Each December, the American Ballet Theatre celebrates the end of the year with their annual ABT Gala. It’s held in Southern California inside the luxury Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Attendees enjoy a multiple course dinner with wine pairings, while watching intimate dance programs by many of the world-renowned artists of American Ballet Theatre, including Principal Dancers, including Isabella Boylston, Misty Copeland, Christine Shevchenko, Cory Stearns, and Devon Teuscher, along with 17 other dancers performing in full costume.

Misty Copeland and Blaine Hoven – Photo by Vince Bucci Photography

Misty Copeland and Blaine Hoven – Photo by Vince Bucci Photography

Principal Dancer James Whiteside was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening event on Dec. 16, 2019. Not only is Whiteside an American ballet dancer, he is also a choreographer, model, and recording artist.

IMG_2476 James Whiteside photo by Jill Weinlein

James Whiteside photo by Jill Weinlein

The ABT is one of the world’s most celebrated dancer companies in the world. The dancers perform for more than 400,000 audiences in New York City, as well as 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.

IMG_2466-2 Nigel Lythgoe and Lesley Ann Warren – Photo by Jill Weinlein 

Nigel Lythgoe and Lesley Ann Warren – Photo by Jill Weinlein

Invited guests included former dancer and choreographer Nigel Lythgoe. He posed with award winning actress Lesley Ann Warren. Lythgoe achieved television and film director success. He produces American Idol and created, produces and judges on So You Think You Can Dance.

Lesley Ann 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.

IMG_2450 Dancer Kym Johnson Herjavec – Photo Jill Weinlein

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.

IMG_2475 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

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

Actress Carly Hughes was also invited to the ABT Gala. Hughes is a Broadway dancer and singer, plus star of ABC’s American Housewife.

The 2019 Holiday Gala program was a sensational montage of 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.

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 tickets visit – https://www.scfta.org/events/2019/the-nutcracker.

121619_241 Isabella Boylston – Photo by Vince Bucci Photography

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.

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