Skip to Content

Department of Theatre and Dance

  • Sara Mearns performing with the "Ballet Stars" 2020 logo

Cancelled Event: 15th Annual Ballet Stars of New York

In accordance with the University's closure due to coronavirus mitigation efforts, the scheduled performance of Ballet Stars of New York on March 29 has been cancelled. Refunds are available by calling the Koger Center box office at 803-777-5112.


The University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance will once again welcome eight of the world’s top ballet talents for the 15th Annual Ballet Stars of New York Gala Performance March 29 at the Koger Center for the Arts.

Show time is at 6:30 p.m.  Tickets for the performance are $35 for front orchestra seating and $30 for rear orchestra seating, with $15 student tickets also available. Tickets can be reserved through the Koger Center online at or by phone at 803-777-5112.  The Koger Center is located at 1051 Greene St.

The star-studded event will feature eight dancers from the renowned New York City Ballet performing alongside the USC Dance Company, with live accompaniment provided by the USC Symphony.  Stacey Calvert, a former NYC Ballet soloist, will direct the concert.  NYC Ballet guest dancers include principal dancers Sara Mearns (a Columbia native),  Megan Fairchild, Joseph Gordon, Taylor Stanley and Andy Veyette, soloists Emilie Gerrity and Indiana Woodward, and corps dancer Preston Chamblee.  The symphony will be conducted by Dr. Nové Deypalan.

An internationally acclaimed dancer, Sara Mearns has been described by The New York Times as “very possibly the most talked of ballerina in America.”  Mearns is a recent recipient of the prestigious Dance Magazine Award and, closer to home, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts by the University of South Carolina in May, 2019.  She first gained major recognition with the NYC Ballet in 2006 performing the lead role of Odette/Odile in Peter Martins’ Swan Lake.  She was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2008 and has since earned high praise for her roles in, among many other ballets, The Nutcracker, Serenade, and Walpurgisnacht.

Scheduled repertory for the concert includes Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet and Raymonda Variations, two iconic ballets by George Balanchine, founding Artistic Director of the NYC Ballet.  A special highlight of the evening will be a solo performance by Sara Mearns of Ekstasis, a rarely seen 1933 work by Martha Graham that was recently reconstructed by Graham company principal dancer Virginie Mécène.  The romantic work Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet was the first abstract ballet Balanchine created for the NY State Theatre (now the David H. Koch Theatre), which became the home of the NYCB in 1964.  Raymonda Variations is Balanchine’s playful take on Marius Petipa’s 1898 Russian ballet Raymonda, set to music by Alexander Glazunov.

An elegant gala fundraiser will follow the performance on the Koger’s Grand Tier level.  A special ticket will admit guests to the gala, which will include delicious cuisine by Horseshoe Catering and music by Eight Track Parade, while also providing guests with complimentary valet parking  and preferred seating during the concert.  Gala tickets are $150 per person and are available by contacting Susan Anderson by phone at 803-777-0704 or by email at

Sponsorship opportunities for the evening are also available, with levels ranging from $500 to $10,000.  All proceeds benefit scholarships for students in the university’s fast-growing dance program, cited in Dance Magazine as “one of the top three university programs to consider for classical ballet training.”

Ballet Stars of New York is made possible in part by the generous assistance of Presenting Sponsor Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Jan Jernigan of Morgan Stanley, Grace Outdoor, the Robert S. Handler Foundation, Graduate Columbia and the University of South Carolina College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information on the 15th Annual Ballet Stars of New York Gala Performance or the dance program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at




Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.