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February 2024
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Ballet Arizona’s Annual Gala Raised $450,000
By Claire Natale - Friday Apr 15, 2022
Baila Conmigo by Ballet Arizona returned live and in person on Friday, April 8, 2022, at the Heard Museum. This much anticipated event was chaired by Janet Melamed and was themed around Ballet Arizona’s upcoming world premiere performance, Juan Gabriel, produced by Jacquie and Bennett Dorrance. The committee, led by Melamed, raised more than $450,000 for support of Ballet Arizona’s season of performances as well as its education and community engagement programs.

Honorees for the evening included Gwen Hillis, board chair emerita, Artistic Director, Ib Andersen, and longtime supporters Jacquie and Bennett Dorrance. The contributions of these individuals have been and continue to be invaluable to Ballet Arizona.

“This year's DANCE WITH ME gala was an amazing evening for our guests and dancers. I was thrilled to be chairing the gala at the Heard Museum and honoring Gwen, Ib, Jacquie and Bennett. We enjoyed celebrating the huge impact they have had on Ballet Arizona’s successes.” – Janet Melamed, Gala Chair & Ballet Arizona board member.

Guests that evening enjoyed a sneak peek of the upcoming production of Juan Gabriel, an Ib Andersen choreographed ballet centered on the music of Juan Gabriel, one of Mexico’s most celebrated and adored artists. The world premiere will open on Thursday, May 5, 2022, at Symphony Hall.

“The extraordinary artistry of Juan Gabriel transcends borders and generations,” said CNN Entertainment, Roxanne Gracia. “This musical icon composed 1,800 songs and created more than 45 albums during his 45-year career and established a legacy that ‘spanned across genres, becoming a major part of the soundtrack of the lives of many devoted fans.’”

That night, Ballet Arizona awarded the “Hazel Hare Award for Artistic Excellence,” to dancers, Katelyn May and Serafin Castro. In its fourth year, this award honors Hazel Hare for her transformational $4 million endowment gift. Following dinner, guests took the dance floor with the professional dancers that was filled with Latin inspired songs and beats. This is a tradition from which Dance With Me receives its name.

For more information about Ballet Arizona and to learn more about their upcoming performances, please visit

Ballet Arizona is dedicated to preserving and celebrating classical dance while creating new and innovative works. Under the artistic direction of internationally acclaimed choreographer Ib Andersen - a former Principal Dancer with The New York City Ballet and The Royal Danish Ballet - Ballet Arizona follows his lead to the future of dance in Arizona. The School of Ballet Arizona promotes access to the art form of ballet through dance education, with a focus on excellence in the form, directing each student to a life-long love of dance. Following this vision, Ballet Arizona connects to more than 35,000 children and families every year through its free and low-cost outreach programs. For more information, visit