Elizabeth Segerstrom and South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, hosted a private dinner to celebrate the new production of Russian-American choreographer and former American Ballet Theater (ABT) dancer Alexei Ratmansky. Titled ‘Of Love and Rage,’ the show premiered at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, in Orange County, California. Thousands of white flowers, Petrossian caviar, and Dom Pérignon champagne greeted guests on their arrival. Mrs. Segerstrom, dressed in an Oscar de la Renta gown embroidered with flowers, stood between Kevin McKenzie and Alexei Ratmansky during cocktails.
A short speech by the new director of the Segerstrom Center, Casey Reitz, welcome guests followed by Kevin McKenzie, “This is a beautiful theater and the dancers love being here every year.” Elizabeth told friends “Alexei is a genius and I feel blessed to be part of his project. We hope he will feel this is his home away from home. This beautiful ballet is a bit risqué and I’ll tell him more about this in Russian later.” Later she added “I’m extremely proud of our Judy Morr who has helped build a sophisticated audience here for ballet.”
Many New Yorkers journeyed to California for this evening including Joanna Fisher, Kip Forbes, Yue Sai Kan, David Lansky, Jonathan Marder and the many members of the ABT Company. They were joined by an elegant local contingent including Caroline Graham, Lyn Rothman, Nigel Lythgoe, Anton and Jennifer Segerstrom to name just a few.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts is the winter home of ABT and Mrs. Segerstrom is the lead underwriter for this new production that will premiere in New York at The Metropolitan Opera on June 2, 2020.
Alexei Ratmansky, was born in St. Petersburg and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow, according to ABT Company’s website. His performing career included positions as principal dancer with Ukrainian National Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet. He has choreographed ballets for the Mariinsky Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Kiev Ballet and the State Ballet of Georgia, as well as for Nina Ananiashvili, Diana Vishneva and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Ratmansky’s 1998 work, Dreams of Japan, earned a prestigious Golden Mask Award by the Theatre Union of Russia. In 2005, he was awarded the Benois de la Danse prize for his choreography of Anna Karenina for the Royal Danish Ballet. He was made Knight of the Order of Dannebrog by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in 2001. He won his second Benois de la Danse for Shostakovich Trilogy in 2014.
Ratmansky was named artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet in January 2004. For the Bolshoi Ballet, he choreographed full-length productions of The Bright Stream (2003) and The Bolt (2005) and re-staged Le Corsaire (2007) and the Soviet-era Flames of Paris (2008). Under Ratmansky’s direction, the Bolshoi Ballet was named “Best Foreign Company” in 2005 and 2007 by The Critics’ Circle in London, and he received a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for The Bright Stream in 2006.
In 2007, he won a Golden Mask Award for Best Choreographer for his production of Jeu de Cartes for the Bolshoi Ballet. In 2009, Ratmansky choreographed new dances for the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Aida. Ratmansky joined American Ballet Theatre as Artist in Residence in January 2009. In 2012, Ratmansky choreographed a new version of The Golden Cockerel for the Royal Danish Ballet. The Golden Cockerel received its American Premiere by American Ballet Theatre on June 6, 2016.
For American Ballet Theatre, Ratmansky has choreographed On the Dnieper (2009), Seven Sonatas (2009), Waltz Masquerade, a ballet honoring Nina Ananiashvili’s final season (2009), The Nutcracker (2010), Dumbarton (2011), Firebird and Symphony #9 (2012), Chamber Symphony, Piano Concerto #1 and The Tempest (2013), The Sleeping Beauty (2015), Serenade after Plato’s Symposium (2016), Songs of Bukovina (2017), Whipped Cream (2017), Harlequinade (2018), The Seasons (2019) and Of Love and Rage (2020).
Ratmansky was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow for 2013. In 2020, he received a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Classical Choreography for his work with San Francisco Ballet on Shostakovich Trilogy, a co-commission with American Ballet Theatre. Of Love and Rage is Ratmansky’s 17th ballet for American Ballet Theatre.
As for Elizabeth Segerstrom, she met Henry Segerstrom in New York City in 2000, according to http://henrysegerstrom.com/. They married on July 29th of that year at the St. Regis Hotel, in New York City. Soon after their marriage, Elizabeth quickly became involved with the final design phases of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, California. In 2003, she accepted the role of chairing the six-week opening celebration of the new concert hall and the Samueli Theater that opened in 2006.
In that role she organized a spectacular opening night at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, coordinating the Performing Arts Center’s arts partners’ participation in the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s opening events and its twentieth anniversary. In 2006, Elizabeth and Henry Segerstrom orchestrated a three-week Mariinsky Festival celebrating the opening of the new concert hall that featured the first Southern California presentation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. In 2007, they launched the new Elizabeth and Henry Segerstrom Select Series¸ an artistic collaboration with the Philharmonic Society of Orange County that continues to bring the highest quality of internationally acclaimed performances to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
The Guilds of the Center, a support group for the Orange County Performing Arts Center, honored Elizabeth Segerstrom in 2007 for the three years she served as chair of the opening events committee. Elizabeth Segerstrom also received the Golden Baton Award from the Philharmonic Society of Orange County at a ceremony on May 15, 2011, at the Center Club in Costa Mesa. The Golden Baton Award was created in 1982 to give special recognition to those whose dedication to the proliferation of the arts in Southern California has been extraordinary. The recipients of this award constitute a definitive “who’s who” of Southern California arts leaders.
Elizabeth Segerstrom has made an enormous impact on the cultural climate of Orange County since moving there in 2000. Her sophisticated and highly educated approach to the arts and well as her European worldliness continues to advance the visual and performing arts in the region. ■