Los Angeles Ballet Celebrates First Ten Years

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Kate Highstrete and L.A. Ballet Ensemble in Giselle
Photo by Reed Hutchinson

For ten years, the Los Angeles Ballet, under the direction of husband and wife Artistic Directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, along with Executive Director Julie Whittaker, have brought performances of both classical and new works to local stages in Southern California. Both Christensen and Neary are former dancers for the New York City Ballet -- Neary worked extensively as a soloist with George Balanchine, who choreographed a number of roles for her.

Since its beginnings in 2006, LAB has performed classical ballet standards such as Giselle, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet and Sleeping Beauty but it has also produced fifteen new works, one developed out of LAB's Choreographic Workshop, which has as its purpose to identify and nurture Southern Californian choreographic talent.

At a recent gala commemorating its ten-year milestone, the company performed excerpts from Don Quixote, which it has been performing in the Los Angeles area in recent months. The talented ensemble performed several selections, with stellar solo performances by Erik Thordal-Christensen, Julia Cinquemani, Kate Highstrete and others.

While some decry the dearth of classical and modern dance in Los Angeles, it is clear that the Los Angeles Ballet Company provides first-class productions that are up to the standard of any other world-class cultural center. If their first ten years are indication, they will continue to grow and prosper as an internationally prominent company.