Yvonne Mounsey, Founder
Santa Monica, California
“Being onstage and dancing for a real audience gives me the drive and strength to work hard all year.” — WSB Student
Each year, Westside Ballet of Santa Monica provides invaluable performing experiences for our students in a wide variety of ballets, allowing an exciting glimpse into the rewards of disciplined training. Such exposure was critical to Yvonne Mounsey’s own early ballet training, and as Founder of Westside Ballet, she gave generations of young dancers the same opportunities which continue today in her honor.
This year’s Spring Performance featured an excerpt from Balanchine’s exquisite Serenade - the first ballet he created in America. Because of Westside Ballet’s reputation for professional-quality performances, we were privileged to be granted permission from the Balanchine Trust® to perform part of this exclusive ballet.
Another highlight was Yvonne Mounsey’s own masterwork, Classical Symphony. Yvonne created this ballet more than 30 years ago and it has been danced by generations of Westside’s students (many of whom are now WSB faculty). Classical Symphony was Yvonne’s homage to Balanchine, and its enduring classicism has kept it in our repertoire since its creation.
Because both of these great ballets are neoclassical in style, the program was rounded out by a number of excerpts from classics such as Giselle and Coppélia. Our youngest students lit up the stage as nymphs and fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
We’re also thrilled that Seth Belliston, who delighted our audiences in the recent performances of The Nutcracker, returned to dance the famous pas de deux from Act III of Don Quixote with our own Lucia Connolly!
Michele Bachar re-created a Bob Fosse piece from the 1966 musical Sweet Charity, called The Rich Man’s Frug (pronounced “froog”). The scene takes place in the Pompeii Club in New York City, where celebrities and high fashion snobs are dancing the latest dance craze. It is an energetic dance number in three movements: The Aloof, The Heavyweight, and The Big Finish.
Michele’s jazz students were excited to showcase Bob Fosse’s distinctive choreography, particularly his creative use of unusual poses, gestures, and arm movements. The Rich Man’s Frug is arguably one of the finest examples of Bob Fosse’s unique style, wit, and choreographic genius.