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Sofia Carson and Bruno Tonioli on hand as Los Angeles Ballet Gala raises nearly $1 million

Sofia Carson and Bruno Tonioli on hand as Los Angeles Ballet Gala raises nearly $1 million
Sofia Carson and Bruno Tonioli are among the guests at the 2017 Los Angeles Ballet Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills on April 21. (Ryan Miller / Capture Imaging)

If there's one thing guests at the April 21 Los Angeles Ballet Gala could agree on, it's the importance of ballet — not just for all types of serious dancers, but also for the cultural life of the city.

"Ballet technique is like a dictionary," said Bruno Tonioli, a judge on TV's "Dancing With the Stars." "If you don't have a rich dictionary, you don't have words, and if you don't have words, you're unable to express yourself. For any serious dancer, a knowledge of ballet is indispensable."

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"What's really great is that we've been teaching [ballet] on 'So You Think You Can Dance,' " added show co-creator Nigel Lythgoe. "So now, the street kids are suddenly realizing how important it is. They are learning they can control far more with a strong core."

From left, Los Angeles Ballet artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary and "So You Think You Can Dance" co-creator Nigel Lythgoe attend the 2017 Los Angeles Ballet Gala at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills on April 21.
From left, Los Angeles Ballet artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary and "So You Think You Can Dance" co-creator Nigel Lythgoe attend the 2017 Los Angeles Ballet Gala at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills on April 21. (Ryan Miller / Capture Imaging)

"Descendants" star Sofia Carson was among those in attendance. "Supporting the arts and supporting the ballet is instrumental to our culture and important to this city," she said. "It's a beautiful part of living in Los Angeles."

As a fashion aside, this year's host of the Radio Disney Music Awards looked chic in her shoulder-baring David Koma frock and strappy black Valentino heels. "Fashion is a big part of who I am. I love fashion."

The event: Held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the gala honored former California Gov. Gray Davis and former First Lady Sharon Davis as well as noted film producer Lawrence Bender ("An Inconvenient Truth," "Hacksaw Ridge" and "Pulp Fiction").

As the evening's centerpiece, Los Angeles Ballet dancers performed excerpts from "Who Cares?", choreographer George Balanchine's homage to Broadway, set to the music of George Gershwin.

From left, Ryan Kavanaugh and event co-chair Leslie Kavanaugh and Jack Kavanaugh arrive for the Los Angeles Ballet Gala.
From left, Ryan Kavanaugh and event co-chair Leslie Kavanaugh and Jack Kavanaugh arrive for the Los Angeles Ballet Gala. (Ryan Miller / Capture Imaging)

The crowd: Los Angeles Ballet artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary along with executive director Julie Whittaker thanked the audience for its support, following welcome remarks by the night's emcee, Mark L. Walberg of "Antiques Roadshow" and co-chairs Leslie Kavanaugh and Kirsten Sarkisian.

Also, among those appearing onstage were Ghada Irani and her husband, former Occidental Petroleum Corp. Chief Executive Ray Irani.

From left, former Gov. Gray Davis, Sharon Davis, producer Lawrence Bender and Los Angeles Ballet artistic directors Colleen Neary and Thordal Christensen arrive for the Los Angeles Ballet Gala at the Beverly Wilshire on April 21.
From left, former Gov. Gray Davis, Sharon Davis, producer Lawrence Bender and Los Angeles Ballet artistic directors Colleen Neary and Thordal Christensen arrive for the Los Angeles Ballet Gala at the Beverly Wilshire on April 21. (Ryan Miller / Capture Imaging)

The numbers: The gala raised nearly $1 million for the Los Angeles Ballet's dance performances and educational outreach programs. Tickets for the 240 guests began at $500 each, tables ranged up to $100,000 and a silent auction and after-dinner appeal brought in additional contributions.

Offered, among other things, to guests was a chance to jump the line at the evening's end and be the first to have the hotel valet deliver their car. Two guests jumped at the opportunity, paying $2,500 each.

Sofia Carson is among the guests who attended the Los Angeles Ballet Gala in Beverly Hills.
Sofia Carson is among the guests who attended the Los Angeles Ballet Gala in Beverly Hills. (Ryan Miller / Capture Imaging)

Ellen Olivier is the founder of Society News LA.

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