New Orleans Ballet Association Celebrates 50th Anniversary With EVENING OF STARS

New Orleans Ballet Association Celebrates 50th Anniversary With EVENING OF STARS

Celebrating 50 years of "bringing dance to life," the New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) kicks off its golden anniversary year with a glittering, star-studded 50th Anniversary Evening of Stars on January 26 at 6:30 p.m., at the Mahalia Jackson Theater.

This elegant evening dazzles with a program of classical masterpieces from Swan Lake, Cinderella and Paquita to sleek contemporary and stylish ballroom works performed by an all-star cast of the world's preeminent artists, including international guest stars, Adiarys Almeida and Taras Domitro, formerly of National Ballet of Cuba; Jerome and Laura Tisserand, Lindsi Dec and Karel Cruz of Pacific Northwest Ballet; Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets of San Francisco Ballet; and more! NBC "World of Dance" and U.S. champion ballroom stars Denys Drozdyuk and Antonina Skobina will add Latin sizzle to this stellar program. The 50th Anniversary Evening of Stars is an extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime event.

After the Evening of Stars performance, BRAVO (Ballet Resource and Volunteer Organization) hosts its largest fundraiser of the year on the stage of the Mahalia Jackson Theater. With honorary chairs Gov. John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Hutto Edwards, 300 guests will move from audience to stage and be joined by the artists for a spectacular, grand-seated dinner by Hyatt Regency New Orleans' 1718 Events.

"We are honored to celebrate 50 years of bringing dance to life with an extraordinary evening with these exquisite artists followed by a unique opportunity to join them on the stage for dinner, chaired by Gov. John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Hutto Edwards. The evening will kick off with a special tribute to three community visionaries whose extraordinary creativity and vision helped chart the course of innovation, evolution, and collaboration that has established the organization as it exists today: NOBA Center for Dance Founders Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson and Janée Michelle Tucker and former NOBA Board Chair Dr. Bernard Jaffe," comments NOBA Executive Director Jenny Hamilton.

The 50th Anniversary Evening of Stars performance tickets start at $20 and are available online at NOBAdance.com; by calling (504) 522-0996; in-person at NOBA's Box Office, 935 Gravier Street, Suite 800; or through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more, students and seniors are also available. Packages including the dinner on the stage are available by calling NOBA at (504) 522-0996.

A COMMAND PERFORMANCE

The stellar performance features five elite couples performing a program of traditional classical ballet masterpieces, sleek contemporary works plus thrilling ballroom gems from a quick jive to a smooth rumba. Making their first appearance in New Orleans are San Francisco Ballet principal dancers Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets. Born in Shanghai, China, Tanbecame the youngest principal in the history of San Francisco Ballet at the age of 19. Hailed as a "national treasure" by China Daily, she is the first Chinese prima ballerina in the United States and one of the greatest Chinese ballerinas of all time. Tan and Estonia born Hilimets, acclaimed for being an elegant and superb partner, perform the iconic White Swan Pas de Deux (1895) from Swan Lake Act II. Swan Lake, one of the most popular Romantic ballets, features music by Peter Ilyich Tchiakovsky and choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. This sensational pair will also dance the mesmerizing and breathtakingly beautiful duet from The Fifth Season (2006) by San Francisco Ballet's artistic director Helgi Tomasson and set to music by Karl Jenkins.

Four celebrated principal artists from Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet bring duets from the company's diverse repertoire. Louisiana native, Laura Gilbreath Tisserand and her Paris Opera Ballet trained husband, Jerome, perform two works created by Pacific Northwest Ballet founder Kent Stowell, including the lush pas de deux from his full-length Cinderella (1994) set to Sergei Prokofiev and an exotic contemporary duet from Carmina Burana (1993). Cuban-born Karel Cruz and his wife Lindsi Dec perform an ultra-modern and riveting excerpt from Emergence (2009) by the inventive Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite and the traditional pas de deux from Paquita (1881) by Marius Petipa with music by Édouard Deldevez and Ludwig Minkus.

Originally from Cuba, international principal guest artists Adiarys Almeida and Taras Domitro perform the tempestuous and virtuosic BLACK SWAN Pas de Deux (1895) from Act III Swan Lake, a classical favorite of ballerinas and audiences alike. While the White Swanduet is the tender declaration of love between Odette and Seigfried, the Black Swanpas tells about the sinister deception of Siegfried by Odile. The couple brings a taste of Cuba with the fiery Carmen Suite (1967) by Cuban choreographer and cofounder of the National Ballet of Cuba, Alberto Alonso. Carmen Suite was originally created for Bolshoi Ballet prima ballerina Maya Plisetskaya.

Adding sizzle to the program are two-time US National Latin Champions and contestants on seasons 1 and 2 of NBC's hit TV show "World of Dance," Denys Drozdyuk and Antonina Skobina. The couple, originally from the Ukraine, will perform three crowd-pleasing dances, including the flashy jive, Rolling, to Tina Turner's hit Proud Mary, a hauntingly beautiful Rumba set to music by Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Chris Botti and the sophisticated Tango, Irresistibleto Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal.

THE POST-PERFORMANCE GALA DINNER

After the Evening of Stars performance, BRAVO | Ballet Resource and Volunteer Organization hosts its largest fundraiser of the year on the stage of the Mahalia Jackson Theater. With honorary chairs Gov. John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Hutto Edwards, 300 guests will move from audience to stage and be joined by the Evening of Stars artists for a spectacular, grand-seated dinner by Hyatt Regency New Orleans' 1718 Events. The evening will feature music and dancing to Julio & César, live and silent auctions, a Lee Michaels shopping spree raffle and more. All Gala package buyers receive premium seating to the performance, VIP perks, and post-performance reception admittance. Benefactors also receive an invitation to the exclusive Benefactor Dinner hosted by the Windsor Court Hotel on February 5.

For Gala package information and tickets, call NOBA at (504) 522-0996 ext. 208 or visit NOBAdance.com.

The Evening of Stars performance is sponsored by Hyatt Regency New Orleans. The BRAVO Gala dinner is sponsored by 1718 Events by Hyatt Regency New Orleans, Pan American Life Insurance Group, Pamela and Warner Williams, Windsor Court Hotel and Lee Michaels.

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