Title: Center's Tour de Force: A Gala Dance Spectacular Hailed as an "Effervescent Evening of Unforgettable Excellence"
Date: May 27, 2009
Author: Jessie Brunner
Bravura performances, education events and celebrations complete Center's tribute to great dance
COSTA MESA, CA – Extraordinary performances by many of the world's most celebrated dance superstars marked the Orange County Performing Arts Center's Tour de Force: A Gala Dance Spectacular on May 21 in Segerstrom Hall. Tour de Force was the crowning point amid five days of dance events that included the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg performing the Southern California premiere of Onegin, the Bolshoi Ballet's Nikolay Tsiskaridze dancing the world premiere of Fallen Angel created for him by Boris Eifman, performances and works by artists – many in their Center debuts – from the Bolshoi Ballet, Mariinsky Theatre, Berlin State Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, National Ballet of Canada, Complexions Dance Company and Eifman Ballet, a master class for promising young Orange County dance students conducted by Tsiskaridze, a dinner honoring Center donors and Tour de Force underwriters prior to the performance, a post-performance celebration for cast, donors and patrons hosted by South Coast Plaza in Jewel Court and brunch for Eifman and cast members at the home of Sharon and Bruno Lebon.
Onegin opened on May 20, with performances also on May 22 – 24. The Orange County Register said, "Boris Eifman has created a thrill-a-minute, white-water rafting ride of a ballet that propels the audience into a maelstrom of conflicting passions set in a Russia of the early 1990s." The Los Angeles Times wrote that "the leading dancers of his Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg entertained with magnificent performances."
The Orange County Register called Tour de Force "an effervescent evening of unforgettable excellence" and "… on a scale of 1 to 10, Tour de Force easily rates an 11." It included two acts of both classic and contemporary works, a world premiere and several pieces never before seen at the Center. Tour de Force was produced and presented by the Center in association with Ardani Artists under the direction of Sergei Danilian. The evening was dedicated to Audrey Steele Burnand and the Audrey Steele Burnand Endowed Fund for International Dance. Burnand's extraordinary support has made the Center's dance season possible.
Following the curtain calls, Center President Terry Dwyer came on stage to personally congratulate the artists and to thank the audience for its continued support and enthusiasm for the Center's International Dance Series. He also expressed his thanks to the Segerstrom family, many of whom were present, citing their visionary leadership in making the Center a reality and helping to make possible supporting such events possible for the community.
Danilian and Mariinsky Theatre star Diana Vishneva then presented a special honor to the Center. They had brought from Moscow one of the three Golden Mask Awards, Russia's highest artistic honor, which had been awarded for the Center's 2008 production, Diana Vishneva: Beauty in Motion. The work was a co-production by the Center and Ardani Artists. This past April, a Golden Mask was awarded to Vishneva for her performances in Beauty in Motion, another for the work itself, and the third a prestigious critics choice award.
Prior to the Tour de Force performance, Dwyer hosted a dinner for several Center donors, board members and guests. These included Eifman, Danilian, Gene and Ruth Ann Moriarty, Jeanne Moriarty, Richard Moriarty and Loren Blackwood, Glorya Kauffman and George Darby, Elizabeth An, Mary and Richard Cramer, Mary and Timothy Harwood, Sharon and Bruno Lebon, George and Terry Schreyer, Bette and Wylie Aiken, Ruth Ann and John Evans, Carolyn and John Garrett, Pat and Charlie Poss and Susan and Tim Strader, Center Executive Vice President Judy Morr (who programs and oversees the Center's dance series and events) and Amy Dwyer, Terry Dwyer's wife. For the Tour de Force post-performance cast paty, South Coast Plaza's Jewel Court was transformed into a Russian bistro. Quattro Caffe offered food stations featuring blini with sour cream and caviar, entrees and salads, desserts and a vodka bar. Debra Gunn Downing, South Coast Plaza executive director of marketing, welcomed guests to the festive occasion. Dwyer presented Danilian with an affectionate caricature that represented the impressario taking a curtain call as a ballet dancer and a birthday cake in the design of the Golden Mask Award. On hand to congratulate the cast were Elizabeth Segerstrom, Michelle Rohé, Trevor Carlson from the Merce Cunningham Dance Company out from New York, Christina Lyon and Telicia Grant.
Following the world premiere of Fallen Angel on Thursday, Bolshoi star Tsiskaridze conducted a master class in Founders Hall for 33 young ballet dancers. The aspiring artists represented the best students from universities and studios in Orange County. Portions of the class and comments from two of the students can be seen on the Center's blog at OCPAC.org.
The final celebration was on Saturday, May 23 when Sharon and Bruno Lebon opened their Dana Point home to the Center. Guests included Dwyer, Judy Morr, Danilian, Eifman, Elizabeth An and her husband Gordon Clune, Mary and Richard Cramer, Mary Harward and members of the Eifman company for brunch. The buffet menu was created by Crustacean.
The Orange County Performing Arts Center applauds Mercedes-Benz USA, the Premier Sponsor of the Center's 2008-2009 Season. Support for the Center's International Dance Series is provided by Audrey Steele Burnand Endowed Fund for International Dance, Jane and Jim Driscoll and Segerstrom Foundation Endowment for Great Performances. The Center thanks media sponsors Classical KUSC 91.5 and Coast magazine. Additional support for Tour de Force was provided by Bruno and Sharon Lebon and Tim and Mary Harward.
Orange County Performing Arts Center
The Orange County Performing Arts Center presents a wide variety of the most significant national and international productions of music, dance and theater to the people of Southern California. It is committed to supporting artistic excellence on all of its stages and offering unsurpassed experiences, engaging the entire community in new and exciting ways through the unique power of live performance and an array of inspiring programs.
As Orange County's largest non-profit arts organization, the Center owns and operates the 3,000-seat Segerstrom Hall and intimate 250-seat Founders Hall, which opened in 1986, and the 2,000-seat Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, which opened in 2006 and also houses the 500-seat Samueli Theater, and the Lawrence and Kristina Dodge Education Center's studio performance space and Boeing Education Lab. These state-of-the-art facilities are united by a community arts plaza.
The Center's Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and community plaza, along with facilities of the adjacent Tony® Award-winning South Coast Repertory and a site designated as the new home of the Orange County Museum of Art, are located at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
The Orange County Performing Arts Center presents a broad range of programming each season for audiences of all ages from throughout Orange County, and beyond, including international ballet and dance, national tours of top Broadway shows, intimate performances of jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, up and coming indie bands, classical music performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles, family-friendly programming, free performances open to the public from outdoor movie screenings to dancing on the plaza and many other special events.
It offers many education programs designed to inspire young people through the arts. These programs reach more than 500,000 students of all ages with vital arts-in-education programs, enhancing their studies and enriching their lives well into the future.
The Orange County Performing Arts Center is proud to serve as the artistic home to the region's major performing arts organizations: Pacific Symphony, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Pacific Chorale.
For more information, visit OCPAC.org.