Cultural VIPs Attend United Ukrainian Ballet’s Sold-Out Performance of ‘Giselle’ at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

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Elizaveta Gogidze and Alexis Tutunnique in the United Ukrainian Ballet’s Giselle by Alexei Ratmansky, photo by Karolina Kuras

It was an especially stirring evening as an array of cultural VIPs, celebrities, and dance lovers attended the West Coast debut of the United Ukrainian Ballet at Segerstrom Center for the Arts on June 29.

Presented by Elizabeth Segerstrom and the Henry T. and Elizabeth Segerstrom Foundation in association with Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the powerful performance included the West Coast Premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s “Giselle” and the World Premiere of Emma Evelein’s “Airlift,” created by the United Ukrainian Ballet for special guest Oleksandr Teren, a former Ukrainian soldier who lost both his legs fighting on the front lines.

The evening ended on a triumphant note with standing ovations from the sold-out crowd as dancers holding Ukrainian flags sang the country’s national anthem.

Following the performance, Elizabeth Segerstrom hosted an intimate reception to celebrate the evening’s lead dancers, including Elizaveta Gogidze (Giselle), Alexis Tutunnique (Albrecht), and special guest Oleksandr Teren.

Maria Hall Brown, Jane Yada, Susan Condrey, and Patricia Ward Kelly, photo by Lauren Hillary

Among the VIP Guests: Jane Yada, Chair of Segerstrom Center’s Board of Directors; choreographer Alexei Ratmansky and his wife Tatiana; Igone de Jongh, Artistic Director of United Ukrainian Ballet; Harris Fishman, Co- Founder of BlueCheck Ukraine; Katrina Foley, Fifth District Supervisor; John Stephens, Mayor of Costa Mesa; Valerie Amezcua, Mayor of Santa Ana; Christopher Koelsch, President & CEO of LA Opera; Keith Leonard, Chair of LA Opera’s Board of Directors; John Forsyte, President of Pacific Symphony; Jeremy Geffen, Executive and Artistic Director of Cal Performances; Rachel Moore, President of The Music Center; Sel Kardan, President & CEO of the Colburn School; Melissa Barak, Artistic Director of LA Ballet, and philanthropists George Schreyer; Valerie Sobel; Connie Spenuzza; Britt Meyer; and Gloria Brandes.

Celebrities attending the event were viral Tik Tok dancer Montana Tucker, Nigel Lythgoe (notable judge from “So You Think You Can Dance”), actor and host of “Access Hollywood” Mario Lopez, and “Dancing with the Star’s” talented dancers Gleb Savchencko, Cheryl Burke, and Alan Bersten.

Alan Bersten, Elizabeth Segerstrom, Gleb Savchenko, and Cheryl Burke, photo by Lauren Hillary

Thanks to the underwriting support of Elizabeth Segerstrom and the Henry T. and Elizabeth Segerstrom Foundation, proceeds from ticket sales will benefit BlueCheck which was created to vet, verify, and fund Ukrainian-led local and grassroots frontline organizations providing lifesaving humanitarian aid to victims of the Russian invasion.

Elizabeth Segerstrom is a longtime resident of Newport Beach who worked with her late husband, Henry, on many artistic projects. After Henry passed away in 2015, she continued to carry the family’s philanthropic torch.

“Henry always said be bold,” Elizabeth told the NB Indy in 2017. “I can hear his voice in my head. He was ahead of his time, how he went after the best. Henry said that when you give, magic happens.”

And Elizabeth Segerstrom is continuing to make that magic happen.

Phoebe Chen, Elizabeth Segerstrom, Alexis Tutunnique, and Connie Spenuzza, photo by Lauren Hillary
alerie Amezuca, Alexis Tutunnique ,Katrina Foley, Elizaveta Gogidze, John Stevens, photo by Lauren Hillary
Veronika Dash, Gleb Savchencko, Montana Tucker, Mario Lopez, and Cheryl Burke (LTR), photo by Tiffany Rose
John Forsyte, Elizabeth Segerstrom, and Alexei Ratmansky, photo by Lauren Hillary


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