Preview: “Holiday Season with Ballet Stars”

December 29 and 30, 2023
Adrienne Arsht Arts Center for the Performing Arts
Miami, FL

Jerry Hochman

What could be better than spending the last weekend of the year in Miami?

Spending the last weekend of the year in Miami attending a star-studded ballet program.

Ballet Support Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in New York and run by producer Lola Abigail Koch, will host the evening as part of its mission to support dancers and dance projects internationally, has announced that it will present a program featuring internationally-recognized stars of ballet and dance for two nights only, December 29 and 30, in Miami at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

Holiday Season with Ballet Stars
Photo courtesy of Ballet Support Foundation

Scheduled as of this writing are Natalia Osipova, a Principal with the Royal Ballet for ten years and a British citizen, and her husband and co-founder of Bloom Dance Project, Jason Kittelberger; American Ballet Theatre Principals Christine Shevchenko and Aran Bell, Paris Opera Ballet Étoiles Ludmila Pagliero and Mathieu Ganio, New York City Ballet Principals Mira Nadon and Peter Walker, and Martha Graham Company dancers Xin Ying and Lloyd Knight.

Natalia Osipova in Giselle
from her “Force of Nature” program
Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Osipova will be performing the world premiere of a piece choreographed for her by Kittelberger, and both will perform his Ashes. Ukrainian born Shevchenko will dance White Swan and Summer Pas by Alexei Ratmansky with Bell. Through social media Shevchenko has shared, “Human suffering, the violence of war, it’s all too painful to deal with… Let’s spread some love and peace through art.”

Christine Shevchenko and Aran Bell in “Giselle”
Photo by Rosalie O’Connor

“Ballet is an art that has the power to take us for a few hours into another reality”, said Argentinian Pagliero as she and Ganio prepare to perform, with her Paris Opera Ballet dancer excerpts from Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon and Le Parc by Angelin Preljocaj. Nadon and Peter Walker will perform excerpts from George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker’ and from Justin Peck’s Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes. And Ying and Knight will dance Martha Graham’s Conversation of Lovers, from her Acts of Light, and each will also dance solos:  Ying will perform Dance/Rebirth, choreographed by Jenn Freeman as a component of Graham’s recently reimagined Canticle for Innocent Comedians, and Knight will dance Lucifer, which Graham originally created for Rudolf Nureyev.

Xin Ying and Lloyd Knight,
here in Martha Graham’s “Embattled Garden”
Photo by Melissa Sherwood

In addition, Israel’s Kibbutz Contemporary Ballet Company’s Orin Zvulun and Francesco Cuoccio will be dancing Until We Find Our Place and Upon Arrival, choreographed by the company’s Artistic Director Rami Be’er,  and Joffrey Ballet School NYC scholarship students, 14-year-old Breeanna Palmer and Alexander Marmolejos, will dance the duet Reflections by Andrey Jouravlev.

Mathieu Ganio, here with Amandine Albisson
and the Paris Opera Ballet in Rudolf Nureyev’s “Swan Lake”
Photo by Svetlana Loboff

Koch, a former ballerina, has said: “Ballet is an international language of love, peace, and friendship; this program, with dancers from around the world, is a testament to that.” The evening will begin with an award ceremony where the dancers will each be honored for their contributions in dance.

Information as to ticket availability and pricing, and any cast or program updates, can be obtained from the Arsht Center website: https://www.arshtcenter.org/tickets/2023-2024/ballet-stars/holiday-season-with-ballet-stars/