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Ballet Pacifica Looks Into Los Angeles Performances and Other Improvements

By Emily Quinn
10 Oct 2005

Ethan Stiefel.

New Ballet Pacifica artistic director Ethan Stiefel’s plans for the company include performances at the Music Center of Los Angeles, a U.S. tour, and a Balanchine Nutcracker, the Orange County Register reports.

Stiefel, who was named artistic director of the Orange County-based company last December, has been working with Tom Gulick, the company’s executive director, on these and other plans, which were announced at a recent board meeting.

The Los Angeles performances, which would be a first step in expanding the company’s reach outside of Orange County, are not a sure thing; the Music Center has not yet made a commitment, although officials there have expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of Ballet Pacifica performances there.

The Music Center is looking into the possibility of retaining a resident company. A recent study showed that such a company could survive at the arts center, but has not yet determined what sort of company would be the right fit.

Stiefel said, “My hope is we have a performing presence in L.A. I see it as a necessity to achieve what is our goal—to be Southern California’s resident company.”

IMG Artists has agreed to represent the company, and look for tour dates for the 2006-07 season. IMG currently represents and books tours for such companies as Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet.

The rights to Balanchine’s version of The Nutcracker have been negotiated, and will likely be performed at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in December 2006. Bob Perdziola will create new sets and costumes for the production.

In addition, Gillian Murphy, a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre and also Stiefel’s girlfriend, has requested a year’s leave from ABT to perform with Ballet Pacifica full time in its inaugural season, 2006-07. She said that ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie was supportive of her plan, but that nothing is official yet.

The company is changing financially as well, with a budget that will rise to $6.2 million, with $3.2 million yet to be raised. According to the Register, the company’s board now has New York-based members on it, which will give Ballet Pacifica a national profile and could attract wealthy donors from other parts of the county.




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