Mercyhurst welcomes Judith Fugate, former NYC ballerina

The Mercyhurst College dance department will work with visiting artist Judith Fugate, former principal ballerina with New York City Ballet, the week of Sept. 21-27, to prepare for a November performance of George Balanchine’s signature work, “Serenade.” 

“Serenade” will be produced in November as part of the Erie ++Plus Season – an effort highlighting the works of nationally recognized choreographers now living in Erie. 

After Fugate departs, Mercyhurst dancers featured in “Serenade” will continue working toward the November performance under the guidance of Christine Hay, new to the Mercyhurst dance faculty.

The ballet will be presented at 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10. Both performances will be in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $12.50 for adults, $10 for senior/students, and $5 for youth under 15.

In addition, before the Saturday, Nov. 9, performance, Christine Hay will speak about her career during a 6:15 p.m. Performance Plus Lecture.

Tauna Hunter, director of the Mercyhurst dance program, explained the importance of visiting artists to the dance department: “Having a visiting artist is rejuvenating because, unlike students in other disciplines, dance majors work with the same faculty every day during their four years of study. Therefore, visiting artists and master teachers give our students a fresh approach to information.”

She added that not only do the students reap the benefits, but faculty are also rejuvenated by witnessing new approaches to material.

Co-director of the Manhattan-based Dance Galaxy since 1997, Fugate has toured extensively with groups led by renowned artists like Mikhail Baryshnikov, Cynthia Gregory and Peter Martins. She appeared on “Live from Lincoln Center” with Ray Charles in Martin’s “A Fool for You.” In the Metropolitan Opera’s production of “La Traviata,” conducted by Placido Domingo, she was partnered with Fernando Bujones and Peter Boal. In addition, she has danced roles in virtually every ballet in the NYCBrepertoire.

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