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Los Angeles Youth Ballet Presents Peter & The Wolf and World Premiere of Mixed Motions

September 11, 2019 | By Libby Huebner
Los Angeles Youth Ballet

The acclaimed Los Angeles Youth Ballet, directed by Andrea Paris-Gutierrez, presents a delightful family-friendly double-bill featuring Peter & the Wolf, Prokofiev’s beloved symphonic fairy tale of courage and ingenuity, choreographed by Conny Mathot, and the world premiere of Mixed Motions, a contemporary dance exploration by choreographer Cedric Dodd, for four performances only, on Friday, September 27, 8 pm; Saturday, September 28, 2 pm and 7 pm; and Sunday, September 29, 2019, 2 pm, at El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. Special Guest Damir Emric of the Royal Danish Ballet is featured as the Wolf, and Malcom McLaurin Takumi, a rising 12-year-old dancer and winner of numerous awards, dances the role of Peter. Paris-Gutierrez, a highly regarded mentor of young dancers, has been lauded for her “enchanting” productions (Broadway World).


Peter & the Wolf, composed in 1936 to introduce children to the different instruments in the orchestra, has captivated audiences since its premiere. The ballet, with its colorful cast of characters, furthers the musical narrative through expressive movement that enhances the storytelling. In addition to Emric and Takumi, the cast includes Jana Teruel, Katie Chen and Brynn Iby alternating as the Bird. The Cat is danced by Annya Redfern, Amanda Harris and Emma Grigorian. Carly Fujioka, Ellie Wein and Allyson Cabanday perform the role of the Duck. Brooke Sinton, Georgia Folsom and Sabrina Gancman alternate as the Grandfather. Nadia Gruhlke and Tiella Loeser double as the Lead Hunter. Frogs and hunters as well as the green meadows and water ballets are performed by the accomplished dancers of the LA Youth Ballet.. Mathot, an award-winning choreographer, has been hailed for work that is “well executed” (LA Opus), “expressive and hypermusical” (DanceTeacher).


Dodd’s world premiere, Mixed Motions, is comprised of three pieces: 50 Years, a tribute to the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising set to “For All We Know” by Donny Hathaway; Boyz, choreographed to M.I.A.’s “Boyz”; and What Moves in the Night, set to “Enjoy (Remix LP)” by Björk.


LA Youth Ballet, “the premier ensemble of the Los Angeles Ballet Academy,” (KTLA) is an advanced pre-professional student ensemble for accomplished classical dancers ages 13-19.  Many of its alumni have garnered numerous awards and have gone on to professional careers with some of the world’s leading ballet companies and musical theatre productions around the country. LA Youth Ballet productions have been applauded as “amazing” (Southern California Family Adventures), “spectacular” (Fun with Kids in LA) and “something to put on the calendar” (Los Angeles Daily News).


Tickets, $28, are available through El Portal Theatre at or 818.508.4200. El Portal Theatre is located at 5269 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood CA 91601. 


Cedric Dodd (choreographer/Mixed Motions) is in his seventh year on the faculty Los Angeles Ballet Academy and his third as an Associate Director of Theatrics Dance Company. He is also a faculty member at Santa Clarita Ballet and a substitute teacher/choreographer for CHAMPS Charter High School. Dodd has taught/choreographed at AMDA LA, UCLA, Pepperdine University and Millennium Dance Complex, among others. His credits include a range of commercials and television shows, such as Apple, Lythgoe Family Panto’s, Body Armor, American Horror Story, Marry Me and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This season, he will serve as an associate choreographer for the National Tour of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer the Musical. Dodd, who attended Glendale (AZ) Community College, where he was a member of the school’s pre-professional dance company, received a BFA in Dance Theatre from AMDA-LA. 


Damir Emric (The Wolf) has danced professionally with the San Francisco Ballet, Ballet San Jose, the Royal New Zealand Ballet and, most recently, with the Royal Danish Ballet in Denmark. He has danced most of the well-known classical ballets as the Royal Danish Ballet possesses a greater number of ballets from the romantic period than any other ballet company in the world. Emric has also danced works by choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, Akram Khan, McGregor, Jorma Elo, Liam Scarlett, Christopher Wheeldon, Balanchine and Bournonville. Born in Bosnia/Herzegovina, he moved to Berlin, Germany as a child and began dancing at the State Ballet School of Berlin at age 8. He subsequently moved to the United States to study at the San Jose Cleveland Ballet School and Kirov Ballet Academy prior to launching his professional dance career.


Conny Mathot (choreographer/Peter & the Wolf) is recognized throughout the dance industry for her success as a choreographer, instructor, dancer and adjudicator. The Australian native’s dance career has taken her to the U.S., Asia and Europe. She has created a choreographic portfolio that spans the globe, and has received the highest accolades for her work in professional productions, academic settings and dance competitions. Mathot has been invited multiple times to stage dance works at the McCallum Theatre Choreography Festival, has twice garnered First Place at the “Dancing Under the Stars” choreography competition and has been named Outstanding Choreographer five times at the Youth America Grand Prix, among other awards.


Andrea Paris-Gutierrez (director) is president and artistic director of Los Angeles Ballet Academy, now in its 28th year, and artistic director of the school’s acclaimed youth company, Los Angeles Youth Ballet.  She began dancing at age five at her mother’s ballet school in Auckland, New Zealand under the British Ballet Method.  She received a full scholarship to the National Ballet School, where she studied prior to joining the Royal New Zealand Ballet.  Paris-Gutierrez, who has toured internationally, moved to Los Angeles in 1979, performing in productions of Sugar Babies, Song of Norway, Anything Goes, My Fair Lady and Pajama Game, among others.  She has also choreographed and performed with Opera Pacific and LA Opera.  Her choreography has been seen on such television shows as General Hospital and The Academy Awards, as well as in such films as Beaches and Pennies From Heaven.  A Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) certified teacher whose students achieved 100% pass rate RAD examinations in 2017, 2018 and 2019, Paris-Gutierrez also holds Bolshoi Ballet Level A certification. She was named “Outstanding Choreographer” and “Outstanding Teacher" by Youth America Grand Prix and voted “Teacher of the Year” by Dance Teacher Magazine.


Malcolm McLaurin Takumi, 12, (Peter) was awarded the Grand Prize (Level 1 & 2) at 2019 RAD Dance Challenge in Long Beach. He also placed 1st in contemporary in 2018 and second in Classical and Contemporary division at the 2019 Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) regional semi-finals and was subsequently invited to compete at the YAGP international finals in New York. He received a Gold for his Neo Classical Solo at the 2019 California Dance Classics competition in Los Angeles. Takumi has trained at Los Angeles Ballet Academy under the tutelage of Andrea Paris-Gutierrez since age five and is now part of the LA Ballet Conservatory for professional track students.  


Los Angeles Youth Ballet, the premier ensemble of the Los Angeles Ballet Academy, is an advanced pre-professional student ensemble for accomplished classical dancers ages 13-19. In addition to developing young talent, the non-profit Encino, CA-based organization presents local community and in-school performances. Each year, its students also perform in full-length ballets and other dance presentations produced by LA Youth Ballet with prominent professional dancers from Los Angeles and beyond, providing the young dancers invaluable training and performance experience. LA Youth Ballet, which works with resident and guest choreographers, presents a number of other special dance events, student choreography workshops and master classes. Its members participate in the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest international ballet competition. LA Youth Ballet provides financial assistance for young talented members in need, and many of its alumni have garnered numerous awards and have gone on to professional careers, dancing with some of the world’s leading ballet companies and in musical productions around the country.




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