Sarah Lane, who was Natalie Portman’s double in the acclaimed film, “Black Swan,” headlines Yellowstone Ballet Company’s gala, 7 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at the Emerson’s Crawford Theater in Bozeman. The evening concludes with a lightly-catered “Meet & Greet” featuring photo opportunities and an interactive artists’ panel with members of the national and international cast. A second show is slated for 4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 26, at the Shane Lalani Center for the Arts’ outdoor theater in Livingston.
Lane, a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, stepped into the national limelight when she danced Portman’s role in the 2010 psychological thriller, “Black Swan.” The film about a tormented ballerina earned Portman an Oscar (although Lane purportedly performed the majority of the dancing).
Lane joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in 2003, became a member of the company’s corps de ballet in 2004 and was named soloist in 2007. She was promoted to principal dancer in 2017, and has since performed myriad roles in productions including Coppélia, Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, Giselle, Onegin, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Les Sylphides, among others.
During the Yellowstone Ballet’s gala, Lane will be dancing the White Swan Pas de Deux with Hernan Montenegro of Santiago, Chile. This accomplished young dancer won a silver medal at the Lima International Ballet Competition at age 16. In 2016, he began dancing with Ballet de Santiago and performed soloist and principal roles in ballets such as Firebird, The Magic Flute, The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Onegin, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, and Cinderella. He has performed at multiple festivals and been on tour through South America, and recently was dance partner for American Ballet Theatre principal Gillian Murphy.
More acclaimed guest artists dance pas de deux
An impressive roster of acclaimed guest artists also appear on stage in classical pas de deus. Fiona Lee, of the world-renowned Royal Danish Ballet returns to Montana from Copenhagen to perform The Flames of Paris at the gala. Lee began her ballet training at age 5 at the Yellowstone Ballet Academy in Livingston under Kathleen Rakela, the company’s founder and artistic director. At age 13, Lee received a full scholarship to The School of American Ballet’s summer program in New York City, and then an invitation to attend their highly selective year-round program through high school.
Lee has not performed in Montana since 2015, when she took the lead role in Yellowstone Ballet’s original production of The Little Mermaid. She describes the opportunity to perform The Flames of Paris as a “dream,” having learned the variation during the pandemic via Zoom, while practicing alone several hours a day. She will be dancing with Arcadian Broad of Sarasota Ballet.
Broad has performed on Broadway as Billy Elliot, and appeared on national television in shows such as America’s Got Talent (making the top 10), The Ellen Show and So You Think You Can Dance. He was principal dancer with Orlando Ballet for eight years, performing lead roles in Romeo & Juliet, Don Quixote, Swan Lake and Dracula, and in masterpieces by Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, Jessica Lang, and George Balanchine.
Molly Huempfner Groeschl, a Montana native who began her dance studies in Bozeman, performs a duet with Ecuadorian native Francisco Estevez. Groeschl has performed professionally with Tucson Ballet, Ballet West, Milwaukee Ballet, Colorado Ballet’s Studio Company and Madison Ballet, while Estevez has danced with Boston Ballet, Barcelona Ballet and most recently with the Colorado Ballet as a principal dancer.
Scenes from Kathleen Rakela’s original Song of Hiawatha
In addition to classical pas de deux, Yellowstone Ballet Company will reprise scenes from Rakela’s original three-act ballet, The Song of Hiawatha, which debuted in 2005 with dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Moscow Ballet, and Houston Ballet. It includes narration from Henry Wordsworth Longfellow’s epic poem delivered by Broadway actor, singer, and orator Robert Worobec.
Cameron Fraser-Monroe, a member of the Tla’amin First Nation in Powell River, B.C will perform the role of the “Great Peacemaker,” Hiawatha. Fraser-Monroe first studied Ukranian dance as a child, trained and danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and currently dances with the Atlantic Ballet of Canada.
YBC’s gala is a fundraiser for future company performances.
For performance and interactive Meet & Greet tickets, head to www.yellowstoneballet.info. To purchase tickets to the Livingston performance at the Shane Center in Livingston, email: [email protected] or [email protected]