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Jenna Tatum, Derek Hough and Adam Shankman were honored at the 12th Annual Los Angeles Ballet Gala held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Saturday.
They each received the Industry Excellence Award for their contributions to dance and the arts. Although Hough is world-renowned for his ballroom dancing skills, he admitted to THR that ballet was never really his personal forte. “I went to a theater art school in London and ballet was on the curriculum. I will say that I did ditch a few classes, and when I say a few, I mean many. I just hated wearing the tights. I was too shy about it. But I love it. It’s the foundation of so much in dancing.”
The Los Angeles Ballet is a relatively new institution in culture-rich Los Angeles, having produced shows for a little more than a decade, but it is a growing organization and has attracted legions of dance fans nurtured on shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars.
Tatum told THR why supporting the ballet was meant so much to her. “For me, I’m obsessed with everything dance. It’s how I grew up. It’s my first true love. So anything that is supporting or honoring that, I am 100 percent behind. And L.A. Ballet is an incredible organization, and what they do and how they provide for dancers and bring support into the world for dancers is very important to me.”
After a dinner of filet mignon and sea bass, guests were treated to a performance of several dances from the third act of Swan Lake. The dancers leaped, pirouetted and spun gracefully across the stage in a breathtaking display of artistry that had the audience breaking out into several rounds of spontaneous applause.
Before receiving his award, Shankman told THR how important ballet had been in his own life. “I started so late but I had to go into ballet very, very quickly. The discipline and the aesthetic have always informed all the kinds of work that I’ve done, but that also predates back to one of the first things that I ever saw was West Side Story. So becoming aware of Jerome Robbins and I remember very early on seeing the Balanchine Nutcracker, so ballet has always been a part of my life.”
The event raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor pledges during the night, with one donor giving $200,000 worth of a cryptocurrency called MovieCoin. In addition to raising money for their own performances, the Los Angeles Ballets also supports Power of Performance (POP!) program by providing 10 percent of all tickets free of charge to underserved communities throughout L.A. County.
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