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INTO THE NIGHT / ORANGE COUNTY

Gold Rush With New York City Ballet

October 16, 1998|ANN CONWAY

The scene: Dancers with the New York City Ballet joined sup- porters of the Orange County Per- forming Arts Center on Wednesday to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary tour with a post- performance cast party at Scott's Seafood Grill & Bar in Costa Mesa.

Hot spot: Serenaded by a jazz combo, dance buffs cruised a dessert crepe buffet, sipped wine and raved about the company's performance in works choreographed by George Balanchine, Peter Martins and Jerome Robbins. "We've just watched the finest ballet company in America perform," center president Jerry Mandel said. "They were here when we opened Segerstrom Hall [in 1986], and this is their favorite place to be outside of New York City."

Golden anniversary: The chance to celebrate the company's anniversary--to the very week it was founded 50 years ago--was the highlight of the evening for dancer Peter Boal. "I started doing children's roles with the company in the 'Nutcracker' in 1975--I was the little prince," he said. "I believe in this company 100%. I watched it growing up; my parents watched it, and so did my grandparents. . . . I love the tradition and wish it another great 50 years."

Mother-child reunion: Principal ballerina Miranda Weese--formerly of Santa Ana--and her mother, Jackie Weese of Corona, swept into the party arm-in-arm. "Tonight was great--it was nice to know my family and friends were in the audience," said Miranda Weese, 23.

A proud Jackie Weese said: "If it wouldn't have been embarrassing, I'd have worn a sign tonight that said, "She's mine!' "

Miranda Weese took dance les sons at the recommendation of a family doctor, Jackie confided. "She had weak ankles and knees--wore

high-top corrective shoes until she was out of third grade. Look at her now."

Quote: "What makes ballet extraordinary is that it gives you the chance to watch music," said company general manager Anne Parsons. "Balanchine [founder of the New York City Ballet] always said, 'Come and listen to my dance--watch my music.' "

Looking back: "The world predicted that we wouldn't be around for another five years after Balanchine died [in 1983]," company director Peter Martins said. "But anyone who watched us tonight saw that we are dancing as well, if not better, than we ever have. We're healthy and thriving--artistically and financially. What more could we wish for?"

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