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American Repertory Ballet Announces its 28th Annual Gala: White Nights

For Information/Interviews Contact: Alexis Branagan, Director of PR and Communications, American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School; abranagan@arballet.org; Additional Photos/images available upon request; FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 15, 2013

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - On April 20, 2013, American Repertory Ballet will hold its 28th annual Gala performance and reception, White Nights, in downtown New Brunswick, NJ.  The performance will begin at 6:00pm at the Crossroads Theater, and the reception will begin at 7:00pm across the street at the Heldrich Hotel.  The event will feature performances by American Repertory Ballet, dinner and dancing to the music of The Kenny i Orchestra, live and silent auctions, and more.   Also at 7:00pm, Princeton Ballet School Students ages 12-18 years can enjoy a Junior Gala party with dinner, dancing and silent auction. 

Lead sponsors of White Nights are Colgate-Palmolive and Dr. Anthony R. and Marlene M. Volpe.  Gala co-chairs are Jo-Ann Munoz, Trustee, Jennifer Faber, and Hedy DiSimoni. Co-chairs for the Junior Gala are Stacy Westhusin and Cristina Bedoya-Banfitch.
 
Every year, American Repertory Ballet’s Gala celebrates and showcases the three branches of the organization: ARB, NJ’s preeminent ballet company; its official school, Princeton Ballet School; and ARB’s Access & Enrichment programming.  Also each year, ARB honors some of the organization’s outstanding supporters and awards an exceptional Princeton Ballet School faculty with the Audrée Estey Award for Excellence in Dance Education.  This year’s Gala honorees are The Honorable James Cahill, New Brunswick Mayor; Dr. Anthony R. and Marlene M. Volpe for their continued support of ARB's DANCE POWER program; and Princeton Ballet School senior faculty member Maria Youskevitch.
 
A lifelong resident of New Brunswick, Mayor Cahill has been New Brunswick’s Mayor since 1991 and has worked to transform New Brunswick from a declining industrial city to a thriving urban center.  He spurred collaborations among the private sector, the City’s health institutions, Rutgers University, Middlesex County, and the New Brunswick Development Corporation to make large investments the construction of new residential, retail, office, educational and healthcare facilities, which help financially support government and community services and public schools.  He has done a lot of work to improve New Brunswick’s educational opportunities, including helping to create an innovative school construction strategy for neighborhood redevelopment with the new Lord Stirling School, which is now seen as the model for new school construction statewide.  He has worked extensively with American Repertory Ballet as a supporter of the DANCE POWER program in the New Brunswick Public School District.  DANCE POWER has brought dance education to all the third grade students in New Brunswick Public Schools for the past 28 years.  The program’s annual Waiting in the Wings showcase is enjoyed by about one thousand New Brunswick community members each year. 
 
Dr. Anthony R. and Marlene M. Volpe live in Middlesex County and have been supporters of American Repertory Ballet for years.  During the 2011-2012 school year, they were the primary supporters of ARB’s pilot program of a brand new second grade DANCE POWER curriculum at Livingston Elementary School.  This past January, based on the success of the pilot program, the second grade DANCE POWER program expanded to reach half of all second grade students in all eight New Brunswick elementary schools.  The program’s curriculum features the concept of creating movement based on a text - a task aimed at improving students’ speaking, writing, literacy, and fluency skills.
 

Daughter of one of the leading dancers of the 20th century, Igor Youskevitch, Maria Youskevitch brings over 35 years of professional experience dancing, teaching, directing rehearsal, and restaging ballets to her work at Princeton Ballet School.  She teaches for a variety of levels and, every year, re-stages a full-length classical ballet on Princeton Ballet School students for the School’s Spring Production.  She has also served as Rehearsal Director for American Repertory Ballet, the professional company associated with Princeton Ballet School, on several occasions.  This past December, Ms. Youskevitch was honored as a guest of the state to the 23rd Annual International Ballet Festival in Havana, Cuba, which was in celebration of the centenary of her father’s birth.
 
