Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride danced together with New York City Ballet for the first time in 1970, and it was a match made in ballet heaven. He, a dashing Paris Opéra Ballet dancer, and she, Balanchine’s muse for 19 ballets, fell in love and have been a team ever since. They now lead North Carolina Dance Theatre and its professional school, as well as the summer dance program of the Chautauqua Institute in New York.
This month the New York International Ballet Competition (NYIBC) will honor the couple with the first ever Ilona Copen Award, named for NYIBC’s founder who passed away in February 2010. “Bonnefoux and McBride have provided young ballet dancers with the finest educational and cultural experiences,” says NYIBC executive director Jacques Burgering. “These elements were so important to Ilona and are crucial for the NYIBC competition as a whole.”
The gala at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts will also include performances by American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Limón Dance Company, New Jersey Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet and others, as well as an excerpt of Beyond the Gold, a documentary about NYIBC that features Copen. Info: www.nyibc.org
Photo: McBride and Bonnefoux on the January 2008 cover of DT (by Roger Ball)