Popular Choice: Colin Oraskovich,
CBS 3 Duluth Morning Meteorologist
Judges’ Choice: Mel Winkler, Director of Corporate & Therapeutic Foster Care,
Northwood Children’s Services
To see who won what other awards, click on Performances/Celebrity Dance Challenge.
Thursday, April 26
5:30 – 8 p.m.
Depot Great Hall
$45 presale/$50 at door
Sample wines and craft-brewed beers, nibble on hors d’oeuvres provided by some of the area’s finest restaurants, and in the silent and live auctions bid on all sorts of merchandise, special opportunities, and gift baskets.Read More
Regarded as the leading contemporary choreographer in ballet, George Balanchine produced more than 450 works from 1920 to 1982, brilliantly infusing classic ballet with his own genius and creating groundbreaking works that changed the direction of ballet. His native Russia had trained him in the Russian Imperial ballet tradition; his adopted country of American inspired him to create works of dazzling speed uniquely reflecting the energy and spirit of American culture.
As a child he was attracted first to music, then to ballet. After graduating from the Imperial Ballet School, St. Petersburg, Russia, he studied piano and musical theory at the state’s Conservatory of Music. Such a background helped him become an extremely musical choreographer and allowed him to collaborate with the famed composer Igor Stravinsky. Balanchine made his dance debut as a cupid in the Maryinsky Theatre Ballet Company production of The Sleeping Beauty. He later danced and served as Ballet Master for the Ballets Russes in Paris; a knee injury restricted his performing but gave him greater time for his real love, choreography.
After the American Lincoln Kirstein convinced Balanchine to come to this country to establish a company, the pair founded the School of American Ballet in 1934. Following years of projects elsewhere, Balanchine returned to New York to form in 1946 the Ballet Society, which two years later was renamed the New York City Ballet. Until his death in 1983, he served as its Artistic Director, choreographing most of the company’s productions, including The Firebird (1949), The Nutcracker (1954), Agon (1957), Stars and Stripes (1958). Known best for his ballet works, Balanchine also choreographed for musical theater, including Babes in Arms and On Your Toes, as well as creating works for operas, films, and television.
The New York-born Salvatore Aiello joined North Carolina Dance Theatre as Associate Director in 1979 and became Artistic Director in 1985, putting his unique imprint on the company.
His professional career included as dancer with the Joffrey Ballet and with the Hamburg Ballet, under the direction of John Neumeier; a charter company member of the Harkness Ballet; dancer with the Eglevsky Ballet and assistant to its founder, Andre Eglevsky; and principal dancer and Associate Director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Mr. Aiello choreographed for the Royal Winnipeg, Eglevsky, and Hamburg Ballets and for the Eddie Toussaint Dance Company, a Canadian jazz troupe.
A rich mixture of training and performance provided Mr. Aiello with versatility in style and theatricality and an impressive ability to choreograph a diverse array of works. The word “energy” most aptly describes him and is found prominently in his works. He was Director Emeritus of the North Carolina Ballet at the time of his death in 1995. In 1996, he was given the North Carolina Alliance Award for outstanding contribution to dance.
Isaac Sharratt was born in Tucson, Arizona, where he trained on scholarship at Ballet Arts. He became one of the first apprentices with Ballet Tucson at age 16 before he joined the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II Program in 2008. As a trainee, he represented the program for a dance festival in Cancún, Mexico. He joined the Company in 2009, where he danced as Noodler the Pirate in the world premiere of Michael Pink’s Peter Pan. Isaac has also enjoyed performing in Pink’s Dracula, Esmeralda, and La Bohème, and worked with esteemed choreographers including Darrell Grand Moultrie, Val Caniparoli, Timothy O’Donnell, Lucas Jervies, Mauro de Candia, Lila York, Gabrielle Lamb, and Matthew Neenan. As a choreographer, Isaac has created works for NEWaukee’s Naked Ballet events, NomadicLIMBS showcases, and studio performances for Milwaukee Ballet II and Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy. Isaac also choreographed the music video for Volcano Choir’s “Tiderays.” This is his eighth season dancing in Milwaukee Ballet’s Company.
Jerri Kumery began her studies with Roman Jasinski and Moscelyn Lark in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the School of American Ballet. She danced with the New York City Ballet 1977–87, under the direction of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Martins.
After her retirement from NYCB in 1987, she served as Repetiteur for Ballet Teatro Lirico Nacional, under Artistic Director Ray Barra, and with Pacific Northwest Ballet, under Artistic Directors Francia Russell and Kent Stowell.
