USC dance students will have the opportunity to perform alongside some of the world's most talented dancers Friday at the 11th annual "Ballet Stars of New York" Gala Performance. The special event will feature seven New York City Ballet principal dancers: Columbia native Sara Mearns, Jared Angle, Tyler Angle, Chase Finlay, Gonzalo Garcia, Rebecca Krohn and Megan Fairchild.
The program contains three ballets, including an interpretation of "Swan Lake" with Sara Mearns as the Swan Queen. The other performances are "Donizetti Variations" and "In the Night." The USC Symphony will play the music for the ballets, highlighting the musical talents of both graduate and undergraduate students at USC.
“My involvement is with the corps de ballet in Swan Lake. In Balanchine’s version of Swan Lake there are 30 corps de ballet dancers that have to be perfectly in sync with each other and work as a team," said Grace Hartford, junior dance performance and choreography student. "We have been working on the choreography for about a month and a half. Today (show day) is actually the first day we get to rehearse with the leads from New York City Ballet."
Mearns joined the NYC Ballet corps in 2004 after beginning ballet training at Columbia’s Calvert-Brodie School of Dance at the age of 3. She has been praised in publications such as The New York Times and has recently begun performing in Broadway shows such as "On the Town" and "Ocean’s Kingdom."
“New York City Ballet is such a prestigious company and every dancer at USC involved in the performance has been working very hard," Hartford said. "The audience will get the opportunity to experience undergraduate students dancing with some of the best dancers in the country."
After the performance, a gala fundraiser, "Dancing in the Moonlight," will be held in the Darla Moore School of Business Sonoco Pavilion, in which audience members can meet the New York City Ballet dancers and enjoy refreshments. Tickets for the gala are $150, and all proceeds go towards dance program scholarships.
The show will begin at 7 p.m. at the Koger Center for the Arts. Student tickets to the performance are $15, second balcony tickets are $25, first balcony tickets are $30, and orchestra level tickets are $35.