Media City Ballet Presents ‘An Evening Of Khachaturian’


Broadway World
July 16 2008

Media City Ballet, Natasha Middleton, Artistic Director, will present
"An Evening of Khachaturian: The Composer and His Ballets," featuring
Principal Dancers, Arsen Serobian, Gabrielle Palmatier, Amara Baptist,
Edgar Nikolyan, Felicia Guzman, Ellen Rosa and Stephen Nelson, along
with Soloists and Corps Dancers from Media City Ballet. Jenkyns Pelaez
will appear as a Guest Artist. Actress Elmarie Wendel will produce
the show. The performance will be presented at the Alex Theatre;
216 North Brand Boulevard; Glendale, CA 91203 on Saturday, August 16,
2008 at 7:30 p.m.

Natasha Middleton, along with Ruben Tonoyan, Associate Director and
Ballet Master for Media City Ballet, will co-direct the performance
which will feature selections from Gayaneh, Spartacus and Masquerade,
in celebration of the late much loved iconic Armenian composer,
Aram Khachaturian. This production is dedicated to philanthropist
Mrs. May Hannon.

Composer Aram Khachaturian is author of the worldwide known ballets
Gayane and Spartacus and of the symphonic suite, Masquerade. The
creation of these pieces not only raised Armenian national ballet to
the world level, but also noticeably enriched the treasure house of
the world musical-dramatic art. Khachaturian’s music is noted for its
modal, harmonic, melodic and orchestral generosity, all of which are
connected with a broad gamma of thoughts and feelings in his scores.

Gayane means happiness and is a celebration of life events in which
composer Aram Khachaturian wanted the folk songs and dancing melodies
to be integrated and inseparable from the whole of the ballet. Gayane
is the story of a young Armenian woman whose patriotic convictions
are in conflict with her personal feelings upon discovering her
husband has committed treason. The Gayane score includes the famous
Saber Dance. The late filmmaker Stanley Kubrick used the Adagio from
Gayane for his film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Likewise, filmmaker Joel
Coen used music from Gayane in his film, The Hudsucker Proxy.

The well-known tale of Spartacus is written in modern language,
with application of contemporary methods of the musical-theatre
form. The main characters in the ballet are represented with specific
and repeated musical themes. The storyline concerns the ultimately
unsuccessful revolt of the slaves led by Spartacus, a Thracian slave
and gladiator, against the Roman Empire in the years 73 – 71 BC. Music
from Khachaturian’s Spartacus was most recently heard in the film,
Ice Age: The Meltdown.

Masquerade was written for the 25th anniversary of the Russian
Revolution. It is a symphonic suite in the tradition of lavish
classical Russian music. Natasha Middleton will stage the piece to
enhance the fantasy and put a modern face on this elaborate party,
featuring eccentric costuming. The plot concerns a missing bracelet
and a woman named Nina who is falsely accused of giving the bracelet
to Prince Zvezditch, As a result, Nina’s husband, who thinks she
is cheating on him, poisons her at the end of the ballet, only to
realize she was innocent. The bracelet had actually been stolen
by the Baroness and given to the Prince, who later gave it back to
Nina. Natasha Middleton said: "Theatergoers who enjoy Phantom of the
Opera, will enjoy Masquerade, as there are similarities in style."

This production is sponsored in part by the generous support of The
Frank & Rigmor Peloso Trust Fund, The James A. Doolittle Foundation,
Macy*s, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Los Angeles County
Supervisor Michael Antonovich, The Alex Theatre, Glendale News-Press,
Burbank Leader, Mrs. May Hannon, The William H. Hannon Foundation

Tickets are $20.00, $38.00 and $48.00 each and may be purchased
online at or , or by calling
at 818-249-1428 or the Alex Box Office at 818-243-ALEX
(2539). Discounts are available for Groups of 15 or more, Seniors,
Students and Children under 12. For information on Discounted
Family Packs and Group Sales, please call the Alex Theatre at
818-243-7700, ext. 216. For further information about Media City
Ballet, please visit the websites, and

