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Stars of Ballet Line Up for Kaatsbaan Gala on Sat., Nov. 11

by Sarah Plant

“Kaatsbaan has been as important to my career as any dance institution in the world. I need to see it succeed for future generations.”—Steven Melendez 

“Kaatsbaan is a quiet, beautiful, inspiring place for dance to be created—a resource that’s very hard to
come by.”
Stella Abrera

Kaatsbaan’s star-studded Passion for Dance Gala on November 11, 2017 features performances by noted members of New York’s premiere ballet companies, a champagne reception and a supper and wine fest. What stars will be there? American Ballet Theatre and New York Theatre Ballet principal dancers are on the bill at the Gala, a benefit for the nonprofit Kaatsbaan International Dance Center’s residency and education programs. Legendary choreographer Jerome Robbins’ Antique Epigraphs will be offered with special permission from the Jerome Robbins Foundation—and accompanied by live musicians.  

To honor the upcoming centennial of Jerome Robbins’ birth, New York Theatre Ballet (NYTB) members will perform Robbins’ Antique Epigraphs under the direction of company founder Diane Byer. The music, by Claude Debussy, will be performed on piano for four hands by NYTB Musical Director Michael Scales and Grammy-winning composer and conductor Joan Tower; Mira Magrill will play Syrinx, Debussy’s haunting flute solo. “I’ve followed Kaatsbaan and have always loved it,” notes Tower. “I wanted to help out in any way possible. I’m also delighted and honored to work with Michael Scales, a very experienced pianist.” 

As a Gala goer, you'll be the first to enjoy a premiere choreographed for the occasion by Lauren Lovett, the New York City Ballet principal dancer who took the dance world by storm after becoming a choreographer for the company; a major step for any 24-year-old dancer, but especially for a woman,” CNN reported.

“The ABT Studio Company, the next generation of American Ballet Theatre stars, premieres Lauren Lovett’s ballet,” explains Martine van Hamel, former ABT principal dancer and Kaatsbaan co-founder, along with Gregory Cary, Kevin McKenzie and Bentley Roton.

Van Hamel offers another sneak peek: “I will be making a ‘surprise’ appearance and I’m happy to be part of the Kaatsbaan Gala celebration.”

Stella Abrera, who astonished dance lovers when she became an (ABT) principal dancer at the age of 37, says: “I’ll be performing a duo at the Kaatsbaan Gala with (award-winning ABT soloist) Alexandre Hammoudi, primarily in classical style."

 New York Theatre Ballet principal dancer Steven Melendez performs a solo and a duet, with NYTB dancer Amanda Treiber, from Richard Alston's ballet, Such Longing. “Kaatsbaan has been as important to my career as any dance institution in the world,” asserts Melendez. “In April I’ll choreograph a new ballet during a residency there for New York Theatre Ballet. This means I'll be able to mark off almost every milestone of a dancer's career in Kaatsbaan’s studios, from student to performer, collaborator and choreographer. I’m participating in the November Gala because I need to see Kaatsbaan succeed for future generations. The need for arts organizations in America has never been as great as it is today, and Kaatsbaan is a model institution for nonprofits across the country.”

Guests will be surrounded at the Gala supper and wine celebration with sculptures by Elbert Weinberg, donated to the Kaatsbaan art collection by the Hartford-based Elbert Weinberg Foundation.  

"Hundreds of dance companies have worked in residence at Kaatsbaan over the last 15 years, 24 companies in this year alone,” according to Gregory Cary, former dancer and Kaatsbaan co-founder. Stella Abrera completes the circle in offering her talents at the benefit Gala. Cary notes, Abrera and her husband, former ABT soloist Sascha Radetsky, were the first dancers to stay at Kaatsbaan’s Dancers' Inn. “The Gala,” Cary says, “is a perfect occasion to celebrate 15 years of Kaatsbaan's extensive residency and educational programs that were made possible by the completion in 2002 of the Dancers' Inn." 

Stella Abrera adds that “Kaatsbaan is a quiet, beautiful, inspiring place for dance to be created—a resource that’s very hard to come by. In New York City, there’s energy that’s found in no other place. But sometimes you need a peaceful place to focus all of your energies into the creative process. And being close to the city, Kaatsbaan has the best of both worlds.” 

Be at the exciting special Gala Performances and Party on Saturday, November 11, 2017. Champagne Reception at 6pm, Dance Performances at 7pm, Supper/Wine Party begins about 8:30pm. All tickets are $150-reserved general seating. For information/reservations call 845-757-5106 ext. 2.  pgrkaats@bestweb.net. Online tickets: https://kaatsbaan.yapsody.com
All at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center at 120 Broadway, Tivoli, NY.   www.kaatsbaan.org 





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