Each year since 2009, the Indianapolis City Ballet has presented its “Evening with the Stars” performance, a gala that features ballet stars from some of the finest companies in the world. It will do so once again Saturday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. at the Murat Theatre at the Old National Centre. Master of the ceremonies for the second year in a row will be actor Chris Stack, an Indianapolis native now residing in New York City.
“We are very fortunate that ‘Evening with the Stars’ is a buzz-friendly event. It is likely the most athletic and artistic event in Indy every year. From the ballet fiend to the guy who rolls his eyes at the word, they all realize the tremendous quality, athleticism and accessibility of the performance. It is not a prissy ballet event. It is a riot and everyone who has seen it before gets very excited as the date rolls around every year,” says Kevin Hesse, ICB executive director and gala producer. Hesse adds, “Last-minute ticket buyers drive us crazy. We have been sold out each time so if people want good seats to one of the best events of the year, they should hurry.”
This year’s gala will feature principal dancers from the American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Washington Ballet and more. The program will include signature works from classical, neoclassical and contemporary ballets, as well as new works and some crowd favorites.
Big-name dancers appearing include Julie Kent, José Manuel Carreño, Wendy Whelan, Herman Cornejo, Brooklyn Mack, Misty Copeland, Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Belotserkovsky.
Also performing will be 13-year-old Demitra Bereveskos from Indianapolis, who was discovered at an Indianapolis City Ballet Master Class by former Bolshoi Ballet and New York City Ballet principal dancer Valentina Kozlova. Now an international prizewinner, young Bereveskos was given a scholarship to study with Ms. Kozlova in New York City.
According to Hesse, the gala will continue developing its look by “setting a new, award-winning ballet called ‘Little Monsters,’ by emerging choreographer Demis Volpi, to music by Elvis Presley; featuring a classical variation to open the program by Bereveskos; and commissioning a new Cole Porter ballet, created by esteemed choreographer Margo Sappington, which has eight dancers from American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Next and The Royal Ballet and runs 15 minutes with five Cole Porter songs.”
Regarding the contemporary pieces in the program, Hesse says, “This event is about encouraging and nourishing current and future ballet audiences. This is a year-long endeavor, along with our ‘Jock and Penny Fortune Master Class Series,’ to attain funding and find not only the best dancers in the world but the best contemporary repertoire. The classics are well known and a valued part of these performances, but ICB is strongly committed to encouraging and exhibiting the best of contemporary ballet too.”
Created to fill a void in the city’s professional ballet scene, resulting from the demise of Ballet Internationale in 2005, Indianapolis City Ballet, founded by Robert Hesse and Jane Fortune, seeks to build a ballet program that embraces the best of classical ballet and defines its contemporary development.
In addition to its gala performances, photography exhibitions and monthly master classes, ICB hopes to eventually establish a resident company. One was originally scheduled to debut this year but its debut was postponed until possibly next year.
As far as how successful the ICB has been in developing audiences through its annual galas, Hesse says, “There is an ongoing struggle in Indianapolis to attract a larger audience for any arts event. Difficulties with the ISO are in the headlines today but every one of the arts, especially performing arts, organizations are struggling. It may be part of a global economic struggle that visits the arts three years after it hits the stock market, but there is a larger problem with developing the audience of the future and making the arts a meaningful part of our lives. We need to fill the Murat again this year in order to warrant expansion. We have been fortunate to be full or nearly full each year. That’s step one in building a more meaningful ballet presence in Indianapolis.”
For tickets, including patron level seats (gold, silver and bronze), visit www.indianapoliscityballet.org. For general reserved seating, please visit the Old National Centre Box Office, call 800-745-3000 or order online at www.LiveNation.com.
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