Newport Harbor alumnus to 'take flight'

Founded in 2008, Luminario Ballet captivates its audience with aerial acrobatics, ballet and contemporary dance.

The troupe's latest performance, "Taking Flight," will take place Saturday and Sunday at UC Irvine's Claire Trevor Theatre.

The audience will have a chance to take in an array of musical and dance performances, including an aerial show tribute to Led Zeppelin called "LedZerial," a glimpse into the complexity of three relationships, called "If Walls Could Scream," and "TURF."

"TURF" was choreographed by modern dancer Bella Lewitsky in 1991. It hasn't been performed in 17 years and has never been staged by another dance company.

Alex Stabler, a native of Newport Beach and a former Newport Harbor High School student, is one of the troupe's stars. Besides being a renowned dancer, Stabler awed crowds with multiple talents when he won the crown of Mr. California in January.

On Aug. 1, Stabler was named winner of title of Mr. National Entertainer of the Year, an entertainment pageant in which he had been competing in for the past year.

Stabler was excited about bringing the show near his hometown, and anticipated that at least one act from the performance would excite the audience. However, for Stabler, it's hard to narrow it down to one.

"All of them are my favorite," Stabler said. "I'm, of course, excited about 'LedZerial' and 'Bouquet' because I get to partner with our beautiful ballerina, Ashley Hoffman."

Apart from Hoffman, who previously was with the Los Angeles Ballet, the troupe includes Sita Acevedo of Cirque du Soleil's "KA!," Melissa Sandvig of "So You Think You Can Dance" and acclaimed choreographers such as Alexandre Magno, who has created routines for Madonna and Mariah Carey.

Musicians such as Pink have started incorporating aerial work into their performances, and Cirque Du Soliel has been known to draw crowds for their gravity-defying dances. Luminario hopes to excite the crowds just the same.

"Dance is on the forefront right now in entertainment," Stabler said.

For the UCI performance, all tickets will be sold at the door or through Luminario's web site at

If You Go

What: Luminario Ballet's "Taking Flight"

Where: Claire Trevor Theatre at UC Irvine

When: 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday

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