Inside the American Ballet Theatre’s Annual Holiday Benefit

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Skylar Brandt
Skylar Brandt

Photo Credit: Vince Bucci

American Ballet Theatre (ABT) hosted a glorious evening of dance in celebration of the season at its annual holiday benefit dinner at The Beverly Hilton Monday night.

The evening featured a one-night-only special performance by the world-renowned artists of American Ballet Theatre, including Principal Dancers Stella Abrera, Misty Copeland, Gillian Murphy, Cory Stearns and James Whiteside dancing scenes from the Company’s unrivaled repertoire, followed by a post-performance dinner and dessert with the dancers.

Alexandre Hammoudi, Misty Copeland
Alexandre Hammoudi, Misty Copeland

Photo Credit: Vince Bucci

The evening was sponsored by Harry Winston and Lloyd E. Rigler – Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation.  The event leaders and dancers sparkled and lit up the red carpet with spectacular Harry Winston diamonds. Co-Chairs included:  Avery and Andy Barth, Michael Moser (Vice President Regional West Coast Retail, Harry Winston) and Sutton Stracke.

Betsy McBride, Paulina Waski, Rachel Richardson
Betsy McBride, Paulina Waski, Rachel Richardson

Photo Credit: Vince Bucci

American Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie welcomed guests and noted “As America’s National Ballet Company, we welcome the opportunity to bring dance to the country and American dance to the world. We especially look forward to our return to Los Angeles and Southern California where we are so warmly received. This year’s Holiday Benefit will continue to support our work and ABT’s ongoing educational programs.”

Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland

Photo Credit: Vince Bucci

The holiday benefit performance included excerpts from choreographer Benjamin Millepied’s Daphnis and Chloe, Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty and Whipped Cream and scenes from ballet’s most treasured classics like Romeo and Juliet and Don Quixote.  Demonstrating the versatility and strength of the Company, the program also included contemporary repertoire by choreographer Jessica Lang and ABT Principal Dancer Jeffrey Cirio.

Kevin McKenzie, Cara Medoff Barnett, Benjamin Millepied
Kevin McKenzie, Cara Medoff Barnett, Benjamin Millepied

Photo Credit: Vince Bucci

At the conclusion of the performance, American Ballet Theatre Executive Director Kara Medoff Barnett thanked the dancers and guests and acknowledged “We are so proud to continue and expand our commitment to the Los Angeles area.  Our offices and rehearsal studios may be in New York City, but Southern California is our second home.”

 Jane Seymour
Jane Seymour

Photo Credit: Vince Bucci

The benefit previewed American Ballet Theatre’s upcoming performance engagements in Southern California.  ABT will present its annual engagement of Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, featuring California students from ABT’s William J. Gillespie School at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, with performances running December 9-18, 2016.  On March 15, 2017, ABT will present the World Premiere of Ratmansky’s Whipped Cream, a new full-length production set to a score by Richard Strauss, with sets and costumes by Los Angeles-based artist Mark Ryden.  Whipped Cream will be given seven performances at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts through March 19, 2017.

Michael Moser, Sutton Stracke
Michael Moser, Sutton Stracke

Photo Credit: Vince Bucci

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