June 17, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Venice Dancers Perform in Westside Ballet’s 50th Anniversary Spring Performances and Star Studded Gala

By Sophie Topper

Seventeen talented local dancers will perform in Westside Ballet of Santa Monica’s Spring Showcase and Gala. This year will be  Westisde’s 50th annual Spring Performance and is paying homage to founders Yvonne Mounsey and Rosemary Valaire. The Gala will pay special tribute to legendary American ballerina Patrcia Neary and feature world renowned principal dancers as well as Westside alumni. 

Ezra Galambos, a junior at Venice High School rehearses “Fairy Beauty”  in “The Sleeping Beauty” during our Dress Rehearsal for our Spring performance at the Broad Stage. Photo by Sarah Madison Photography

This will be 17 year old Ezra Galambos’s 8th Spring performance with Westside. She is currently in 11th grade at Venice High School. Ezra speaks on how this year’s show has been special for her, “My participation in this year’s production will greatly contribute to my artistic development and personal growth as a performer as I have been given my very first solo. This is extremely exciting to me as it has helped me hone my artistic and technical abilities, and learn how to ‘speak’ to an audience through movement.” Ezra will dance the Beauty Fairy  variation from The Sleeping Beauty. The excerpts from The Sleeping Beauty are in honor of Valaire and her history with the ballet as well as legacy at The Royal Ballet in London. Ezra will also dance Classical Symphony, Jazz, and Contemporary. Classical Symphony is a very special piece for Westside. The piece was choreographed by founder Yvonne Mounsey and has been performed by  multiple generations of Westside dancers.

Venice/Mar Vista resident dancers prepare for featured solo roles: Olivia Moccia, Ezra Galambos, Isabelle Choy, Gabriella Calderon, and Heath Olvera.  Photo by Sarah Madison Photography

9 year old Mathilde Guay will dance in her first Spring performance with Westside. She is in 3rd grade at Richland Elementary School and will dance Valse Bleu. Mathilde says that, “Ballet makes me happy because when I dance, I feel strong and full of joy when I see myself improving. It’s like magic! I also love the friendship that we have as dancers.”

Sisters Alexandra and Olivia Moccia will be dancing in their second Spring performance with Westside. Alexandra is in 5th grade at Broadway Elementary and Olivia is in 8th grade at Mark Twain Middle School. Olivia will be featured as the cheerful Song Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty. She also has a soloist role in Mounsey’s Classical Symphony and will be in the jazz piece. For Olivia ,“Ballet makes me happy by letting me express myself through dance, it’s a creative outlet where I can communicate my thoughts and feelings” Alexandra is dancing Ecossaises, which will be performed to live piano music and is also in jazz. 

Olivia Moccia will perform as “Fairy Song” in “The Sleeping Beauty” at the Broad Stage on May 17-18 at Westside Ballet’s Spring Showcase.  Photo by Sarah Madison Photography

Broadway Elementary students Alix Weissbecker Kushner and Kaylee Barrow will both dance Valse Bleu. 7th grade Mark Twain Middle School Student Bridget Cooney will dance Fête de Carnivale and jazz. Ella Abramson a 6th grader at Paul Revere Charter Middle School will dance the same pieces. Heath Olvera attends Ocean Charter school and is in 6th grade. He will dance the featured part in Valse Bleu as well as jazz. Ecossaises will also be danced by Kali Solomon and Kyler Sziraki and both will be in jazz. Kali attends Venice High and Kyler goes to Winward. Archer Anderson an 8th grade Paul Revere student dances Classical Symphony and jazz. Angelina Di Bari an 8th grader at Brentwood School will perform Classical Symphony and jazz. 8th grade New West Student Antonia Cytrynowicz will dance the Lilac Fairy Attendants from The Sleeping Beauty and jazz. Charlotte Sachs is in 10th grade at Wildwood School and will dance Classical Symphony, Contemporary, and jazz. Isabelle Choy a 9th grader at Windward will dance a soloist role in Classical Symphony, Contemporary, and jazz. 10th grade New West Charter student Gabriella Calderon will dance the Generosity Fairy solo from The Sleeping Beauty, Classical Symphony, and jazz.

Isabelle Choy rehearses as the fourth movement soloist in Yvonne Mounsey’s ballet “Classical Symphony.”  Photo by Sarah Madison Photography

These shows are a true culmination of so much talent and dedication of all these local ballerinas. The guest alumni performing at the Gala are such wonderful inspiration for the students,  as well as the audience that will see their artistic gifts up close. This exciting program runs May 17-18 at The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

The Westside Ballet student company of 91 rehearse the “GRAND DÉFILÉ: A Presentation of the Full Company,” staged by Artistic Director Martine Harley to music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Photo by Sarah Madison Photography

For More Info & Tickets: westsideballet.com/spring-performance

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