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Julie Kent and Damian Woetzel made a guest appearance this weekend with Festival Ballet Theatre in Costa Mesa, California, a ballet company that showcases talented young dancers and educates the community in various dance forms. Ballet Festival Theatre is in residence at Southland Ballet Academy. This is Kent's 3rd appearance with FBT and she is to be commended, as are Woetzel and the other professionals who have appeared. They generously give of their time to inspire and motivate the students.

A full length "Sleeping Beauty" was offered. Kent was her usual radiant self, and Woetzel did not fail to dazzle. I sat in the 3rd row next to the very proud, and rightly so, mother of the girl dancing Lilac Fairy (Claudia Rea). The students deserve much praise. They work so hard, and the various levels of their ability are well showcased. The Court Children in the Prologue smiled the most radiant smiles throughout their performance. The Bluebird's Enchanted Princess, Elizabeth Chasteler, was excellent; her choreography most closely followed Petipa's. Scott Weber as The Wolf was a charmingly sinister creature. Several "corps members" stood out, but not knowing these students I cannot name them.

What a thrill for these students to be able to dance with their famous guests. My thanks to Kent, Woetzel, and Ilya Kuznetsov (another professional...The Bluebird) for their efforts.


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