Nebraska announces landmark “Firebird” ballet collaboration with preeminent American companies and dancers

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Nebraska announces landmark “Firebird” ballet collaboration with preeminent American companies and dancers

Performing arts collaboration to feature superstar ballerina Misty Copeland with the American Ballet Theatre of New York and the St. Louis Symphony.

COURTESY PHOTO: Renowned ballet dancer Misty Copeland will perform in Lincoln in 2018 together with other prominent artists of the American Ballet Theatre.

One of the world’s greatest dance companies, American Ballet Theatre, will unite with the seven-time Grammy Award-winning St. Louis Symphony in 2018 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

The collaboration was announced on April 26, 2017, from New York City’s Lincoln Center and features an once-in-a-lifetime performance of Igor Stravinsky’s masterwork “Firebird” with principal dancers Misty Copeland on Feb. 16, 2018, and Isabella Boylston on Feb. 17, 2018, illuminating the iconic “Firebird” role.

Lincoln will be the only city in the world during 2018 to host this collaboration between St. Louis Symphony, the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, and American Ballet Theatre, America’s National Ballet Company.

The historic performances and collaborations are made possible with generous private support from the estate of Glenn Korff to the University of Nebraska Foundation. In recognition of the bequest, the event will be recognized as the Korff Platinum Command Performance.

The gift also provides a $500,000 community challenge grant to build an endowment fund supporting the presentation of iconic artists for future generations at the Lied Center.

Born in Hebron, Nebraska, in 1943, Glenn Korff graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1965 and went on to have a successful career in in the area of finance and investments, retiring from Goldman Sachs. He and his estate have provided generous support of the university over the years, forever benefiting music and business students as well as cancer research programs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Lied Center Executive Director Bill Stephan said Korff’s legacy continues to enrich the human spirit through the arts by creating opportunities for Nebraska audiences and students to experience the world’s top artists at the Lied Center.

“We are honored to forever recognize Glenn Korff’s contributions to the University of Nebraska and Lied Center for Performing Arts,” Stephan said.

Beyond the main-stage performances, this monumental collaboration will provide countless life-changing opportunities for students and Nebraskans of all ages with extensive educational residencies happening with artists from ABT and the St. Louis Symphony throughout the week leading up to the performance.

UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green said, “Engaging with artists like American Ballet Theatre and St. Louis Symphony is part of what makes the student experience on our campus distinctive. Throughout every academic year the most distinguished artists in the world teach in our classrooms and inspire our students.”

Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler said, “My goal as mayor has been to make Lincoln a world-class city, and that includes bringing the top artists from around the globe to our community. The Lied Center, along with Pinnacle Bank Arena, Pinewood Bowl and our outstanding private venues, are making that happen.”

The February 2018 performances at the Lied Center will feature two works, “Firebird” and Serenade after Plato’s “Symposium” by internationally celebrated choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, performed by the world-renowned artists of American Ballet Theatre. These pieces will be complemented by two classic and iconic dances from “Swan Lake” and its White Swan and Black Swan roles.

American Ballet Theater Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie said, “We are so looking forward to working with St. Louis Symphony and combining our energy to produce a unique experience at the Lied Center and for Lincoln.”

The full 2017-18 Lied Center Season is scheduled to be announced on May 4, 2017. Tickets to the February 2018 performances will be available beginning May 11, 2017, as part of the Lied Center’s “create-your-own” season ticket packages.

The Lied Center for Performing Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has become a national leader in presenting artists and collaborations normally only seen in the country’s major metropolitan centers like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Matthew Boring, Marketing Manager, Lied Center, 402-730-1038,

Robb Crouch, PR Director, NU Foundation, 402-458-1142,

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