Hotel Del hosts upcoming City Ballet fundraising gala with a ‘roarin’ 20s’ theme

The City Ballet of San Diego’s Fundraising Gala takes place on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Hotel del Coronado.
(Carly Topazio)

Expect to have a roarin’ good time at this year’s annual City Ballet of San Diego’s Fundraising Gala on Oct. 12. With a “roarin’ 20s” theme, guests will have a chance to dance the jitterbug, watch a spectacular ballet performance by City Ballet dancers, and participate in a live auction. And one lucky person will go home with a pair of one-of-a-kind gold and diamond earrings with onyx and pearl.

The Hotel del Coronado is sponsoring the event for the fourth year in a row. “We are honored to have the Hotel del Coronado as one of our Season Sponsors,” Jo Anne Emery, managing director of City Ballet of San Diego said. “Our guests love coming to the Del each year for this annual event. The Del really knows how to pamper our patrons.”

This year’s gala will showcase the hotel’s newly renovated Vista Walk with great views of the ocean. The walk leads directly to the ballroom where the main event will be held. The ballroom has large windows that face the ocean so gala goers can watch the sunset as they sit down to dinner.

One of the special moments of the evening will be the announcement of the Opportunity Drawing winner, who’ll go home with a stunning pair of earrings designed especially for the event by jeweler John Matty of John Matty Co. in Rancho Santa Fe. Matty has created and donated the 18-carat white gold and diamond earrings with onyx and pearl, valued at $10,000.

Rancho Santa Fe residents Barbie and Dan Spinazzola are this year’s honorary chairs to the event. The couple have been generous patrons of City Ballet for more than 10 years. They also serve as trustees to the board of directors of the nonprofit entity.

City Ballet San Diego has a rich history of artistic excellence, education and community outreach. This marks its 27th year, and a lot has changed since the beginning. When the company first started in 1993, it attracted a high level of dancers eager to work with directors Steven and Elizabeth Wistrich. In a short period of time, advanced students joined the dancers for their productions.

The company eventually transitioned from a student-based company with guest dancers to a fully professional company. Twenty-four years ago, the company was granted permission to perform its first George Balanchine ballet and has now grown to 19 Balanchine ballets in its repertoire.

The first 15 years, the company performed in theaters throughout San Diego, including the Spreckels Theatre which eventually became City Ballet’s home theater. Thirteen years ago, conductor John Nettles formed The City Ballet Orchestra, and for the past five years, all performances are now danced to live music.

This season opens with Resident Choreographer Geoff Gonzalez’s dramatic “Carmina Burana” Nov. 1-3 accompanied by the City Ballet Orchestra and an 80-voice chorus. The perennial holiday classic “The Nutcracker” will be performed in December, accompanied by The City Ballet Orchestra with 13 performances, including a special “sensory-friendly” performance.

In March, the ballet will perform George Balanchine’s “Walpugisnacht Ballet” and “Who Cares?.” The season closes in May with Resident Choreographer Elizabeth Wistrich’s “Romeo and Juliet.” All productions are accompanied by The City Ballet Orchestra.

City Ballet of San Diego also operates the City Ballet School, which was started 28 years ago, just one year before the debut of the company. The school offers a full ballet curriculum for children, pre-professional students and adults. Classes are offered seven days a week, and students can start as young as three years old.

According to Emery, the company is always striving to expand its endeavors to reach a greater audience in San Diego. “In addition to presenting Balanchine ballets, the company performs works by former New York City Ballet’s artistic director Peter Martins and Jerome Robbins,” she explains. “The company would like to present works by other world-class choreographers to augment works by its own award-winning Resident Choreographers Elizabeth Wistrich and Geoff Gonzalez.”

The City Ballet of San Diego’s Fundraising Gala takes place on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Hotel del Coronado. Tickets start at $125 per person. To learn more, go to