The last star shower of 2023 will be under the lights of the Arsht Center

Written By Orlando Taquechel
December 20, 2023 at 6:44 PM

Ludmila Pagliero and Mathieu Ganio in “Mayerling,” by Kenneth MacMillan. The pair will be part of the “Holiday Season with Ballet Stars” gala at the Adrienne Arsht Center on Friday, Dec. 29 and Saturday, Dec. 30, which will feature 14 dancers of nine different nationalities from seven companies around the world.  (Photo by Ann Ray/Courtesy of Ballet Support Foundation).

Defying astronomical forecasts, which placed the last star shower of the year during the night of Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, a group of stars from the world of dance will descend on the Adrienne Arsht Center for two nights on Friday, Dec. 29 and Saturday, Dec. 30.

In a celestial star shower, all the meteors that make it up seem to have a single point of origin, but the origin of the stars that will participate in the Ballet Gala “Holiday Season with Ballet Stars”  —  an initiative of the Ballet Support Foundation (BSF)  — is varied: 14 dancers of nine different nationalities, associated with seven companies that cultivate different dance styles, from France, Great Britain, Israel, and the United States.

Ludmila Pagliero and Mathieu Ganio in “In the Night,” by Jerome Robbins. (Photo by Julien Benhamou/courtesy of Ballet Support Foundation).

BSF is a New York-based nonprofit organization founded by producer and former Bolshoi Ballet dancer Lola Abigail Koch with the mission to support young dancers and dance projects internationally.

One of the premier dancers who will be performing is Argentinan Ludmila Pagliero. She joined the corps of the Paris Opera Ballet  in 2003 and, in 2012, was named danseur étoile for the company. With her performance in the “Holiday Season with Ballet Stars,” it will be her first visit to Miami. We were to speak with her via Zoom for an interview, but a scheduling conflict arose. Considering that it would be challenging to coordinate a new appointment (there is a six-hour difference between Paris and Miami), we decided that it was best to send our questions in writing. What follows is our interview.

Ludmila is a girl’s name of Slavic origin, meaning “love of the people.” Is Ludmila your birth name or your artistic name? It is my birth name  — also the name of my grandma, born in the Czech Republic. Like many South Americans, our origins are a mix of the two continents.

How much do you know about the dance happening in Miami?  I always hear about the Miami City Ballet, and I know that many great dancers went there to dance with the company, which has a great repertory, such as Balanchine, Robbins, Tharp, Taylor, and many others.

Ludmila Pagliero and Mathieu Ganio in “Onegin,” by John Cranko. (Photo by Julien Benhamou/courtesy of Ballet Support Foundation).

What are you going to dance at the Gala? I will be dancing two pas de deux with Mathieu Ganio (also a danseur etoile at Paris Opera Ballet). The first one is from “Manon.” The ballet by Kenneth MacMillan, created in 1974, is inspired by Abbé Prévost’s book. “The Story of Manon” is, therefore, the vision of the tragic story of the Chevalier des Grieux with its heroine, an implacable young woman attracted by the pleasures of life. We will dance its second pas de deux, which takes place in the Parisian bedroom of Des Grieux and is a moment of intimacy between the two lovers of pure shared happiness.  The second one is from “Le Parc.”  The piece created by Angelin Preljocaj in 1994 for the Paris Opera Ballet dancers questions the journey of passions and the war of the sexes. The pas de deux that we will interpret, “L’abandon,” is the culminating moment of the encounter between a libertine and an idealist (Mathieu and Ludmila) in a final kiss. It is another love story with a language that involves classicism and modernity.

What is your favorite role? Tatiana in “Oneguin” from John Cranko. I love the ballet itself. Made on a medley of excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s music, it is one of the masterpieces of the romantic ballet. John Cranko is here at the pinnacle of his storytelling. He recounts with scrupulous fidelity the drama of Pushkin without, at any time, giving way to the pantomime, which, as we know, can quickly become as boring as boring can be. It’s a two-hour ballet life story.

Do you prefer classical ballet or contemporary ballet? I enjoy dancing everything: classic, neoclassical, and contemporary. I love exploring different forms of expression of the same idea. For example, talking about love is very different in 1841 with “Giselle” or doing “Another Place” with Mats Ek in 2022. The feeling of love is the same, but the way of living it is not, besides discovering in all those styles the different physical abilities that my body can perform.

Ludmila Pagliero and Mathieu Ganio in “Mayerling,” by Kenneth MacMillan. (Photo by Ann Ray/courtesy of Ballet Support Foundation).

Do you dance tango? Not really. I had classes at the beginning at the ballet school, but until today, I never had the time to go deeper into the tango language.

What is your advice for a young ballet student who wants to dedicate his or her life to dance? Passion and commitment.

There are a considerable number of ballet lovers in Miami. Do you have a message for them about your Gala participation? It is my wish to experience a magical moment during these two galas. And I hope it will be the same for them.

WHAT: Holiday Season with Ballet Stars

WHERE: Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 29 and Saturday, Dec. 30.

COST: $43 – $224 

INFORMATION: 305-949-6722 or is a nonprofit media source for the arts featuring fresh and original stories by writers dedicated to theater, dance, visual arts, film, music, and more. Don’t miss a story at

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