On Saturday, November 11, under the towering arches of downtown Los Angeles’s Vibiana, LA Dance Project (LADP) commenced their annual gala by honoring Misty Copeland, a global icon of the ballet realm as America’s first Black principal ballerina. Presented by Van Cleef & Arpels, the evening resulted in being the highest-grossing fundraiser in LADP history, a huge achievement for the arts as Executive Director Lucinda Lent and Chairman of the Board of LADP Mark Tarbeek shared plans to expand their studio.
The expansion includes doubling the audience volume from 100 to 200 seats and a publicly accessible dance library and research room, marking a new horizon for outreach, knowledge, and accessibility between Los Angeles and the artistic movement that exists within it’s own community.
The evening began with cocktails shared in the cathedral’s courtyard, followed by Debbie Allen's introduction of Copeland with a heartfelt speech recounting Copeland’s achievements and charitable contributions. As Allen shares how Copeland was introduced to dance through the Boys & Girls Club when she was 13, she also announces Dance Pass, a new offering that invites members of the Boys & Girls Club to attend LADP performances while waiving the usual ticket fee.
Attendees enjoyed performances from students of the Everybody Dance LA! summer intensive, an excerpt from Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber’s The Missing Mountain, pieces from LADP’s Artistic Director Benjamin Millepied’s Be Here Now performed by LADP company dancers, and a new duet featuring Millepied himself, a privilege of the audience to witness as it marked his return to performance as a dancer. Speeches and performances were followed by culinary delights from burrata and pear salad, salmon, wine, and chocolate tarts.
Photographed by Jojo Korsh and Nina Fernandez