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Guest stars - Lund, Bojesen, Zelensky

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Dancers from the Royal Danish Ballet and The Kirov Ballet

to Participate in NYCB’s Exploration of George Balanchine’s Classical Heritage

as Part of Balanchine 100: The Centennial Celebration

New York City Ballet announced today that Gudrun Bojesen and Thomas Lund of the Royal Danish Ballet, and Igor Zelensky of The Kirov Ballet, will appear with the Company as guest artists during the 2004 winter season’s exploration of George Balanchine’s classical heritage.

Gudrun Bojesen and Thomas Lund – Royal Danish Ballet

Ms. Bojesen and Mr. Lund, both principal dancers with the Royal Danish Ballet, will dance in August Bournonville’s Flower Festival in Genzano on Sunday, January 11 at 3 p.m., as a tribute to Balanchine’s long relationship with the Danish company.

In the early 1930s Balanchine served as a ballet master for the Royal Danish Ballet and became acquainted with the work of Bournonville, the prolific choreographer and ballet master of the Royal Danish Ballet from 1830 to 1877. Balanchine took inspiration from Bournonville’s works, which influenced several of his ballets for NYCB including Donizetti Variations and Scotch Symphony. In addition, Balanchine generously allowed many of his own ballets to be performed by the Danish company.

Ms. Bojensen, who trained at the Ballet School of Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre, joined the Royal Danish Ballet in 1994, and was made a principal dancer in 2001. Her repertory with the company includes leading roles in Onegin, Swan Lake, and The Sleeping Beauty, as well as in ballets by Bournonville, Balanchine, and Harald Lander.

Mr. Lund also trained at the Ballet School of the Royal Theatre and joined the Royal Danish Ballet in 1993. He became a principal dancer in 2000, and his repertory includes leading roles in much of the company’s repertory, including works by Bournonville, Balanchine and Sir Kenneth MacMillan.

Igor Zelensky – The Kirov Ballet

Mr. Zelensky, currently a principal dancer with The Kirov Ballet, will dance in Diamonds from George Balanchine’s Jewels on Thursday, February 12 at 8 p.m. and on Saturday, February 14 at 2 p.m. Diamonds, the final section of the three-act Jewels, is set to Tschaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3 in D Major, Opus 29, and suggests the late 19th century ballets of St. Petersburg’s Maryinsky Theater, home to The Kirov Ballet.

Balanchine was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and studied at the Maryinsky Theater, where he made his ballet debut in Tschaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty. Throughout his life Balanchine continued to be influenced by the culture of St. Petersburg and his early years at the Maryinsky, and Mr. Zelensky’s appearances with the Company this season will pay tribute to that heritage.

Mr. Zelensky joined The Kirov Ballet in 1988 and became a principal dancer in 1991. At the Kirov, Mr. Zelensky’s repertory includes principal roles in the full-length classics, as well as in several works by Balanchine. From 1992 to 1997 Mr. Zelensky was a principal dancer with New York City Ballet.

New York City Ballet launched Balanchine 100: The Centennial Celebration in November, and the year-long tribute to its co-founder’s 100th birthday features a winter season exploration of Balanchine’s heritage (January 6 through February 29), and a spring season exploration of Balanchine’s vision (April 27 through June 27). Guest artists for the spring season will be announced at a later date.

Tickets for the winter repertory season are currently available through Ticketmaster at 212-307-4100, at the New York State Theater box office, and at www.nycballet.com.

The New York State Theater is located on the Lincoln Center Plaza at Columbus Avenue at 63rd Street. For information on tickets for any New York City Ballet performance, call 212-870-5570, or visit www.nycballet.com.

Leadership support of Balanchine 100: The Centennial Celebration is generously provided by Mr. and Mrs. Howard Solomon and Gillian Attfield/Harriet Ford Dickenson Foundation.

The Balanchine Centennial Celebration is also made possible by gifts and grants from Altria Group, Inc., Mattel, Inc., The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Movado, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and The Shubert Foundation.

Lead support for the creation of new work is provided by The Irene Diamond Fund and members of the New Combinations Fund, and by the Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

NYCB extends special appreciation to contributors who support the Repertory Fund, which helps to make possible new works, revivals, and special projects, and the many donors who support the Company’s education and outreach programs.

Susan Stroman's Double Feature is made possible in part by a generous gift from Perry and Marty Granoff. Additional support is provided by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts through the Dance Commissions program.

The creation and performance of works by Peter Martins is funded in part by an endowment gift from the Solomon family, given in loving memory of Carolyn B. Solomon.

George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco is endowed in part by a generous gift from Veronique and Robert W. Pittman.

Christopher Wheeldon’s work as New York City Ballet’s Resident Choreographer is made possible by a generous grant from the Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation.

Major support for French programming is provided by The Florence Gould Foundation.

The Jewel of Russia is New York City Ballet’s preferred vodka.

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