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January 20, 2011 | Segerstrom Center for the Arts
(L-R) Bolshoi Theatre General Director Anatoly Iksanov, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov and Center President Terry Dwyer  

Bravos and thunderous applause rocked Segerstrom Hall after sold-out performances of Reflections, Segerstrom Center for the Arts' history-making collaboration with Russia's legendary Bolshoi Ballet. More than a year in the making, Reflections brought together seven of the greatest ballerinas in the world all Bolshoi-trained – along with four of the Bolshoi's most astonishingly talented male dancers and several of today's top choreographers creating works for ballet and dance companies around the world. In the audience on opening night were Center Chairman Larry Higby and his wife Dee; Center President Terry Dwyer; Center Executive Vice President Judy Morr; Sergei Danilian, the impresario and creative director who collaborates with the Center on most of its Russian dance projects; Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, Bolshoi Theatre General Director Anatoly Iksanov and a number of members of the Bolshoi Theatre's Board of Trustees. 

The opening of Reflections seemed to flow like the performance itself one amazing tour de force event after another. It began as the artists returned to Orange County for final rehearsals they were here in late summer to begin their work and learn the choreography that was being created especially to 'reflect' their unique talents. On January 19, the company and Reflections underwriters were hosted for a private dinner at Mastro's Restaurant by the Bolshoi Theatre's Board of Trustees. Among those honored were Richard and Virginia Hunsaker, Christina Lyon, George and Terry Schreyer, and Sutton and Christian Stracke. (Key dance supporters unable to join the party were Audrey Steele Burnand, Jane and Jim Driscoll, members of the Segerstrom family representing the Segerstrom Foundation Endowment for Great Performances, Bill Gillespie and Michelle Rohé.) Deputy Prime Minister Zhukov made a gallant toast to "friendship, the arts and excellence."

Center Executive Vice President Judy Morr and Reflections Star Polina Semionova

Choreographers Mauro Bigonzetti and Jorma Elo with Richard and Virginia Hunsaker

Christina Lyon and Reflections star Yekaterina Shipulina

Elizabeth Segerstrom and Anatoly Iksanov

Kathryn Glassmyer, Sutton Stracke and Jennifer Condas

George and Terry Schreyer

The January 20 opening night was star-studded. Each of the prima ballerinas - San Francisco Ballet's Maria Kochetkova, Estonia Ballet's Olga Malinovskaya, Staatsballett Berlin's Polina Semionova, the Bolshoi's Yekaterina Krysanova, Natalia Osipova, Yekaterina Shipulina and Anastasia Stashkevich - dazzled. Their Bolshoi partners were Vyacheslav Lopatin, Denis Savin, Ivan Vasiliev and Alexander Volchkov. The choreographers were Nacho Duato, Karole Armitage, Lucinda Childs, Jorma Elo, Aszure Barton, Renato Zanella, George Balanchine and Mauro Bigonzetti. Award-winning Russian fashion designer Igor Chapurin created many of the costumes. In the orchestra pit was the Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre conducted by Igor Dronov.  

The Reflections Cast and Creative Team

South Coast Plaza hosted the opening night party in its Jewel Court, an appropriate setting for some of the most dazzling jewels of dance. Excitement and energy seemed to be limitless. Hearty congratulations and toasts continued well into the night. Nearly 300 guests gathered to applaud the Reflections cast and creative team and to affirm Orange County's place in the international dance spotlight. Dancing, a late-night buffet supper by Quattro Cafe and impromptu dancing by the cast - albeit to rock and roll - kept spirits alive and looking forward to the remainder of the run and the Russian premiere at the Bolshoi on January 27.


Orange County Performing Arts Center

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