In 1990, she became Ballet Master and Associate Artistic Director of North Carolina Dance Theatre under the Artistic Direction of Salvatore Aiello. From 1996 through 2007, Ms. Kumery served as Co-Associate Artistic Director of North Carolina Dance Theatre with Patricia McBride and Artistic Director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. In 1997, Ms. Kumery was awarded an Arts & Science Council Fellowship for her meritorious contribution to the artistic community of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ms. Kumery is currently Ballet Master with the Richmond Ballet, Repetiteur with The George Balanchine Trust, and Curator of the Salvatore Aiello ballets.
Alexander Sandor, Guest Pianist
Alexander Sandor is a freelance pianist based in the Twin Ports. He received his Master’s degree in piano performance from the University of Arizona and his Bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He specializes in ragtime and stride piano, having performed at many of the largest Ragtime Festivals in the world. He is a senior lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Superior and has performed as a soloist with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, Itasca Symphony Orchestra, Red Cedar Symphony, UWS Chamber Orchestra, and Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra, and as accompanist at the Interlochen Arts Academy.
Erin Aldridge – Guest Violinist
Erin Aldridge, Concertmaster of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra since 2005, received her Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from Indiana University, her Master’s degree and Performer’s Certificate in Chamber Music Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and was a member of the Leonard Sorkin Institute of Chamber Music under the direction of the Fine Arts Quartet. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Violin Performance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dr. Aldridge has won numerous awards as both soloist and chamber musician and has been featured throughout Europe, South America, and the United States. She was a featured soloist at the John Downey Festival in London, performing the world premiere of his Irish Violin Sonata. In Solonsa, Spain, she was a guest soloist and chamber musician at the AIMS festival. She has also performed numerous concerts throughout Uruguay as well as throughout the United States with the Dorothea Trio.
As a conductor, she has directed many ensembles around the state and has been the guest clinician for the UW-Milwaukee High School Honors Orchestra in 2007 and 2008. Under her direction, the University of Wisconsin-Superior Chamber Orchestra has developed a reputation for innovative programming specializing in performance of both traditional and new compositions. The Chamber Orchestra in 2005 presented a concert tour in Brazil and in 2008 embarked on a concert tour of China.
Ann Gumpper, Set Designer, Swan Lake
Ann Gumpper designed the second act of Swan Lake in 1998 for the Minnesota Ballet; she reports that it has been a joy to complete the design for this season! Also with the Minnesota Ballet she has designed sets for Firebird, Dracula, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle Act II, and The Nutcracker (1997).
Recent area designs include Rigoletto, Les Uncomfortables, The Barber of Seville, Carmen, Don Pasquale, Face on the Barroom Floor, Bon Apetit, La Traviata, Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Mikado, Cavalleria Rusticana and Gianni Schicchi with Lyric Opera of the North (LOON); as well as Rusalka and Hansel and Gretel for Little LOON; Mozart’s “Pantalon und Colombine: Musik zu einer Pantomime” (Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra); You Can’t Take it With You, Annapurna and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Duluth Playhouse); Sour Angelica, Dido and Aeneas, and Il Mondo Della Luna (UMD Opera); Cinderella (UMD Theatre); Nutcracker (Twin Cities Ballet); Carousel, Die Fledermaus (Minnesota Orchestra); Candide, From Berlin to Broadway (Skylark Opera); A Christmas Carol (Wise Fool Shakespeare); West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, Death of a Salesman (Lake Superior Community Theatre). Upcoming projects include: St. John’s Passion and Don Giovanni (LOON), Mamma Mia (Duluth Playhouse at NorShor), Orpheus (Little LOON), These Shining Lives (UMD Theatre).
Ann is proud to be a partner with Cal Metts in the LOON Scenic Shop.
Ann Marie Ethen, Guest Costume Designer
Ann Marie, of Royalton, Minnesota, as a trained ballet dancer as well as a talented costume designer, understands the particular requirements of ballet costumes. She is highly experienced at creating ballet costuming for such entities as St. Paul City Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Twin Cities Ballet, Stroia Ballet Company and Academy of Russian Ballet for its ballet performances. Ann Marie first worked with the Minnesota Ballet in 2012 as Ballet Mistress for The Nutcracker in its Thunder Bay tour. She later created the patriotic dress for the spirited pas de deux “Flames of Paris.” which the Ballet performed in 2013, and the exotic costumes for the Ballet’s performance of Scheherazade with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra in its 2015 “1001 Nights” concert.