer herself.

Ecossaises, with music by Beethoven, is a delightful ballet for the younger dancers. It is one of several works choreographed by Founder Yvonne Mounsey whose original creations remain a storied part of the company's rich repertoire.

Contact: Judith Meister, Producer (310) 702-7187 [email protected]

Peasant Dances from Act I of the classical ballet Giselle appear next, followed by excerpts from Swan Lake including the iconic 4 cygnets, or "4 little swans," the Dance of the Two Swans, Odette's solo (the White Swan), the Act III Spanish Dance adapted for Westside Ballet's boys by Boys Division principal instructor Seth Belliston, and the alluring Odile, or Black Swan, solo.

Performing the Odette solo in the matinée is Westside Ballet dancer Shelby Tzung, who was just awarded the prestigious 2016 Spotlight Awards Grand Prize in Classical Ballet. From Pacific

Palisades, California, Ms. Tzung is a freshman at

Palisades Charter High School and has trained exclusively at

Westside School of Ballet, spending her summers as a scholarship student at both the School of American Ballet and, this year, the Pacific Northwest Ballet School. In the 2015 Showcase, Ms. Tzung brought audiences to their feet with her vivacious performance of George Balanchine's dynamic Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. In addition to Odette, Ms. Tzung is also featured in Napoli and will dance another of her Spotlight Award-winning solos from Frederic Ashton's famous ballet, La Fille Mal Gardée (The Wayward Daughter).

The first part of the program will close with Balanchine's charming pas de deux, Harlequinade. This pas de deux had its World Premiere on December 16, 1952, by the New York City Ballet at the City Center of Music and Drama in New York. The music is by Riccardo Drigo from Les Millions d'Arlequin (1900). Presented with permission from the Balanchine Trust©.

Following the intermission, Westside Ballet premieres a fiery original work by long-time resident choreographer and teacher, Sophie Monat. Entitled Lift, this piece is set to the rapturous music of John Adams.

Westside Ballet's youngest dancers take the stage in Associate Artistic Director Caprice Walker's delightful ballet, Mozartiana, with music by Mozart.

By popular demand, the program will conclude with the return of the sensational Bob Fosse jazz piece, Sweet Charity, choreographed and adapted by Westside's own jazz director Michele Bachar.

Westside Ballet of Santa Monica's 2016 Spring Showcase will be presented on Sunday, May 8, at The Broad Stage at Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center. Performances are at 1 pm and 5 pm. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.westsideballet.com

Faust

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ABOUT WESTSIDE BALLET OF SANTA MONICA:

Westside Ballet of Santa Monica Company, a nonprofit organization, is one of the nation's premier ballet training companies. This pre-professional company was created by Yvonne Mounsey and Rosemary Valaire in 1970.

The company provides the promising young dancers of the Westside School of Ballet the performance opportunities that are so vital to their growth - and makes dance more accessible to local children and families. Based in Santa Monica, California, Westside Ballet of Santa Monica Company now comprises approximately 90 dancers, ages 8 to 18.

For more information, visit http://www.westsideballet.com

 

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