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SPOTLIGHT:
GALAS
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Joanne Zimbler
Galas
Ballet
Luminario Ballet Rehearsal Space
Luminario Ballet
United States
Greater Los Angeles
California
Los Angeles, CA
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Luminario Ballet Fundraising Gala Opening Season 3

by Joanne Zimbler
March 14, 2011
Luminario Ballet Rehearsal Space
5253 West Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016
(818) 395-6506

Featured Dance Company:

Luminario Ballet
Luminario Ballet (office)
PO Box 252122
Los Angeles, CA 90025
818-395-6506
www.luminarioballet.org

See the review of the show.
At a time when public funding for the arts is scarce, major companies are turning to dedicated donors to fill their coffers and offering lavish galas as fundraising events. Such was the case on Sunday night when Judith FLEX Helle's young company Luminario Ballet held its gala at its new rehearsal space on West Adams. The lively gala featured an array of activities including performances which represented the company's unique melding of ballet, modern, and an aerial a la "Cirque de Soleil."

The gala began on an auspicious note as Marat Daukayev, former principal dancer in the Kirov Ballet and local dance studio owner took to the stage with Ms. Helle to introduce the evening's events and to speak about the importance of dance in the community. The crowd munched on crudités and sipped on Cosmopolitans and wine as they listened to the speakers, but our attention was held rapt as we were next treated to local composer and concert pianist Ricardo Veiga's compositions "Two Preludes for Piano and Violin" which he performed with violinist Manoela Wunder. Achingly beautiful pieces both, the audience sat frozen as the classical sounds washed over them and the consensual feeling that this was to be a promising evening spread. 

A DJ spun funky tunes while patrons and dancers mingled about the elegant space, chatting and bidding on silent auction items which included an impressive sculpture of a ballerina as well as, amongst other things, tickets to the LA Phil, theater performances, and spa visits.

A  savory dinner included entree choices of chicken piccata, salmon and roasted vegetables after which the highlight of the night began - the performances.  Three outstanding pieces were performed -  a contemporary ballet choreographed by the prolific Josie Walsh; a piece featuring solo guest performer Carrie Lee Riggins of Black Swan fame, choreographed by Jamal Story; and a company ballet piece which showcased spectacular aerial performances choreographed by their own Judith Helle. 

The most lighthearted and fun portion of the evening was also the the last - the auction of dates with the dancers. The young, good-looking talents took to the stage and strutted their stuff for potential buyers, as their taut bodies and post performance glow appealed to those donors interested in bridging the proscenium. Apparently, several audience members were too shy to place their bids publicly so after the official affair ended, they scrambled to arrange more dates, contributing additional money to the delighted company.

The event's strong turnout and even stronger performances indicate that this is a company to be reckoned with, a tour de force of LA and the world stage. With its highly acclaimed guest choreographers, innovative fusion dance and cirque styles, and world class dancers, we should expect to see more of these gala events as this company grows to hopefully become a staple of LA's art scene.
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