Segerstrom Center Launches International Dance Series

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Scene from ABT’s “The Nutcracker” / photo by Gene Schiavone

Dance has long been at the forefront of the artistic presentations at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. For several decades, the world’s most renowned ballet and dance companies have come to Segerstrom Center to delight audiences from throughout southern California.

Henry Segerstrom first forged an alliance with American Ballet Theatre more than 30 years ago, cementing the Center’s artistic reputation as a leading presenter of dance. ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie noted that “ABT is part of Segerstrom Center’s artistic history; we have come to Orange County regularly since the Center’s first season in 1986.”

Several years ago, ABT and Segerstrom Center collaborated in establishing the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Gillespie is a longtime ABT board member, and longtime supporter of Segerstrom Center, Pacific Symphony and other arts organizations.

American Ballet Theatre returns to Segerstrom Center twice as part of the Center’s 2019-2020 International Dance Series that starts October 16 – 20 with a lavish production of the timeless classic “La Bayadère,” performed by the Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra. One of the most popular ballets in the classical legacy, “La Bayadère” offers tour de force performances by the Mariinsky’s legendary ballet stars.

Scene from La Bayadere / photo by Natasha Razina

Mariinsky Ballet is the resident classical ballet company of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, and has along and colorful history. Originally known as the Imperial Russian Ballet, the Mariinsky Ballet dates to the 1740s. The company was re-established as the Soviet Ballet, and then the Kirov Ballet in honor of assassinated Bolshevik revolutionary Sergey Kirov. When the Soviet Union ended, the company came under the management of the Mariinsky Theater and its original name restored.

After Mariinsky Ballet is American Ballet Theatre with the World Premiere of a new work by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky (with music performed live by Pacific Symphony) March 5 – 8, 2020.

Inspired by the earliest romance novel from Greek antiquity, this World Premiere is being billed as “one of the dance world’s most important events of the year.”

Since its founding in 1940, ABT annually tours the United States, performing for more than 300,000 people and has made more than 30 international tours to 45 countries as perhaps the most representative American ballet company. In 2006, ABT was recognized as America’s National Ballet Company by an act of Congress.

Teatro alla Scala Ballet Company takes center stage July 31 – August 2, 2020 with “Onegin,” performed to live music by the Mikhailovsky Orchestra. La Scala star Roberto Bolle and guest artist Marianela Nuñez, principal dancer of The Royal Ballet, will perform on select dates. “Onegin” is based on Pushkin’s 19th-century verse-novel, “Eugene Onegin,” also a source for the opera of the same name by Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky’s vivid music brings alive the world of Imperial Russia with beauty, drama and passion.

Teatro alla Scala Ballet Company dates back to the centuries prior to the opening in 1778 of La Scala, the world’s most celebrated musical theatre, which is still its home today. In recent years, the Ballet Company of La Scala has grown in international visibility, performing at the Paris Opéra, in the United States, at the Bolshoi in Moscow and the Mariinsky-Kirov Theatre in Saint Petersburg.

In addition to the International Dance Series, the Center is also hosting a return engagement of the ever-popular “The Nutcracker,” performed by American Ballet Theatre with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky and music performed live by Pacific Symphony. The Nutcracker will be performed from December 13 – 22, 2019.

The International Dance Series is one again shaping up to be a memorable and marvelous experience not to be missed.

For tickets, visit

Scene from La Bayadere / photo by Natasha Razina
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