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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Ballet (TWB) and Board of Directors Chair Sylvia A. de Leon announced today that Adrienne Arsht, philanthropist and business leader, has made a $250,000 gift which enables The Washington Ballet to provide live orchestral performances for the company’s 50th anniversary of The Nutcracker. The Nutcracker is an annual tradition which began with legendary founder Mary Day’s 1961 production and continues today with Septime Webre’s beloved 2004 Washington-influenced production.

“The Washington Ballet and the ballet community have been blessed by the generosity of an extraordinary national cultural leader,” said de Leon. “For Adrienne Arsht to express this level of support for the Ballet demonstrates her long-standing admiration for The Washington Ballet, her commitment to the Washington Community and, most importantly, her strong desire to inspire children. After Adrienne attended The Nutcracker last season she approached the Ballet with the idea to fund live muisc for the 50th anniversary season and together we made it happen," de Leon added. “It is only through the generosity of local and national patrons like Adrienne that the Ballet is able to meet its mission of excellence in ballet performance, training and service to the DC community.”

“It gives me great pleasure to make it possible for children and adults alike to experience The Nutcracker performances with a live orchestra and to be able to support The Washington Ballet’s 50th anniversary of The Nutcracker,” stated Adrienne Arsht. “My 30-year history with The Washington Ballet began when I came to DC in 1979 and got to know the legendary Mary Day. I have great artistic respect for the company, am enthralled by Septime Webre’s Nutcracker, and want to ensure that young children having the experience of performing on stage or attending a performance of The Nutcracker will be inspired by the live music of an orchestra,” explained Arsht.

“I am deeply grateful to Adrienne for her enthusiastic support of The Washington Ballet,” said Septime Webre, artistic director. “Our Nutcracker is a Washington, DC holiday tradition and incorporates many roles for student dancers trained by The Washington School of Ballet. The addition of live music to our 50th anniversary celebration of The Nutcracker will enhance the performances for our dancers and the enjoyment of audiences young and old alike.”

For 50 years, generations of Washingtonians have grown up loving—and introducing loved ones to—The Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker. In this 50th anniversary year, Artistic Director Septime Webre pays homage to founder Mary Day’s 1961 production in his one-of-a-kind production starring George Washington as the heroic Nutcracker and King George III as the villainous Rat King. The production, which sparkles with snowflakes and cherry blossoms, features The Washington Ballet Company and Studio dancers alongside 400 students from all three The Washington School of Ballet campuses. The Nutcracker runs for 30 performances December 1 -24 at the historic Warner Theatre.

About Adrienne Arsht

Adrienne Arsht is a business leader and philanthropist, who has taken a leading role promoting artistic, business and civic growth in the three cities she calls home: Washington, DC, New York and Miami. She is recognized for her $30 million contribution to Miami’s Performing Arts Center which was renamed the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in her honor. Ms. Arsht is the chairman of the Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation, treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and a member of the board of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, Board member of the Metropolitan Opera, the Washington National Opera, the Center for National Policy, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, The Atlantic Council and numerous other associations and organizations.

Media Contact: JoAnn LaBrecque-French, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications
202.274.4519 or jlabrecque@washingtonballet.org

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