LaFayette Ballet Company to host reunion gala on June 17
Published 9:00 am Tuesday, May 23, 2023
On June 17, the LaFayette Ballet Company will host “Memories from the Marley,” a reunion gala at the Del’avant from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Spearheading the gala are LBC alumni, Antoinette Biagi and Skye Blevins.
“The intention is to honor the Lafayette Ballet Company as part of the broader LSPA and cover the impact this institution has had on our lives,” Biagi said. “The idea is to have an evening to both unite, recognize and celebrate all of the individuals. This is over 40 years of people who have created an artistic community in historical LaGrange and their huge community and network of dancers — past, present and future.”
Amy Orr, artistic director of LBC, said the duo has been working on the bring the gala to life for over three years.
“They came to me maybe right before the pandemic and said they felt there was a need for this to happen. The girls felt they’d been given many opportunities from networking, friends, education, discipline, time management — they talked about what the experience gave them and how it was valuable to them as the young adults now working in the real world,” Orr said. “They wanted to give back and allow others to reconnect with each other and hopefully get back on stage to the program that has given them so much.”
Tickets for the gala will be on sale until June 9 and cost $60 for adults and $30 for students.
Blevins said it has been a thrill and honor to put together a gala of this size.
“So many people have volunteered to help us in various ways, and we can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done. A large-scale gala event that aims to fundraise and support an organization is a grand undertaking, and without the support of key people like Amy Orr, Kerri Vice, Terri Codlin, Nina Dulin-Mallory, and Cathy Wiggins and Anna Knight, we could not have pulled off an event like this. It truly was a village,” Blevins said.
The gala will have food, dancing, a DJ, a silent auction, and a networking hour. Before the event, there will be pre-events including a meet and greet and an alumni ballet class.
“The gala will be a very needed fundraiser, as the arts are always in need, but it will be a night of reconnection and reuniting,” Orr said.
“We’ve done events but nothing like a reunion like this before. It’s really very special for me as their teacher and director to see these young women who not only had this idea but brought it to fruition. They’ve done all the work and planning and it’s wonderful to see them bring people together, give back and celebrate everything that they had gained here.”
Orr said she feels the best part of the gala will be reconnecting with former dancers and families and having them connect with the present dancers.
“We get to see a few of them as they trickle in for performances but with this being a very distinct reunion event, I know that dancers are flying in from different parts of the country to come,” Orr said. “It’s going to be amazing to reconnect with all of these dancers and for them to be able to reconnect with each other, find out what they’re doing, where their life is taking them and hear stories about how the program has impacted them.”
She said there will be dancers from Colorado, Maryland, Florida and more coming to the gala.
“It’s very heartwarming to have these former LaGrange residents come back. We’re excited to see them and reconnect,” Orr said.
Blevins said the best part of the gala will reconnecting with alumni, bringing them back into the fold and sharing their experiences with the current generation of dancers.
“We get to celebrate the accomplishments of this organization that humbly started in the attic of LaGrange College and the accomplishments of all who have passed through this organization,” Blevins said.
“Since we are able to give back to the ballet company and provide opportunities for the present and future generations of dancers, along with the entire LaGrange community, we’re fundraising for new tutus and stage scenery for LSPA’s 40th season of ‘The Nutcracker’ this year. We will touch so many lives who celebrate this tradition — from the dancers who don the tutus to the audience members who have been enjoying this holiday tradition for years.”
Blevins said she felt the gala was important to organize because of the people to helped shape her experience while in the program.
“Because of my time with the company, I am the proud, confident, and successful young woman that I am today, and I want this for everyone who is involved with LSPA and the ballet company,” Blevins said.
“This is my ‘thank you’ to those who came before me that paved the path for ballet in LaGrange, and a nod to those in the future who will come after me.”
Biagi said the gala is important to do because of the influence the program and its educators have impacted her life.
“The best analogy I can come up with is somebody who realizes a teacher who’s had an influence on their life after some time,” Biagi said. “This is the same construct of a teacher who’s influenced my life, but I haven’t come to appreciate it without the benefit of time passing and then realizing, ‘Oh my gosh, I am built off of the mentorship given to me by this institution, this community and the instructors within it.’”
For more information on the “Memories from the Marley” Gala and to buy, visit lsparts.org.