Principal roles will be danced by Arsen Serobian (of North Hollywood
who will dance the title role in Spartacus); Gabrielle Palmatier
(of Hermosa Beach who will dance the role of Aegina in Spartacus);
Amara Baptist (of Sunland who will dance the title role in Gayane);
Edgar Nikolyan (of Granada Hills who will dance the role of Armen in
Gayane); Felicia Guzman (of Reseda who will dance the role of Nune in
Gayane); Ellen Rosa (of Los Angeles who will dance the role of Nina
in Masquerade) and Stephen Nelson (of Hollywood who will dance the
role of Prince Zvezditch in Masquerade). Guest Artist, Jenkyns Pelaez,
(of Oakland, CA) will appear as Crassus in Spartacus.

Other members of the cast of the show will include: Rozanna Avetisyan
(of Glendale); Mary Bankson (of Toluca Lake); Lauren Farrell
(of North Hollywood); Alexander Fost (of Alhambra); Robson Tadeu
dos Santos Freire (of Venice); Kristine Gregorian (of Hollywood);
Philippe Leipzig (of Studio City); Moses Navarro (of Burbank); Kevin
Nazarian (of Glendale); Jessica Strobel (of Granada Hills); Andee Tims
(of Studio City); and Tina Yedgarian (of La Crescenta).

Natasha Middleton (Artistic Director/Choreographer, Media City Ballet)
danced as a Prima Ballerina with the Pacific Ballet Theatre and was
a member of the Joffrey II Ballet Company in New York City, before
taking on the responsibilities of Artistic Director of Burbank-based
Media City Ballet. Her grandmother, Elena Wortova, was a Soloist in
the original Ballet Russe, which included other legendary dancers
like George Balanchine, and Vaslav Nijinsky. Middleton’s father,
Andrei Tremaine, was a Principal Dancer with the Ballet Russe de Monte
Carlo. Natasha Middleton studied under the direction of her father
and one of the Bolshoi Ballet’s original ballerinas, Alexandra Baldina
Kozlov, as well as with David Howard, Patricia Standard in Los Angeles,
Rosella Hightower in France, and Stella Mann in London. Middleton is
also the Owner/Director of the Media Dance Centre, located in the
Media Village in Burbank. She recently choreographed the upcoming
motion picture, HangingOutHookingUpFallingInLove, written and directed
by Barra Grant, which features numerous members of Media City Ballet
Company. Middleton is a resident of Burbank, CA.

Ruben Tonoyan (Associate Director and Ballet Master for Media City
Ballet and Choreographer) was a Soloist with the Armenian National
Opera Ballet for 23 years. He began his training at the age of eight
with the Armenian National Academy of Ballet. He continued his training
at the Kirov Ballet School and the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg,
Russia. After graduation, he returned to his native Armenia where he
danced numerous ballets, including the leading role in Khachaturian’s
Gayane. He has since toured around the world performing in such
ballets as Giselle, Carmen, Swan Lake, Othello and The Nutcracker. He
has also performed with the National TV Contemporary Ballet for about
10 years. Tonoyan is a resident of Glendale, CA.

Aram Khachaturian (Composer) was a Soviet-Armenian composer whose
works were often influenced by Armenian folk music. He was born on
June 6, 1903 in Tbilisi, Georgia, Imperial Russia to a poor Armenian
family. Although Khachaturian had almost no musical education, he
showed such great talent that he was admitted to the Gnessin Institute
where he studied cello, and in 1925, he entered composition class
there. By 1929, he transferred to the Moscow Conservatory where he
studied under Nikolai Myaskovsky. In the 1930s he married the composer
Nina Makarova. By 1951, he became a professor at the Gnessin State
Musical and Pedagogical Institute and the Moscow Conservatory. Aram
Khachaturian, along with composers Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri
Shostakovich, became known as the so-called "titans" of Soviet music,
each enjoying worldwide reputations as some of the leading composers of
the 20th century. Aside from his ballets, Khachaturian was a prolific
composer of a wide variety of music, including orchestral works, vocal
scores, concertos and chamber music, to name a few. He died on May 1,
1978 in Moscow.