By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Westside Ballet of Santa Monica—which features many Palisadian dancers—will present “Grace and Grit,” a fundraising drive-in film event at the Santa Monica College Bundy Campus on Saturday, October 9, and Sunday, October 10.
The film will feature a number of Westside’s most acclaimed companies, including Barak Ballet, Global Motion, Synapse, Folklorico Flor de Mayo and more.
The film also features Westside Ballet’s own dancers and professional alumni: Palisades-grown Lucia Connolly from Joffrey Ballet, Melissa Barak from New York City Ballet, Molly Novak from Boston Ballet and more.
Near-lifelong resident of the Palisades Mirabelle Weinbach will also make an appearance in two excerpts from Westside’s 2019 Centennial Gala: “Grand Défilé” and an excerpt from Westside Ballet’s 2019 performance of Balanchine’s quintessential “Serenade,” staged by Patricia Neary.
The “Grand Défilé” is described as a holistic presentation of the ballet company to exhibit the evolution of each dancer toward the pinnacle of their training as pre-professional artists.
“This year’s dancers demonstrated their resilience by recreating the ‘Défilé,’ each from their own space, so they could come together virtually,” according to a press release.
Meanwhile, “Serenade” is meant to reflect the grace of ballet in its purest form.
“To me, the idea of ‘Grace and Grit’ reflects the resiliency of the arts community during this time,” Weinbach shared about being part of the film. “Though no one imagined we’d ever be dancing on film as opposed to on stage, the same inclination to share our love of dance makes this transition natural, given the circumstances.
“To be a part of the ‘Grace and Grit’ film project is rewarding because it reminds me of the strength of our Westside Ballet family.”
Westside Ballet of Santa Monica is a nonprofit, pre-professional company composed of dancers from Westside School of Ballet, Los Angeles’ oldest public ballet school, according to the press release.
The drive-in feature is being done in collaboration with SMC’s Public Policy Institute Annual Arts Forum and Dance Department.
“ … The pieces in this film explicate grace and grit in true context—the sheer determination and tenacity of artists whose grace survives even the most defining challenges,” Martine Harley, Westside Ballet’s artistic director, said.
Tickets for the dance film drive-in fundraising event are $50 per vehicle and available for purchase now at westsideballet.com.
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