Dancers from coast to coast will share the stage in Weston, Connecticut, on January 19, when the Massachusetts Youth Ballet presents an all-Balanchine program featuring guest artists from leading U.S. ballet companies.

Nikolaj Hübbe and Miranda Weese, principal dancers of the New York City Ballet, will perform the leading roles in Balanchine's Apollo and the Diamonds pas de deux from Jewels. Also dancing in Apollo will be San Francisco Ballet soloist Sarah Van Patten and Boston Ballet's Sarah Edery. Leading roles in Serenade will be danced by Van Patten, San Francisco Ballet dancer Moises Martin, and Boston Ballet dancers Melanie Atkins, Sabi Varga and Sarah Edery

"It's a wonderful opportunity for Boston area audiences — and our students," said Jacqueline Cronsberg, Artistic Director of the 8-year-old Massachusetts Youth Ballet. Student dancers from MYB and the Boston Ballet School complete the casts of Apollo and Serenade as well as performing the Waltz of the Hours from Coppelia.

The program is a tribute to legendary choreographer George Balanchine on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Balanchine's innovative choreography dominated ballet worldwide for much of the 20th century. In addition to his brilliant ballets, Balanchine founded the acclaimed New York City Ballet company with Lincoln Kirstein and the School of American Ballet, generally recognized as one of the finest ballet training programs in the world.

Sandra Jennings, a Balanchine-trained repetiteur, is staging the program for Massachusetts Youth Ballet. A former New York City Ballet dancer and current Ballet Mistress for San Francisco Ballet, Jennings has helped companies all over the world stage Balanchine ballets through her work with the Balanchine Trust.

Mikko Nissenen, Artistic Director of Boston Ballet, is honorary chair of the January 19 event; along with former New York City Ballet star Merrill Ashley.

The Balanchine Centennial Tribute includes an optional pre-performance lecture by Ashley and dance writer Nancy Goldner and a post performance reception to meet the dancers.

Proceeds from the performance go to the Balanchine Foundation to support its work in dance education.

Educational programs and performances honoring Balanchine's contributions to dance are scheduled throughout 2004. The MYB Tribute is the first in the Boston area.

Ticket information is available at and 508 435-5600.

Image of a dancer for Balanchine's Centennial Tribute