L.A. Dance Project (LADP) celebrated their 2023 gala on Saturday, November 11 at Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles, which was the highest-grossing fundraiser in the company’s history. Presented by Van Cleef & Arpels, the celebration honored internationally acclaimed American ballet dancer and Los Angeles native Misty Copeland.
Following a cocktail reception in the historic cathedral, Lucinda Lent, Executive Director of L.A. Dance Project, and Mark Terbeek, Chairman of the Board of L.A. Dance Project announced a major expansion of the LADP studio in Downtown Los Angeles, providing greater audience capacity and additional rehearsal space to enhance access, efficiency, and sustainability. Most crucially, this endeavor will double LADP’s seating capacity from 100 to 200 seats, and add a dance library and research room that will be open and accessible to the public. Together, these new spaces will accommodate larger audiences for all on-site events and bring further resources to LADP’s support of world-class dance in Los Angeles through residencies, educational outreach, and other collaborative programs.
“Since its founding in 2012, L.A. Dance Project has been a dance company dedicated to fostering talent and presenting exceptional works of art in LA and around the world,” said Lucinda Lent, Executive Director of L.A. Dance Project. “We believe our expansion will cement LADP as a hub for dance, and a resource for dancers and Angelenos alike for years to come.”
Debbie Allen took the stage to introduce Copeland, and announce Dance Pass, a new initiative offering members of the Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles the opportunity to regularly attend LADP performances at their DTLA studio space at no cost. Dance Pass will continue to demonstrate LADP’s dedication to the next generation of dancers in Los Angeles, aligning with Copeland’s long-standing efforts to build a more inclusive artistic community through access to dance.
“Our missions are so aligned,” said Misty Copeland. “Twenty-five years ago, L.A. did not have a company of this caliber and few professional opportunities for dancers. I just want to say bravo for creating this incredible company that is connecting with the community and showing a wide range of dance and diversity. This is what we should be doing. Benjamin, thank you for your passion and continuing to push this art form forward. I can’t wait to see what 10 more years look like for the company.”
The expansion–expected to be completed in August 2024–is made possible by the Perenchio Foundation’s Capital Improvements Grant, which supports arts organizations with short-term funding for facilities improvements, equipment, and technology needs.
The evening’s celebration featured several performances culminating in LADP’s Artistic Director Benjamin Millepied’s return to the stage as a dancer, premiering a new duet to Jeff Buckley’s song Lover, You Should've Come Over. Guests also enjoyed two excerpts from Millepied’s dance Be Here Now performed by LADP company members, an excerpt from Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber’s The Missing Mountain, and a performance from the students of the Everybody Dance LA! Summer Dance Intensive followed by a short film documenting their experiences.
The 2023 Gala featured notable guests from the worlds of art, dance, fashion and the film industry. In attendance were entertainment figures Lawrence Bender, Jane Fonda, Kevin Kwan, Berite Labelle, Orly Marley, Vas J Morgan, Marc Murphy, Alicia Silverstone and Chloe Sims; fashion industry figures Jasmine Daniels, Nick Fouquet, Angela Lindvall and Jennifer Smith; prominent visual artists and architects including Doug Aitken, Georgina Huljich, Lucy McRae and Marcelo Spina; arts and culture institutional leaders Snehal Desai, Timothy Potts, Robert van Leer, Erwin Washington and Tamica Washington-Miller; and world-renowned dance talent including Debbie Allen, Misty Copeland, Sara Mearns, and Benjamin Millepied.
The 2023 Gala was presented by Van Cleef & Arpels, with support from Lanvin, CAA, C Magazine and Zadig & Voltaire.