For nearly 50 years, Westside Ballet of Santa Monica has been helping to develop world class dancers and bringing captivating performances to local venues.
This Memorial Day weekend, the dance company is presenting Masters of Movement: Ballet through the Centuries, two shows exploring and celebrating the evolution of ballet over the years including classical, neoclassical and contemporary works at the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage.
The first performance, part of a special soiree event on Friday night which will also include cocktails, appetizers and awards, will showcase the company’s advanced pre-professional dancers with special appearances from several professional guest artists including two former Westside students.
Alumnus Adrian Blake Mitchell will dance Westside’s Premiere of After the Rain by acclaimed choreographer Christopher Wheeldon with his partner Andrea Laššáková and alumna Lyrica Woodruff will perform George Balanchine’s Stars & Stripes with Maté Szentes.
Woodruff, who began her dance career at Westside at the age of four and has since danced professionally on Broadway, said she is excited and grateful to be back in Santa Monica for the show.
“There’s nothing like coming back to your home studio and feeling like you’re giving back to what they gave you as a student and as a professional being able to pass it on to the new up and coming students and, hopefully, professional dancers in the next five to ten years,” she said.
The second show on Saturday afternoon will feature entirely current Westside students, including Santa Monica High School sophomore Catia Boucher. Boucher will perform as a soloist in the classical ballet piece Raymonda and will also dance in Handle Dances by resident choreographer Sophia Monat, a contemporary piece called The Color of Spring by Vanessa Van Wormer and finally, she will be part of A Chorus Line, a jazz-infused piece. Boucher said she is looking forward to the variety of the show.
“I’m really excited about the different styles we’re doing because we’re not just doing classical pieces, we’re doing contemporary and jazz,” she said. “The transitions between those are all just really exciting, there’s hair changes and costume changes and you just become like a different person and dancer and I really enjoy all of them.”
Westside Ballet Director of Community Outreach Jewels Solheim-Roe said thinks these upcoming shows are a great way for Santa Monica residents to engage with the local art scene.
“People in Santa Monica need to get to know their own performing artists in their backyards,” she said. “People need to really find out more about what is here because you don’t even have to be into ballet to really enjoy this and appreciate it – it’s really got something for everyone.”
For more information and to buy tickets the shows visit: https://westsideballet.com/spring-performance/
To view a trailer for the performances visit: