Neglia to premier new ballet pieces at gala

May 11, 2017

Neglia Ballet Artists is preparing for their annual Dancing to Live Gala to be held Thursday, May 18th. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the event will premier two new ballet dances featuring world-renowned artists.   

Neglia Ballet Artists is preparing for their annual Dancing to Live Gala.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

During a recent rehearsal for next week's gala, guest choreographer Viktor Plotnikov worked with artist director Sergio Neglia, explaining the plot he created for this dance piece. 

Plotnikov said it is based on parts of Neglia's own life.

“Well the piece is loosely based basically on Sergio’s, I would say, life or chunks of life,” Plotnikov explained.   

This contemporary dance piece will feature a marionette puppet. It’s navigated by its creator Michele Costa, a Buffalo puppetry artist. Neglia moves precisely, alongside with the puppet.  

Guest choreographer Viktor Plotnikov instructs during rehearsal.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“It’s exciting to see – I love it – like every second to see how the puppet together with him and it looks like a real person,” Plotnikov noted. “This is most important, so we can convey emotions, so we spent like three hours on trying to see what the puppet can do with him, how is it going to look like when it sits on the shoulder – what it is going to do when he take the puppet in his hands and rock it – can the puppet support his weight to rock, so you know things like that – the entire three hours we didn’t dance at all.”

A second ballet piece to be featured will be performed by internationally acclaimed two principal dancers from the Boston Ballet . 

“We have a few more guest artist this time. We’re bringing Erica Cornejo and Carlos Molina,” said Heidi Hal, executive director at Neglia.

Sergio Neglia & Michele Costa, a Buffalo puppetry artist, practice for gala.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Proceeds from the gala will benefit the TargetCancer Foundation founded by Buffalo native and Nichols graduate Paul Poth who died from a rare cancer.

“One of the last things he said to me is, you know, I asked him if there’s anything I could do for him and he said ‘just live and do your thing – I like then idea of what’s you’ve been doing with the dance and just keep living,’ so that’s where we actually got the title – Dancing to live,” Halt remarked.

Funds also raised from the gala will assist Neglia's CityDance Education Outreach Program, which allows Buffalo Public School children to learn about dance. Dancing to Live will be performed at Nichols Flickinger Center in Buffalo next Thursday evening.