Pacific Palisades Ballerinas Will Perform May 27

Dancing in the Westside Showcase are: (back row, left to right) Elise DuFour, Ava and Mila Bakhshandehpour, Zoya Abyzov and (front row, left to right) Kaia Sappington, Valentina Finci,  Izzy Heidt,  Addison Russel, Laurel O’Donnell, Layla Zakaria  and Clara Ditter.
Photo: Anne Slattery

Westside Ballet of Santa Monica presents “Masters of Movement: Ballet through the Centuries”—a richly varied program of classical, neoclassical, and contemporary works that showcase the talent of the nonprofit company’s pre-professional dancers, alumni, and guest artists.

If one was not lucky enough to purchase a ticket for the Soiree on Friday, May 26, there are still some tickets available for the showcase at 1 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, at the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

Westside Ballet artistic director Marine Harley said, “In these performances, dancing serves as a means to convey ideas that go beyond words and touch the hearts of the audience. The evolution of dance from the classical to the contemporary: Petipa, Balanchine, Wheeldon. Timeless. Classical.”

Saturday’s performances feature excerpts from Petipa’s Sleeping Beauty, including The Garland Dance. Dancing in it will be the Pacific Palisades’ Mila Bakhshandehpour, 14. Sister Ava, 16, will perform in Raymonda Divertissements, Color of Spring and Handel Dances.

Palisadians performing in the Polka Francaisse are Elise DuFour (11) and Zoya Abyzov (12).

Residents performing in Mozartiana are Addison Russell (10), Layla Zakaria (9), Clara Ditter (10), Izzy Heidt (11), Laurel O’Donnell (9), Kair Sappington (9) and Valentina Finci (10).

Westside has four elite young male dancers— Dylan Weinstein (16), Sawyer Jordan (16) Evan Hull (14) and Spencer Collins (10). These young men were recognized as some of the best in the nation after receiving top placement at the Youth America Grand Prix.

Weinstein and Jordan will dance in variations in the classic Raymonda. Hull and Collins will present their YAGP variations. Hull will perform a solo from La Fille Mal Gardée by Jean Dauberval (1789). Collins will dance his solo from The Talisman (Petipa, 1895).

Also on the program is Westside’s advanced pre-professional dancers, who will perform Vanessa van Wormer’s original work Color of Spring to live music.

Van Wormer has choreographed her piece to music by Manuel de Falla, El Paño Moruno, Canción Asturiana, which will be performed by two sopranos (Brenda Osorio and Angela Rhodes) with guitar by Ken Rosser.

Concluding the Saturday performance is Jazz Director Michele Bachar Mendicelli’s staging of the Michael Bennett classic A Chorus Line, a sensational audience favorite.

“I grew up dancing in the 1970’s and 80’s, so it was really fun bringing back some of those classical jazz steps from that era,” said Bachar Mendicelli. “That choreography always looks best when using dancers with a solid foundation in classical ballet, which we pride ourselves on giving to our students.”

The Bakhshandehpour sisters will also dance in A Chorus Line.

“Masters of Movement” tickets ($45) are available for the 1 and 5 p.m. shows on Saturday May 27. They may be purchased online at or by phone (additional fees apply) at (800) 595-4849 (4TIX).

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One Response to Pacific Palisades Ballerinas Will Perform May 27

  1. K.C. Soll says:

    I hope you can attend.

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