New Orleans taps into its balletic history this weekend. As one of the very first cities to introduce ballet into theaters, New Orleans also was home to Suzanne Douvillier, the first female choreographer in the United States. Dancers and spectators can enjoy the Fleur de Lis Semi-Finals Ballet Competition starting Friday; on Saturday, the New Orleans Ballet Association presents New Zealand’s Black Grace dance troupe at Mahalia Jackson Theater. Other notable events include Diana Ross’s performance at the Saenger, Hannibal Buress’s encore show at the Civic, and a Pictures of the Year International exhibit at the Old U.S. Mint.
1. Fleur de Lis Semi-Finals Ballet Competition – Dancers from around the world will convene at Loyola’s Roussel Hall Part starting Friday for the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition. Kozlova will present master classes (they’re open to the public for $20) and watch the proceedings as jurors award medals across four different age categories from 11 to 26 years old. Tickets are available online; interested guests can also purchase a three-day pass for the duration of the competition.
2. Diana Ross at the Saenger Theatre – Music legend Diana Ross comes to the Saenger at 8 p.m. With 18 No. 1 hits under her belt and a 45-year solo career, Ross will perform signature songs that span the eras of Motown, disco, and more as part of her In the Name of Love tour. Purchase tickets online from $65.
3. Pictures of the Year International at the Old U.S. Mint – Saturday is the final day of the Visions of Excellence exhibit, showcasing selections from Pictures of the Year International Winners from 2014. This prestigious, international photojournalism competition (part of the Missouri School of Journalism) awards moving images from newsworthy moments around the world.
4. Black Grace at Mahalia Jackson Theater – Melding indigenous Pacific Island dance forms with contemporary movement, Black Grace is a New Zealand-based dance troupe innovative in its artistry and athleticism. Presented by the New Orleans Ballet Association, Black Grace sheds light on Maori, Samoan, and other Polynesian cultures. Tickets are available at the theater box office or online.
5. Hannibal Buress at the Civic Theatre – The droll comic fancies New Orleans (he dedicated an entire set to the Crescent City on The Tonight Show), so it’s no surprise he’s back for an encore performance of his Comedy Camisado tour at the Civic on Sunday at 9 p.m. Doors are at 8 p.m. with tickets available for purchase online.