Wendy Whelan in Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain "A Tribute to Great Britain"

Special One-Time-Only Program to also Feature NYCB Principal Dancer Wendy Whelan in her SPAC Farewell Performance

Saratoga Springs, N.Y. - SPAC will present its annual Ballet Gala, a fundraiser to support New York City Ballet's Saratoga season, on Saturday, July 12 featuring a special one-time-only program, "A Tribute to Great Britain." The evening's performance will include works by two acclaimed British choreographers, After the Rain (pas de deux) choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and Acheron (SPAC premiere) choreographed by Liam Scarlett, as well as Balanchine's dazzling Union Jack, a salute to the British heritage of the United States which features a spectacular cast of 74 dancers. Also highlighting the evening will be a performance by renowned NYCB Principal Dancer, Wendy Whelan, who will give her SPAC Farewell performance in Wheeldon's After the Rain, a role she originated which has since become one of her signature works.

 

"Wendy Whelan is a world class ballet legend. We are thrilled to celebrate her 30 years of contributions to dance as she bids farewell to Saratoga, NYCB's summer home," said Marcia J. White, SPAC's President & Executive Director. "We look forward to watching her career evolve as she explores her artistry and moves into more contemporary genres."

Whelan, who is marking her 30th year with NYCB, having first danced with the Company as an apprentice beginning in 1984, will continue to perform during the Company's 2014 Fall repertory season at Lincoln Center. She will conclude her career with NYCB in a farewell performance on October 18 at the David H Koch Theater.

The Ballet Gala: A Tribute to Great Britain

The Ballet Gala is SPAC's primary fundraiser for New York City Ballet's historic SPAC residency, recently extended to two weeks for the 2015 season. Hosted by SPAC's Action Council, the popular summer event will capture the essence of Great Britain featuring a sparkling cocktail reception, a special one-time-only program performed by New York City Ballet, strolling bag pipe players, exquisite English cuisine, and post-show fireworks as part of the Hall of Springs black-tie gala.

Taking place simultaneously across the venue's expansive grounds, SPAC's Junior Committee hosts the Gala Lawn Party: A British Invasion under the stars. Known as one of the most elegant, yet affordable events of the Saratoga season, guests enjoy live music and dancing, fireworks, and 60's-styled picnic and costume contests.

Wendy Whelan's SPAC Farewell Performance

After 30 years performing with NYCB and at SPAC as a member of the Company, NYCB Principal Dancer Wendy Whelan will give her SPAC farewell performance at the Ballet Gala.

During her extraordinary career with NYCB, Whelan has danced leading roles in countless works by NYCB's co-founding choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and has also had roles created for her by a vast array of choreographers, including Robbins, NYCB's Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins, Jorma Elo, William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Twyla Tharp, Ulysses Dove, and numerous others. Whelan has also had an ongoing creative collaboration with former NYCB Soloist and Resident Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, who created leading roles for Whelan in seven of his works for NYCB. In addition, Whelan has originated leading roles in all three of the works that choreographer Alexei Ratmansky has created for New York City Ballet -- Russian Seasons, Concerto DSCH, and Namouna, A Grand Divertissement.

During the summer of 2013 Whelan premiered an evening-length program of new dance called Restless Creature at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, which featured Whelan performing in four original works created by choreographers Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks, and Alejandro Cerrudo. This summer, Whelan will perform Restless Creature in London and at the Vail International Dance Festival, and following her retirement from NYCB, she will bring the evening-length work to 12 U.S. cities from January - May 2015. In addition, Whelan will embark on a second project of new works with Royal Ballet Principal Dancer Edward Watson, which will premiere in London in July of 2015, and will also be performed at New York City Center in the spring of 2016. In conjunction with this project, Whelan has been appointed Artistic Associate at City Center, and beginning on November 1 City Center will serve as Whelan's home for developing future projects and collaborative work for two years.

Lawn admission to the Gala is $50 ($55 after June 30) per person; tickets are available at www.spac.org  or at the PAC Box Office. Lawn table and tent rentals are also available by contacting Kristy Godette at SPAC at 584-9330x109, Kristy@spac.org.

Tickets for the Hall of Springs Gala, which include admission to the champagne reception, dinner and premium seating for the New York City Ballet performance, are $250 per person and can be purchased by calling Linda Deschenes at SPAC at 584-9330x115, linda@spac.org.

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Contact:

Lisa Hill, 518.584.9330 x 119
M:518.496.2882
lhill@spac.org;
www.spac.org