INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED BALLET STARS
ASHLEY MURPHY AND BROOKLYN MACK GUEST STAR IN
LOS ANGELES YOUTH BALLET’S ACCLAIMED PRODUCTION OF
BY AWARD-WINNING CHOREOGRAPHER ANDREA PARIS-GUTIERREZ
Friday, December 21, 7 pm,
Saturday, December 22, 2 pm and 7 pm, and
Sunday, December 23, 2 pm
at Glendale’s Alex Theatre
Murphy and Mack Dance Iconic Roles of
Sugar Plum Fairy and Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier;
14-Year-Old Youth America Grand Prix Winner and Rising Dance Star
Darrion Sellman is Nutcracker
Internationally renowned ballet stars and prominent role models Ashley Murphy and Brooklyn Mack guest star in Los Angeles Youth Ballet’s critically-acclaimed production of The Nutcracker by award-winning choreographer Andrea Paris-Gutierrez, which caps the holiday season with four performances on Friday, December 21, 7 pm, Saturday, December 22, 2 pm and 7 pm, and Sunday, December 23, 2018, at 2 pm, at Glendale’s Alex Theatre. Murphy (Sugar Plum Fairy), a “fearless technician” (Washington Post) heralded for her “charm and fire” (New York Times) who has “made it her mission to inspire young people of color” (Pointe), is a principal dancer with The Washington Ballet and previously danced for 13 years with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Kirov-trained, Mack (Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier), formerly a principal dancer with The Washington Ballet and in demand as a guest principal dancer worldwide, is celebrated for his “explosive leaps, incredible precision…and onstage charisma” and is “the first African-American man to win gold at the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria” (NPR). The Nutcracker is performed by Darrion Sellman, a 14-year-old virtuoso who moved from Virginia to Los Angeles specifically to train with Paris-Gutierrez and LA Youth Ballet. Sofia Monroy, 15, and Ellie Wein, 14, alternate as Clara; and Malcolm McLaurin Takumi,11, and Marcel Ramirez, 12, alternate as Clara’s brother Fritz. The roles of children and parents at the party, soldiers, Mouse King, mice, snowflakes, flowers and dolls are performed with exceptional artistry and emotional depth by the rising stars of LA Youth Ballet.
Enhancing the rich compendium of this much beloved classic, Paris-Gutierrez’s youth-inspired version of the two-act ballet featuring Tchaikovsky’s quintessential score and more than 80 dancers was premiered last season to critical acclaim. It includes traditional influences as well as Paris-Gutierrez’s distinctive point of view as the Artistic Director of the lauded LA Youth Ballet and an experienced mentor to young dancers. Choreographed to perfection and hailed as “fairy-tale perfect” (Culture Spot LA), “Los Angeles Youth Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ adds energy and exuberance to the traditional choreography” (Los Angeles Times).
LA Youth Ballet, the premier ensemble of the Los Angeles Ballet Academy, is an advanced pre-professional student ensemble for accomplished classical dancers ages 13-19 that provides comprehensive ballet training combined with professional-caliber performance opportunities. Many of its alumni, noted for their impeccable technique and compelling artistic expression, have garnered numerous awards and have gone on to professional careers with some of the world’s leading ballet companies and musical theatre productions around the country.
Tickets start at $25 and are available through the Alex Theatre Box Office 818.243.2539 or visit www.alextheatre.org. The Alex Theatre is located at 216 North Brand Boulevard, Glendale CA 91203.
Brooklyn Mack, a native of Elgin, South Carolina, is an International Principal Guest Dancer. At age 12, he began dancing with the Pavlovich Dance School to improve his football. Two years later he entered the Kirov Academy of Ballet on full scholarship, training primarily with Anatoli Kucheruk and Vladimir Djouloukhadze. Mack apprenticed with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago before joining American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company. He spent three seasons as a principal dancer with Orlando Ballet and 9 seasons as principal dancer of The Washington Ballet (TWB), also partnering guest artist Misty Copeland in TWB’s Swan Lake. Throughout his career, Mack has performed choreography spanning the classical, neoclassical, contemporary, abstract, and modern styles. He has received numerous notable awards, including Senior Silver medals at the U.S.A. International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi (2006), and Helsinki IBC (2009); Princess Grace Fellowship Award (2007); Silver Medal (2011 Korean International Dance Competition); Marius Leipa Prize and Gold Medal (Boston IBC in 2011 and 2012 respectively); Winner (2012 Istanbul Grand Prix); and Gold Medal (2012 International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria). Mack has been featured on ABC, NBC, NPR and Ebony Magazine; listed in the Grio’s Top 100 (2014), and named a top “25 [dancers] to watch” by Dance Magazine (2012). In high demand as a guest principal dancer worldwide, Mack recently made his debut on four of the world’s greatest stages: Covent Garden in London, the London Coliseum, the historic Bolshoi in Moscow and the illustrious and historic Paris Opera ballet’s Palais Garnier.
