Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010 | 11:17 a.m.
Tonight it will be one of the year's more gala galas, Nevada Ballet Theatre's Black & White Ball. It is an important time for NBT, which was trimmed of a dozen dancers and several members of its operating staff after last season's closing "American Masters" performance in March, and has been under the direction of uni-focused contemporary dance visionary James Canfield since last January.
The ballet selected an apt Woman of the Year for this year's event, set for Paris Las Vegas: Marie Osmond. Osmond has been active in charitable work for decades and co-founded the Children's Miracle Network in 1982. The organization is a global network of more than 170 hospitals that treat more than 17 million kids each year for an array of health needs. Children's Miracle Network has raised more than $3.6 billion since it was founded. All this, from the NBT news release announcing Osmond as this year's honoree.
Osmond also seems to appreciate Las Vegas. She lives here, she stars in one of the Strip's more successful shows with her brother, Merrill ... er, Donny ... at the Flamingo. Featured on the upcoming album, "Donny & Marie," is the song, "Vegas Love," which Marie said in an interview back in August would challenge "Viva Las Vegas" as one of the city's unofficial theme songs. "Look out, Elvis and 'Viva Las Vegas,'" was how she assessed how the up-tempo tune would be received when the album drops in mid-February ("drop" being an industry term for "available for purchase"). You can purchase an import copy, today, from Amazon.com.
Under Canfield, the NBT produced its first production in a Strip hotel, the holiday season staple "Nutcracker" at Paris Las Vegas. As part of its fundraising efforts, NBT announced the launch of "Spread The Dance," a campaign featuring local celebrity types such as former Woman of the Year Rita Rudner (formally trained in ballet) and frequent man of the moment, Ubiquitous Robin Leach (not formally trained in ballet).
The campaign has rolled out PSAs in which the volunteer spokespeople show off their best dance moves and beseech, "Donate to Nevada Ballet Theatre. Please." The site for more information is spreadthedance.org.
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