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When Moons Become Stars Program

Tonight, Grand Performances in partnership with Los Angeles Dance Foundation (LADF) brings When Moons become Stars, a panel discussion moderated by Bonnie Oda Homsey (Founding Director of the LADF ) that focuses on Maria and Marjorie Tallchief (Osage Nation) Rosella Hightower (Choctaw Nation), Yvonne Chouteau (Shawnee Tribe), and Moscelyne Larkin (Peoria/Eastern Shawnee) also known as The Five Moons.

The Five Moons, captivated the world when they danced their way to becoming international ballerinas. These amazing artists danced with some of the leading ballet companies of the day including the Ballet Russe, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Marseilles Opera Ballet, Ballet de Nancy, Ballet de l'Opéra National de Paris, the New York City Ballet and continued their work across the United States.

Featured on the panel is Virginia Johnson (Artistic Director of Dance Theater of Harlem,) Eduardo Vilaro (Artistic director of Ballet Hispánico), Jenifer Ringer (Dean of Colburn Dance), & Renae Williams Niles (COO USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance).

The evening will also feature a presentation of rarely seen photographs of the five ballerinas.

Images made possible courtesy of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Getty, and the Library of Congress.

Bonnie Oda Homsey is the founding Director of the Los Angeles Dance Foundation. She is also Adjunct Assistant Professor of Dance at USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance & Chair of Dance for The Princess Grace Foundation USA. She has brought together some of our nation’s leading dance-makers, educators and administrators for a thought-provoking conversation centered on the historic role of five indigenous dancers from Oklahoma, their impact on international and American ballet throughout history and today.

Virginia Johnson is the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s (DTH) Artistic Director . She was also a founding member and principal dancer with the DHT for more than twenty years. She graduated from the Academy of the Washington School of Ballet and briefly attended the School of the Arts at New York University as a University Scholar before joining DTH in 1969. During her years with the company, she performed most of the repertoire, with principal roles in Concerto Barocco, Allegro Brillante, Agon, A Streetcar Named Desire, Fall River Legend, Swan Lake, Giselle, Voluntaries, and Les Biches, among others.

Renae Williams Niles is the Chief Operating Officer for the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at USC and has worked in the arts for 25 years. She is currently on the national board for the Association of Performing Arts Professionals and serves on the advisory boards of the Dizzy Feet Foundation, BODYTRAFFIC and New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project. Renae has served as a grants panelist for the Entertainment Industry Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and United States Artists. She recently co-created and co-taught a Performing Arts Management course for Claremont Graduate University and is the recipient of the 2017 Service to WAA and the field award.

Jenifer Ringer is a native of Summerville, South Carolina and enjoys one of the most successful and celebrated dance careers of her generation. Promoted to principal dancer of the New York City Ballet in 2000 and dancing featured roles from almost the beginning of her 24-year career; she originated roles in new works by numerous choreographers including Jerome Robbins, Alexi Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, and Peter Martins. Jenifer has performed in the world’s choreographic masterpieces including the major works of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. She has also inhabited the prima ballerina roles of legendary works including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Coppélia.

Eduardo Vilaro joined Ballet Hispánico as Artistic Director in August 2009, becoming only the second person to head the company since it was founded in 1970. In 2015, Mr. Vilaro took on the additional role of Chief Executive Officer of Ballet Hispánico. He has been part of the Ballet Hispánico family since 1985 as a dancer and educator, after which he began a ten-year record of achievement as founder and Artistic Director of Luna Negra Dance Theater in Chicago. Mr. Vilaro has infused Ballet Hispánico’s legacy with a bold and eclectic brand of contemporary dance that reflects America’s changing cultural landscape. Born in Cuba and raised in New York from the age of six, he is a frequent speaker on the merits of cultural diversity and dance education.