Richard and Liane Weintraub, left, and James Keach and Jane Seymour get in step at the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago gala at the Music Center. Photo Howard Pasamanick


By Kim Devore/Entertainment Writer

Lovely Liane Weintraub and actress Jane Seymour were just two of the dance lovers enjoying a splashy opening night gala for the Joffrey Ballet’s six-show run at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

The last time Joffrey dancers graced the Music Center stage was in 1996, and their return was reason to celebrate for Liane, who serves as the Founding Chair of the Center Dance Association.

“We’re very excited to welcome the Joffrey back after all these years,” she explains. “It signifies a wonderful season ahead for the Music Center and dance.”

The Chicago company kicked off the program with a string of dazzling dance numbers originally produced by the Russian ballet impresario Serge Diaghilev, including “Parade,” “Afternoon of a Faun” and “Le Sacre du Printemps.” One look at the crowd at the performance and gala and it was clear that Joffrey fans cover a wide social spectrum. Attendees at this bash included everyone, from rocket man Buzz Aldrin to former car king Lee Iacocca, and even Joe Millionaire’s Evan Marriott.

Following the whirls and twirls, 450 gala guests sauntered into the flower-filled Grand Hall, which was done up like an Imperial Summer Palace. There they sipped champagne, savored caviar with crème fraiche and feasted on chicken in puff pastry. Executive Chair Patricia Kennedy hopes the city’s interest in dance will intensify. “We don’t have a resident company,” she notes,” so we want to build a future for dance in L.A.”

The Joffrey served as the center’s resident company from 1983 to 1991. Will they step up for an encore? Stay tuned.


In the meantime, there will be no shortage of selections for dance lovers at the Music Center’s upcoming season. The season kicks off on Oct. 7 with seven performances by the San Francisco Ballet, which will offer a diverse selection of numbers including a full-length performance of “Don Quixote.”

The San Francisco company will be followed by the Dance Theater of Harlem, the Shen Wei Dance Arts Company and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

The season wraps up with the return of the American Ballet Theater performing the classic, “Romeo and Juliet,” as well as a new production called “Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison.”

Whether it’s classic or contemporary that gets your fingers snapping and toes tapping, this eclectic season has a little something for everyone.


Jennifer Aniston, Calista Flockhart and Ray Romano are among the super-celebs who’ll turn into supermodels at this year’s “Runway for Life” fashion show to benefit St. Jude’s Research Hospital. There should be lots of razzle dazzle at this all-star shindig, with a theme based around the Academy Award-winning flick “Chicago.” So break out your best cellblock duds and get ready to tango. Things start heating up at the Beverly Hilton on Aug. 19.