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WESTSIDE BALLET, a nonprofit organization, is one of the nation’s premier ballet training companies. This pre-professional company was created by Yvonne Mounsey and Rosemary Valaire in 1970 to provide the promising young dancers of the Westside School of Ballet the performance opportunities that are so vital to their growth. The Santa Monica-based company now comprises approximately 120 dancers, ages 9 to 18. Westside School of Ballet is the official school of the Westside Ballet Company and has an attendance of over 250 students.

Westside Ballet’s holiday season production of The Nutcracker is a Southern California tradition spanning four decades. Since 1999, these December performances have found a home in the Wadsworth Theatre in West Los Angeles.

Many dancers have gone on to professional careers, including Monique Meunier and Anna Liceica (ABT), Martine Harley (Houston Ballet), Melissa Barak and Andrew Veyette (New York City Ballet), Stayce Camparo (Kansas City Ballet), and Francis Veyette (Pennsylvania Ballet).

Yvonne Mounsey, Westside Ballet’s Artistic Director, joined New York City Ballet as a principal dancer for George Balanchine after performing with Massine’s Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and de Basil’s original Ballet Russe. During Mounsey’s distinguished career with New York City Ballet, she created the role of Center Spanish in Balanchine’s original production of The Nutcracker. Among the other roles she has created are The Harp in Fanfare, The Queen in The Cage, and The Other Woman in Lilac Garden. In 1960, Mounsey co-founded the Johannesburg City Ballet, now Pact Ballet, one of the world’s major dance companies.

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