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NY INTERNATIONAL BALLET COMPETITION GALA: Celebrating Ilona Copen and Honoring Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux & Patricia McBride
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NY INTERNATIONAL BALLET COMPETITION GALA: Celebrating Ilona Copen and Honoring Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux & Patricia McBride

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Celebrating the Life and Work of Ilona Copen
Honoring Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride

Honorary Chair, Robert Battle
Eleanor D’Antuono, Artistic Director
Marcia De La Garza, Executive Director
Reginald Van Lee, Chair, Board of Directors


Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, NYU

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 22, 2011

(See a Review of New York International Ballet Competition 2009)
(See an Interview with Marcia De La Garza, New Exec. Director, NYIBC)

Performance Program:

Ave Maria, Performed by José Manuel Carreño, American Ballet Theatre, Music by Franz Schubert, Choreography by Igal Perry.

Meditation, Performed by Ana Luiza Luizi and Junio Teixeira, NJ Ballet, Music by Massenet, Choreography by Vladimir Salimbaev.

The Dying Swan, Performed by Victoria Jaiani, Joffrey Ballet, Music by Camille Saint-Saens, Choreography by Mikhail Fokine.

Diana and Acteon, Performed by DaVon Doane and Flavia Garcia, Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble, Music by Cesare Pugni, Choreography by Agrippina Vaganova.

Spanish Dance (An Impression of Flamenco Dance) 1948, Performed by Rosanne D’Orléans Juste, Limón Dance Co., Music by Genevieve Pitot, Choreography by Daniel Nagrin.

Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Performed by Alessandra Ball and Addul Manzano, N. Carolina Dance Theatre, Music by Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine.

A Song for You (from Love Songs), Performed by Matthew Rushing, Ailey Dance Theatre, Music by Leon Russell, Choreography by Alvin Ailey.

Announcer: Lynne McLaren

In honor of the Founder and late Executive Director of the New York International Ballet Competition (NYIBC), Ilona Copen, who died in 2010, the organization has created an Ilona Copen Award. Tonight’s Gala was designed in lieu of a 2011 Competition, which will occur at a later date. This Gala is showcasing two honorees, Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, former ballet stars of New York City Ballet. Ms. McBride was the youngest principal at City Ballet at age 18 and remained with the company for 30 years. She and husband, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, are executives at North Carolina Dance Theatre (NCDT), where he is Artistic Director, and she is Assoc. Artistic Director. Mr. Bonnefoux had danced with Paris Opera Ballet, the Kirov, and the Bolshoi, prior to City Ballet. The Patricia McBride & Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance recently opened at NCDT.

Also onstage as these honorees accepted the Award and at various points in the evening were Eleanor D’Antuono, Artistic Director of the Competition, Robert Battle, newly appointed Artistic Director at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Marcia De La Garza, the new Executive Director of the Competition, and so it was an eventful evening full of introductions and milestones in the dance community. In fact, several of tonight’s Gala performers were actually Alumni of the Competition, and the first performer, José Manuel Carreño, who will soon retire as a Principal with American Ballet Theatre, is a 1987 Competition alumnus. Mr. Carreño danced Igal Perry’s Ave Maria, a slow, intertwining work that maximized his intense muscularity and dramatic passion. In a dim light, he truly shone brightly. Other highlights included Victoria Jaiani’s (a 2003 Competition alumna) The Dying Swan, with soft fluttering arms and eloquent elongation, as well as DaVon Doane and Flavia Garcia’s Diana and Acteon, a high spirited pas de deux with leaps, fouettés, and strong stage presence.

Ana Luiza Luizi and Junio Teixeira (a 2005 Competition alumnus), with NJ Ballet, danced Meditation with mesmerizing eloquence. The Limón Company was represented by Roxane D’Orléans Juste, a NYIBC Coach, in Spanish Dance, a stunning Flamenco inspired work, with much dazzle and rhythm. Balanchine’s Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux was performed by members of North Carolina Dance Theatre, Alessandra Ball and Addul Manzano, to tremendous audience accolades. The final work tonight also generated huge vocal acclaim. Matthew Rushing, of the Ailey Dance Theater, danced Ailey’s A Song for You, with powerful physicality and his winning personality. Without a doubt, tonight’s NYIBC Gala was not only a huge success, but also a singular tribute to Ilona Copen, whose namesake Award honors the artistry and growth of young ballet dancers, as well as the nurturing and promotion of dance traditions and the advancement of ballet. Kudos to Ilona Copen for her decades of innovation and inspiration.

Ilona Copen
Courtesy of Hank Dunning

Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux
Courtesy of Roger Ball

Jose Manuel Carreño, ABT Principal
Winner 1987 NYIBC Gold Medal
Courtesy of NYIBC

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at