The Media City Ballet and the Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance gathered respectfully last week to honor their artisans and supporters.
Encore! An Evening of Dining and Ballet was staged at Glendale's Chevy Chase Country Club to celebrate the kickoff of the Media City Ballet's 10th season. Headquartered in Burbank, the ballet company presents a season of full-scale productions and studio session presentations. They also bring arts-centered educational programming into local elementary school classrooms.
Friday evening's event, co-hosted by "3rd Rock From the Sun" actress Elmarie Wendel, and character actor Dan Roebuck, paid tribute to four legendary dancers of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo — Patricia Peters Doyle, Paul Maure, Andrei Tremaine and Dorothy Matise Wade — for the artistic support and direction they have provided the company over the past decade. Additional honors were bestowed upon Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and Andre van Niekerk, dean of the business school at Woodbury University, for their years of generous support to the company.
Among those who enjoyed the champagne reception, dinner and dance performances were the company's Artistic Director Natasha Middleton, Executive Director and President Cindy Pease, Vice President Roland Armstorff, Managing Director Ed Salabury, Woodbury University President Ken Nielsen and his wife, Rose, and actor Emrhys Cooper. Other notables in attendance included Carlos Castro, Natalie Garrotto, Carol Ferris, Cheryl Williams-Khoury, Stephanie, Gregory and Tom Pease, Ron Leiker, Amy Navarrete, Adrianos Facchetti, Doug Fitz-Simmons, Bridget Barstow, Jeffrey Smith, Brian and Robin Flynn, Chandler Pohling, Jody Balsam, David and Kara Rosen, Bud and Karen Walker, Brett Young, Hilda Zubricky, Kaistin Pitcher and Tim Sepulveda.
Artists of a different discipline were also honored at the Armenian Church Western Diocese as the Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance presented its second biennial William Saroyan Prize for Playwriting that pays tribute to the work of authors who produce plays with Armenia themes.
Hosted by actress and XM Satellite Radio personality Ana Kasparian, top honors went to Silva Semerciyan for his play "Another Man's Son," which tells the story of an Armenian family forced to confront the hidden consequences of genocide in 1958 Beirut. Semerciyan edged out finalist Sevan Kaloustian Greene and Johnna Adams for the $10,000 grand prize award.
The evening also saw the alliance bestow its Armenian Star Award upon His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, for his longtime support of Armenian artists.
Among the special guests in attendance were alliance President Bianca Bagatourian, board members Alfred Demirjian, Karen Kondazian and Lisa Kirazian, actor Ken Davitian of "Borat" fame, and Steve Papazian, who serves as the president of worldwide physical production for Warner Bros.
Included on the committee that made the event possible were Jill Simonian, Michael Arabian, Martin Bedoian, Rafi Petrossian, Lusine Akelyan, Lisa Dolab, Lilit Khazarian, Nina Koumachian-Ehlig, Taline Makdessian and Zhelbert Zohrabian.