Seeing stars

Stiefel and Stars
On August 23, Stiefel and Stars will perform at the Performing Arts Center. Photo by JJ Gonson

By E. Vernon Laux - August 16, 2007

Since the summer of 2004, Ethan Stiefel and a troupe of students and professional dancers have performed on the Island to benefit an Island cause. This year, on August 23, the one-night-only Stiefel and Stars concert will benefit the Martha's Vineyard Museum (MVM).

Ethan Stiefel is the artistic director of Stiefel & Students, a concentrated summer prep and performance program for pre-professional ballet students who range in age from 14 to 18. Committed to encourage and assist young talent worldwide, Mr. Stiefel and faculty choose the 15 students from auditions in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Mexico, and train them in ballet technique, pointe, variations, and musical theatre in the program's Edgartown studio.

During their stay on the Vineyard, the students rehearse daily with more than 10 company members to prepare for the final benefit performance.

For the "stars" part of the performance, American Ballet Theatre principal dancers Mr. Stiefel, Marcelo Gomes, and Gillian Murphy join Broadway dancer Elizabeth Parkinson to perform "Paquita" by Marius Petipa, "Konservatoriet" by August Bournonville, and a "Fosse Suite" by Bob Fosse. Also, there will be a world premier ballet, choreographed by Benjamin Millepied.

"The arts have always been important to Vineyarders, and this is a wonderful way to support both the arts and the Museum," says MVM development director Amy Houghton.

Stiefel and Stars, Thursday, August 23, 6 pm, at the Performing Arts Center of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. Tickets: $30; $60; $75. For more information and tickets, call 508-627-4441 ext 123.