Oklahoma City Ballet gala promises A Night in Neverland

For around 30 years, Ballet Ball has been one of the most anticipated spring social events for arts patrons. The black-tie gala is Oklahoma City Ballet’s largest fundraiser, and proceeds support its roster of performances, education and outreach.

This year’s event is 6:30 p.m. April 9 at Chevy Bricktown Events Center, 429 E. California Ave.

Since OKC Ballet debuts its production of Peter Pan just one week after the ball, this year’s event theme is A Night in Neverland and features an exclusive show performance for guests, said Robert Mills, OKC Ballet artistic director.

“It will be a fun and fanciful evening with food, drink and a sneak peek from our new production,” Mills said.

Upon their arrival, guests will be offered champagne before being whisked away for a full-course dinner in Neverland.

This year’s event chairs are Phil and Maggie Clayton, who also will be honored for their contributions to the dance company. Diana Hampton, who will be honored for her many years of service to Oklahoma City Ballet, is honorary chairwoman.

“Diana was especially transformative for the organization in those early years when we were trying to recover from the missteps of the past,” Mills said. “She was a tireless leader who helped us get to where we are.”

Mills is a driving force behind the ballet company’s artistic endeavors. He also offers a unique perspective. Not so long ago, he was onstage as a regular performer.

“The biggest difference today from when I was performing is the company is much more of an international product now,” he said. “The company used to be a very provincial entity that hired many local dancers, produced its sets and costumes locally and choreographed the majority of its productions in-house.”

Oklahoma is still in high ranks, Mills said. OKC Ballet employs dancers from 13 different countries and many different states. The company also brings in internationally recognized choreographers. Production sets and costumes are locally produced or rented and shipped to Oklahoma City.

“The company has more dancers today,” Mills said. “It does more performances, tours more and has three times the budget it had when I was performing.”

In addition to its lavish productions, OKC Ballet has a number of educational initiatives for younger performers. The company teaches dance classes in seven elementary schools around the metro. Additionally, its Project Plié program offers professional dance training through its afterschool programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County. The Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet has about 300 students enrolled in its classes.

Ballet Ball tickets are $250. Complimentary valet parking is available. Younger professionals who desire a less formal event option can attend Ballet Ball After Dark, which runs 9:30-11:30 p.m. at the event center.

After Dark tickets are $50, or free with Ballet Ball admission, and include an open bar, a silent auction and music from SquadLive.

Visit okcballet.com or call 405-843-9898 for more information.

2016 Ballet Ball: A Night in Neverland

6:30-11:30 p.m. April 9

Chevy Bricktown Events Center

429 E. California Ave.





Ballet Ball After Dark

9:30-11:30 p.m. April 9

Chevy Bricktown Events Center

429 E. California Ave.



$50 (free with paid admission to A Night in Neverland)


Print headline: Neverland adventure, This year’s Ballet Ball carries guests to Neverland and beyond.

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