Ashley Murphy, of Shreveport, Louisiana is in her fourth season with The Washington Ballet. She danced for 13 years with Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH), performing principal roles in such ballets as Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Glinka, Nacho Duato’s Coming TogetheR, Agon, and Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven. In 2002, she trained and performed with DTH’s Dancing Through Barriers® Ensemble. The following year, she was accepted into the company and toured with them performing in such ballets as Firebird, Serenade, The Four Temperaments and Concerto Barocco. During Dance Theatre of Harlem’s eight-year hiatus, she was influential in helping to restore the company by performing in the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble that continued to share the company’s legacy. She has also taught for Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Pre-Professional Residency at the Kennedy Center. Murphy has had the honor of performing at The White House, on BET and Jeopardy, and has represented the U.S. in a cultural exchange program in Jamaica. She appeared on the cover of Pointe Magazine with Misty Copeland and Ebony Williams, and was featured in a Verizon Wireless commercial.
Darrion Sellman, 14, (Nutcracker) was awarded the Grand Prize at the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) regionals in Las Vegas in 2017 and in San Francisco in 2018. At the YAGP international finals in New York, he won the Bronze Medal in the Junior Men’s division in 2016 and 2017; and in 2018 received the Shelley King Award for Excellence, plus Top 6 in the Junior Men’s and the contemporary and classical pas de deux categories. At age 12, Sellman became one of the youngest dancers to receive a Dizzy Feet Foundation scholarship, one of the most prestigious awards in the dance field. Among other significant accolades, he has been awarded full scholarships to Summer Intensives at the National Ballet of Canada, San Francisco Ballet, Monaco’s Princess Grace Academy, and The Royal Ballet School in London, which named him one of only ten international scholars for 2017. Sellman currently trains at Los Angeles Ballet Academy under the tutelage of Andrea Paris-Gutierrez. In 2018, he won the top prize at the RAD Dance Challenge in Los Angeles and attained a perfect score for the Advanced 1 examination of the international Royal Academy of Dance.
Andrea Paris-Gutierrez (choreographer) is president and artistic director of Los Angeles Ballet Academy, now in its 26th year, and artistic director of the school’s acclaimed youth company, Los Angeles Youth Ballet. She began dancing at age five at her mother’s ballet school in Auckland, New Zealand under the British Ballet Method. She received a full scholarship to the National Ballet School where she studied prior to joining the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Paris-Gutierrez, who has toured internationally, moved to Los Angeles in 1979, performing in productions of Sugar Babies, Song of Norway, Anything Goes, My Fair Lady, Pajama Game, among others. She has also choreographed and performed with Opera Pacific and LA Opera. Her choreography has been seen on such television shows as General Hospital and The Academy Awards, as well as on such films as Beaches and Pennies From Heaven. A Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) certified teacher whose students achieved 100% pass rate in the 2017 and 2018 RAD examinations, Paris-Gutierrez also holds Bolshoi Ballet Level A certification. She was named “Outstanding Choreographer” and “Outstanding Teacher” by Youth America Grand Prix and voted “Teacher of the Year” by Dance Teacher Magazine.
Los Angeles Youth Ballet, the premier ensemble of the Los Angeles Ballet Academy, is an advanced pre-professional student ensemble for accomplished classical dancers ages 13-19. In addition to developing young talent, the non-profit Encino, CA-based organization presents local community and in-school performances. Each year, its students also perform in full length ballets and other dance presentations produced by LA Youth Ballet with prominent professional dancers from Los Angeles and beyond, providing the young dancers invaluable training and performance experience. LA Youth Ballet, which works with resident and guest choreographers, presents a number of other special dance events, student choreography workshops and master classes. Its members participate in the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest international ballet competition. LA Youth Ballet provides financial assistance for young talented members in need, and many of its alumni have garnered numerous awards and have gone on to professional careers, dancing with some of the world’s leading ballet companies and in musical productions around the country. http://www.laballet.com
Los Angeles Youth Ballet
The Nutcracker by choreographer Andrea Paris-Gutierrez
Ashley Murphy, Sugar Plum Fairy
Brooklyn Mack, Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier
Darrion Sellman, Nutcracker
Ellie Wein and Sofia Monroy, Clara (perform on alternating dates)
Malcolm McLaurin Takumi and Marcel Ramirez, Fritz (perform on alternating dates)
Dancers of Los Angeles Youth Ballet
Friday, December 21, 7 pm
Saturday, December 22, 2 pm and 7 pm
Sunday, December 23, 2 pm
216 North Brand Boulevard
Glendale CA 91203
Tickets start at $25
Tickets available through Alex Theatre Box Office
818 243 2539
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Program, artists and ticket prices subject to change.