American Ballet Theatre’s Annual Holiday Gala

One of the most spectacular annual events every December is the ABT Gala held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills. Attendees enjoy a one-night-only intimate dance program by many of the world-renowned artists of American Ballet Theatre, including Principal Dancers Isabella Boylston, Misty Copeland, Christine Shevchenko, Cory Stearns, Devon Teuscher and 17 other dancers performing in 8 dance scenes in full costume.

Principal Dancer James Whiteside was the eloquent Master of Ceremonies for the evening event. Not only is Whiteside an American ballet dancer, he is also a choreographer, model, and recording artist.

James Whiteside photo by Jill Weinlein

The ABT Company is one of the world’s most celebrated dancers, performing for more than 400,000 audiences in New York City, across the United States and around the world.  On April 27, 2006, by an act of Congress, American Ballet Theatre was named America’s National Ballet Company.

Nigel Lythgoe and Lesley Ann Warren – Photo by Jill Weinlein 

Before invited guests enjoyed an elegant three course dinner with wine pairing, many stepped out on the red carpet. Former dancer and choreographer Nigel Lythgoe posed with actress Lesley Ann Warren. Lythgoe achieved success as a television and film director. He produces American Idol and created, produces and judges on So You Think You Can Dance. Warren began her career as a ballet dancer, before becoming an Academy Award nominee for her role in Victor/Victoria, and earning multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and awards.

Dancer Kym Johnson Herjavec – Photo Jill Weinlein

Kym Johnson Herjavec from Dancing With The Stars also walked the carpet. Kym is a professional ballroom dancer, first in Australia before moving to the U.S. She achieved success as a dancer for 17 Seasons on DWTS. Her star partners included first place wins with singer Donny Osmond, and NFL two-time Super Bowl Champion Hines Ward. Her other partners included Mr. T, Mark Cuban and Jerry Springer.

ABT Executive and Artistic Directors Kara Medoff Burnett and Kevin McKenzie were joined with James Whiteside and ABT Board Chairman Andrew F. Barth (Avery). Photo by Jill Weinlein

Actors John Grady and Carly Hughes were invited guests to the ABT Gala. Grady starred off Broadway in Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell and as a member of Blue Man Group and the movie I Am Legend. Hughes is a Broadway dancer and singer, plus star of ABC’s American Housewife.

 The 2019 Holiday Gala program was a sensational montage from classic and new to world ballets. Included were excerpts from the holiday classic The Nutcracker, created by celebrated choreographer and ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky.

A Holiday Season favorite, the critically acclaimed production of The Nutcracker continues to be performed nightly through Dec. 22 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. This beloved classic brings a cast of more than 100 performers to the stage and features dazzling sets and costumes by Tony Award winner Richard Hudson, accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. For more information, visit


Isabella Boylston – Photo by Vince Bucci Photography

Guests also received a sneak preview from Ratmansky’s new, original full-length ballet, Of Love and Rage. In 2020, this exciting new show will have its World Premiere in Southern California at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa on March 5 through March 8, 2020.

Gala guests Proceeds from the Holiday Gala support American Ballet Theatre and its educational programs.

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