American Repertory Ballet Gala to Honor Princeton Ballet School's Maria Youskevitch, 4/20

American Repertory Ballet Gala to Honor Princeton Ballet School's Maria Youskevitch, 4/20

Maria Youskevitch, longtime faculty member at Princeton Ballet School, is one of this year's American Repertory Ballet Gala Honorees, and is the recipient of this year's Audrée Estey Award for Excellence in Dance Education. Daughter of one of the leading dancers of the 20th century, Igor Youskevitch, Ms. Youskevitch brings a strong background in and deep knowledge of ballet to her students. She teaches for a variety of levels and, every year, re-stages a full-length classical ballet on Princeton Ballet School students for the School's Spring Production. She has also served as Rehearsal Director for American Repertory Ballet, the professional company associated with Princeton Ballet School, on several occasions.

"I knew I wanted to be a ballet dancer at the age of two after I saw my father dance," Ms. Youskevitch says. Sheset out to achieve her dream by studying with teachers from The Ballet Russe legacy - the sources of ballet in America and many of the finest ballet artists of the 20th Century. Among them were her mother, Anna Scarpova, a soloist with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and a teacher in NY for over fifty years, and her father, who was a star dancer of The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and American Ballet Theatre. Ms. Youskevitch went on to dance as a soloist with American Ballet Theatre Maryland Ballet and a principal ballerina with her father's concert group Ballet Romanique.

This past December, Ms. Youskevitch was honored as a guest of the state to the 23rd Annual International Ballet Festival in Havana, Cuba, which was in celebration of the centenary of Igor Youskevitch's birth. Ms. Youskevitch was personally invited by Alicia Alonso, Igor Youskevitch's long-time, world-renowned dance partner who directs the festival. Her company Ballet Alicia Alonso, which Youskevitch helped his partner establish in 1948, later became Ballet Nacional de Cuba, an internationally recognized company.

Maria Youskevitch visited the Ballet Festival with Kirk Peterson. A former principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet, Peterson focused on choreography after retiring from the stage. When he was Artistic Director at Hartford Ballet, Ms. Youskevitch was company teacher, rehearsal assistant, and senior faculty member. Peterson, who is currently a guest choreographer for American Repertory Ballet, was invited to choreograph a special pas de deux in Igor Youskevitch's honor. In addition to working closely with Hartford Ballet, Ms. Youskevitch was Ballet Mistress at BalletMet, Nevada Dance Theatre, and a coach for the New York International Ballet Competition. She brings over 35 years of experience staging ballets, coaching dancers, and teaching students to her esteemed role at Princeton Ballet School.

American Repertory Ballet's 2013 Gala and Reception will take place on April 20th in New Brunswick, NJ. It will begin at 6:00 pm with a performance at Crossroad Theatre, and continue with a 7:00 pm reception at the Heldrich Hotel across the street.

American Repertory Ballet's 28th Annual Gala, White Nights
April 20, 2013
Performance: 6:00pm, Crossroads Theatre - 7 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ
Reception: 7:00pm, The Heldrich Hotel - 12 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ
The event will feature dinner and drinks, raffles, auctions, and more.
Honorees: Maria Youskevitch, accomplished Senior Faculty Member of Princeton Balle School; New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill; Marlene and Anthony Volpe
If you would like to be a sponsor, please contact Naomi Levecchia: 732-249-1254 ext. 25, nlevecchia@arballet.org

American Repertory Ballet's mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs. The organization is comprised of: American Repertory Ballet, the preeminent contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and the Access and Enrichment initiatives, ranging from the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program to the newly launched On Pointe series. The professional company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th century alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today. Founded in 1963, the company is currently under the artistic leadership of Douglas Martin, former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. The company's rich history of repertory includes established masterpieces by distinguished American choreographers such as George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp; cutting edge works by choreographers such as Val Caniparoli, Kirk Peterson, Dominique Dumais, Harrison McEldowney, Amy Seiwert, Susan Shields and Melissa Barak; and former Artistic Directors Dermot Burke, Marjorie Mussman, Septime Webre and Graham Lustig. ARB has been designated a "Major Arts Institution" by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts consistently for the past two decades, and has repeatedly been awarded a Citation of Excellence by the Council. ARB was voted People's Choice for Best Dance Company in 2008 and 2011.

Princeton Ballet School has gained a national reputation for its excellent dance training since its founding in 1954 by Audrée Estey. Princeton Ballet School currently enrolls approximately 1500 students annually from age three through adult and is directed by Mary Pat Robertson. Princeton Ballet School has studios in Cranbury, New Brunswick, and Princeton which are equipped with shock-absorbent floors, non-slip dance surfaces and pianos for live accompaniment. Many of Princeton Ballet School's faculty members have performed professionally; others have attained graduate degrees in dance education and have won awards for their teaching. Students from the school have gone on to dance in professional ballet and contemporary dance companies in the US and abroad. Graduates have danced with such diverse organizations as the American Ballet Theatre, Paul Taylor DanceCompany, Miami City Ballet, STREB, Complexions, Mark Morris Dance Company,Twyla Tharp, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Momix.

Photo: (left to right) Alicia Alonso and Maria Youskevitch in Havana, Cuba at the International Ballet Festival, December 2012