“Long before ‘creative placemaking’ gained traction as a community catalyst and economic stimulant, Mayor Cahill realized the value that arts could play in building a healthy, vibrant, connected community,” says ARB Managing Director Christine Chen. “His continued investment in the arts and education, through programs like DANCE POWER, has fomented great change in New Brunswick, and we’re thrilled to be honoring him this year at our gala alongside the Volpes, who were instrumental in the launch of our new second grade DANCE POWER program.  Maria Youskevitch epitomizes excellence in dance education. Her experience and professionalism, as well as her link to the experience and legacy of her father makes her a true gem to our organization.  We’re thrilled to be bringing together our supporters to honor these individuals, and we look forward to this special evening organized by our wonderful gala committee.  New Brunswick has been an important home to us since 1981, and DANCE POWER remains the longest running Arts/Community partnership in New Jersey, so it is particularly fitting that we hold this important evening in the heart of New Brunswick’s downtown arts district this year.”
 
At the White Nights performance, American Repertory Ballet will perform selections from the current repertory, including Douglas Martin’s eagerly anticipated Rite of Spring.  Students from Princeton Ballet School’s Professional Training Program will perform excerpts from Swan Lake, staged by Maria Youskevitch.  First- and second-year DANCE POWER Scholars, DANCE POWER students who were selected from the program to study at Princeton Ballet School on full scholarship, and have been doing so for one or two years, will also perform.
 
“The intimate Crossroads Theatre is a great space for our Gala performance - a showcase of ARB’s artistic prowess, wide scope of work, and strong impact on local communities,” notes ARB’s Artistic Director Douglas Martin.
 
For more information, or if you would like to be a sponsor, please contact Naomi Levecchia, Director of Development: 732-249-1254 ext. 25, nlevecchia@arballet.org.
 
 
 
American Repertory Ballet's 28th Annual Gala, White Nights
April 20, 2013
Performance: 6:00pm, Crossroads Theatre
7 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ
Reception: 7:00pm, The Heldrich Hotel
12 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ
Honorees: New Brunswick Mayor, The Honorable James Cahill; Dr. and Mrs. Anthony R. and Marlene M. Volpe; and Maria Youskevitch, accomplished Senior Faculty Member of Princeton Ballet School

 

About American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School

American Repertory Ballet's mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs. The organization is comprised of: American Repertory Ballet, the preeminent contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and the Access and Enrichment initiatives, ranging from the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program to the newly launched On Pointe series. The professional company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th century alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today. Founded in 1963, the company is currently under the artistic leadership of Douglas Martin, former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. The company's rich history of repertory includes established masterpieces by distinguished American choreographers such as George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp; cutting edge works by choreographers such as Val Caniparoli, Kirk Peterson, Dominique Dumais, Harrison McEldowney, Amy Seiwert, Susan Shields and Melissa Barak; and former Artistic Directors Dermot Burke, Marjorie Mussman, Septime Webre and Graham Lustig. ARB has been designated a "Major Arts Institution" by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts consistently for the past two decades, and has repeatedly been awarded a Citation of Excellence by the Council. ARB was voted People's Choice for Best Dance Company in 2008, 2011, and 2012.

Princeton Ballet School has gained a national reputation for its excellent dance training since its founding in 1954 by Audrée Estey. Princeton Ballet School currently enrolls approximately 1500 students annually from age three through adult and is directed by Mary Pat Robertson. Princeton Ballet School has studios in Cranbury, New Brunswick, and Princeton which are equipped with shock-absorbent floors, non- slip dance surfaces and pianos for live accompaniment. Many of Princeton Ballet School’s faculty members have performed professionally; others have attained graduate degrees in dance education and have won awards for their teaching. Students from the school have gone on to dance in professional ballet and contemporary dance companies in the US and abroad. Graduates have danced with such diverse organizations as the American Ballet Theatre, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Miami City Ballet, STREB, Complexions, Mark Morris Dance Company, Twyla Tharp, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Momix.

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