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50th anniversary ballet season kicks off with Fall Concert & upcoming international ballet competition

Loyola press release - November 12, 2014

The Loyola Ballet University and Preparatory Program will kick off its 50th anniversary performance season with a Fall Concert Friday, Nov. 21 and Saturday, Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. The event will also offer a preview of what is to come for its anniversary season, including an international ballet competition that will draw young dancers from around the world to New Orleans.

The Loyola Ballet Fall Concert, which takes places in Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall, features both classical and contemporary works performed by 40 talented dancers. The show will open with the hauntingly beautiful ballet piece, “Kingdom of the Shades” from La Bayadère, choreographed by Marius Petipa. The dance features guest artist William Moore Jr. of the Rochester City Ballet. Other pieces featured in the show include excerpts from Coppélia and Swan Lake, as well as character and contemporary works by guest artists from the Komenka Ethnic Dance and Music Ensemble and Storytellers Dance Project. Tickets are available now online for $12.

An international ballet competition is also on tap for the 50th anniversary season. For the first time ever, theValentina Kozlova International Regional Semifinal Ballet Competition is coming to the U.S.—and it’s happening in New Orleans. Open to the public, Loyola is hosting the competition from Friday, Feb. 27 to Sunday, March 1 in Roussel Hall.

“This upcoming international ballet competition at Loyola is not only a major cultural event for the city of New Orleans, but it also gives students of this region an opportunity to experience the high-caliber instruction of a former principal dancer of both the famous Bolshoi Ballet and the New York City Ballet,” said Laura Zambrano, director of the Loyola Ballet. “The competition offers young dancers opportunities for their future endeavors while bringing to the community this important art form.”

The Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition is one of only four international ballet competitions sanctioned by the Conseil International de la Danse (International Dance Council), which is part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

“The ballet program at Loyola will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2015, so I am so excited to celebrate this milestone while hosting this distinguished competition,” Zambrano said. “New Orleans has ballet history dating back to the 18th century. Hosting this competition will reconnect our city to those roots.”

Talented dancers from around the country will compete for bronze, silver and gold medals. There are four different age categories for dancers ranging from 11 to 26 years old. The Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition also includes a contemporary competition for dancers and choreographers with no age limit, which takes place after the end of the classical competition.

One of the United Kingdom-based jurors of the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition, Jelko Yuresha, will be on hand at Loyola’s Fall Concert to promote the upcoming landmark event, sign copies of his books on ballet and costuming, and answer any questions about the competition. Yuresha is a former principal dancer with the English National Ballet and Royal Ballet.

Loyola’s dance events are part of the university’s signature Montage Fine and Performing Arts series, which hosts more than 250 public events throughout the academic year.