University High School student Anna Liceica is celebrating this holiday season with a plum role. In fact, she is dancing the demanding role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Westside Ballet's annual production of "The Nutcracker."
"In the beginning, I didn't really want to learn ballet, but my mother thought I would like it," Liceica said. "And now I love it."
At the age of 10, Liceica began studying ballet at the National School of Ballet in her native Romania. She danced in several performances at the school and with the State Opera Ballet Company. And in 1986 and 1988, she took first prize in Romania's National Competition of Arts and Ballet.
Liceica, now 15, moved to the United States this year and lives in West Los Angeles with her family. After classes, she spends four to five hours a day practicing ballet.
"I practice every day except Sundays with the barre, ballet classes, variations and rehearsals," she said. Liceica hopes to graduate early from high school and pursue a career as a professional ballerina in New York. "I love dancing," she said. "I'm trying hard to get there." The Nutcracker will be performed at 2 and 7:30 p.m. today at the Lincoln Auditorium in Santa Monica.
Robert Burns, a professor of history at UCLA, has established the Premio del Rey, a book prize for Spanish history.
Burns will fund the book award with money he has earned from research on the history of Spain. The first Premio del Rey award will be presented this month at a meeting of the American Historical Assn., which will administer the $1,000 prize on a biannual basis. Burns is a resident of Westchester.
The Rabbi Jacob Pressman Academy of Temple Beth Am honored Charles and Rose Pilch as recipients of the first Etz Chaim Education Award for Distinguished Service.
The Pilches were honored for their support for the growth and development of the academy and quality in Jewish education.
The John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA has named Edward Leamer, an international economist, to the Chauncey J. Medberry Chair. Rakesh Sarin, an operations and technology management professor, has been appointed to the Paine Chair.
Leamer, acclaimed for his studies of international public policy issues, will teach business economics courses.
Sarin is a researcher in the area of decision making under risk and ambiguity.
Zack Gochin has been chosen as the grand prize winner of the American Cancer Society's 15th annual Great American Smokeout Bookmark Contest for the coastal cities unit.
His entry will be reproduced on 10,000 bookmarks and 5,000 posters that will be distributed throughout Los Angeles County.
Gochin is a fifth-grade student at Grant Elementary School in Santa Monica.
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