Westside Ballet Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Gala

Westside Dancers will perform in Masters of Movement, the spring showcase and gala.                    Photo: Sarah Madison Photography

Westside Ballet will celebrate its 50th anniversary with three events in May at the Broad Stage at SMC Performing Arts Center.

The Spring Gala, which is at 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, starts with a cocktail reception, raffle and silent auction. The curtain for the Gala Performance is 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 8 p.m.

The performance is designed to honor the work of the legendary ballerina, choreographer and director Patricia Neary. The excerpts at this event consist of works that Neary performed as part of her iconic membership of the New York City Ballet. Additionally, a ceremony will honor Neary with a special lifetime Bravo! Award.

American Ballet Theater’s principal ballerina, Isabella Boylston, headlines the Gala performance in the famous Black Swan pas de deux. She partners with fellow American Ballet Theatre principal dancer James Whiteside.

Other highlights include an excerpt from George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco and the pas de deux from Balanchine’s masterful contemporary ballet Agon, with striking music by Stravinsky, performed by artists Andrea Laššáková and Adrian Blake Mitchell.

Alumni stars Lucia Connolly (Joffrey Ballet), Lyrica Woodruff and Joy Womack will take the stage in various pieces including the breathtaking Prelude pas de deux by Ben Stevenson, O.B.E., with Rachmaninov’s piano score performed live on stage.

Woodruff, Connolly and Adrian Blake Mitchell are all Westside alumni that have lived in Pacific Palisades.

A few ticket’s to one of L.A.’s exceptional dance events are still available click here.

A spring showcase, Masters of Movement will be held Friday, May 17 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 18 at 1 p.m. and features 13 dancers from Pacific Palisades: the next generation of ballet stars. The youth will perform new works and classics.

Spencer Collins
Photo: LK Studio

Dancer Spencer Collins was a YAGP (Youth America Grand Prix) winner in April in the classical and also the contemporary men’s categories in the pre-competitive division. Collins,11, was selected out of 2,000 dancers (and 120 finalists), will perform Flames of Paris.

The fifth grader said, “Ballet makes me happy. I feel strong and accomplished when I can turn a lot and jump high. Ballet also makes me feel confident in the studio and on stage. And that confidence flows into other parts of my life, like school too. I know when I try to learn something new that’s hard, if I work at it, I can do anything I set my mind to.

The first act of the showcase will feature choreography by George Balanchine, Caprice Walker and Yvonne Mounsey.

In the second act, Dance through the Ages, a Westside Ballet Original, has dancers performing to music from the 1930s to the 1980s & 90s.

Artistic Director Martine Haley said, “Our 50th Anniversary celebrates Westside Ballet’s enduring legacy and the universal allure of ballet. We celebrate our founders’ dream and our dancers’ excellence.”

These dancers will perform in the Westside Ballet Showcase. All are from Pacific Palisades or go to           school here, and will perform in several dances.                                                                                                    Photo: Sarah Madison Photography    

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