- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 6, 2005

The Washington Ballet’s post-opening cast party outside the Eisenhower Theater’s Presidential Box turned into a fall homecoming bash for the seasoned corps Thursday night after a high-energy performance featur in George Balanchine’s “Serenade,” Michele Jimenez showcasing in the title role of Septime Webre’s “Carmen,” and Twyla Tharp’s witty and sassy “Nine Sinatra Songs.”

“I am so excited, so proud of you dancing with such energy,” Board Chairwoman Kay Kendall told the crowd. “This is our seventh season with the seventh son of the seventh daughter of a seventh son,” she added, suggesting that the company’s popular and innovative artistic director, Mr. Webre, is leading them into an even more charmed future. “All the dancers did a spectacular job tonight,” Mr. Webre piped in proudly. “Their growth collectively and individually is heartwarming.”

Ballet supporters were equally impressed.

“The dancers are wonderful, unspoiled and highly talented,” exclaimed Kitty Skallerup, a fan since her daughter Catharine, then 5, studied dance with young Caroline Kennedy under ballet founder Mary Day’s tutelage.

“They were even better this time,” added Sarah Gorman, who recently returned from the company’s whirlwind tour in the Dominican Republic, which just happens to be Miss Jimenez’s homeland.

Other enthusiastic ballet “family members” spotted at the not-to-be-missed opening were: Mary Haft, Deborah Gore Dean, Nina Auchincloss Straight, Anne Ashmore-Hudson, James Alefantis, Constance Carter Lawson, Debbie Sigmund, Rhona Wolfe Friedman, Barbara Harrison, Kay Heller and the Ballet’s Vice President Bill Harwood.

— Gail Scott

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