City Ballet of San Diego’s 24th Anniversary Season Gala set for Oct. 22

City Ballet of San Diego’s 24th Anniversary Season Gala is set for Saturday, Oct. 22 at Hotel del Coronado.

With proceeds benefitting City Ballet’s education and outreach programs, organizers hope the annual event will raise awareness and funds to connect more of San Diego’s children with the arts.

“I admire their outreach to schools and to others who can’t afford a sport like this,” said Del Mar’s Dr. Bettie Youngs, who serves on City Ballet’s Board of Directors. “Most ballet companies don’t have that outreach.”

Led by Steven and Elizabeth Wistrich, City Ballet of San Diego will soon kick off its 24th season of ballet in San Diego with “Esmeralda and the Hunchback” Nov. 4-6 at Spreckels Theatre.

In addition to full seasons of ballet concerts, City Ballet offers a school for children and adults, as well as education and outreach programs that reach more than 10,000 schoolchildren annually offering in-theater performances and all-school assemblies.

City Ballet’s variety of programs include “Ballet Goes to School,” a program that brings ballet performances to local schools, as well as “Discover a Dancer,” a 30-week residency program for at-risk youth. The program culminates with a school assembly for peers and family members.

“We support a good number of kids that could never ever be able to afford ballet lessons,” Youngs said. “The goal is athleticism, activity, strength and leadership.”

A Pulitzer Prize-nominated author, Youngs has served on City Ballet’s board for nearly a year. She was introduced to the organization through her work with the Fuller Center for Housing in San Diego, where she serves as executive director. She formerly taught at San Diego State University and has published 34 books translated into 26 languages.

Dedicated to supporting City Ballet, Youngs has been very involved in organizing this year’s gala.

She connected City Ballet with actress and singer Lesley Ann Warren, this year’s celebrity honorary chairwoman. Warren began her career as a ballet dancer, training at the School of American Ballet.

Youngs also reached out to Mali Digius, owner of Del Mar-based Diamond Boutique, who designed and created an original silver and diamond ballet pendant. Priced at $7,500, the pendant will be auctioned off at the event.

She also worked with designer and former actress Natashia Williams-Blach, owner of SEA&POSH. Williams-Blach created a “caged” onyx druzy neck garland that will also be auctioned off at the event.

“I enjoy working with an organization that strives for excellence,” said Youngs, who has lived in Del Mar since 1980.

With the theme “IlluminAsia,” City Ballet’s 24th Anniversary Season Gala is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22 at Hotel del Coronado, located at 1500 Orange Ave. in Coronado.

About 400 people are expected to attend this year’s gala, which begins with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a multi-course dinner with music and dancing to the Mighty Untouchables band. The event will also include a performance by the City Ballet Company dancers, an opportunity drawing, and live and silent auctions.

“Help support our outreach programs that we bring to you,” Youngs said. “And also help us support our performers.”

For more information about City Ballet of San Diego or to purchase tickets to the gala, call 858-272-8663 or visit