‘The Final Curtain’ awaits for Culver City dancer

Maya Zeevi caps nearly lifelong tenure at Westside School of Ballet with final headline performance

Maya Zeevi caps nearly lifelong tenure at Westside School of Ballet with final headline performance (Todd Lechtick)

A person never really knows how they will feel in the end until that moment comes.

For Maya Zeevi, that moment is just on the horizon. After 17 years at Westside School of Ballet, the former Culver High student will headline her finaly performance at the school, but she hasn’t thought much about how she might feel as she takes her final bow.

“It’s something I think my brain is subconsciously avoiding thinking about,” Zeevi told the Culver City News on Monday. “Going to college and leaving home and this routine that I have had for 17 years, it’s not something I have fully processed, but I am excited.”

Westside Ballet will continue to honor world-renowned choreographer George Balanchine — alongside a wealth of other gifted classical musicians, choreographers, and dancers — with an exclusive Spring workshop black box performance in the upgraded Theater Studio Six. 

The workshop performances will be held exclusively for friends and family of the performance company. A handful of sponsors and donors will be invited to a VIP preview dress rehearsal experience. In addition, the performance will be professionally filmed and released for a public viewing in early Summer, at a date to be announced. 

Excerpts will also be shared through Westside Ballet’s social media.

Maya is now taking classes at Santa Monica College and is finishing her sophomore year with plans to transfer to University of California, Los Angeles in the Fall of 2021 and pursue a major in business economics. 

While she plans on keeping ballet a prominent aspect in her life, this will be her final performance as a member of a ballet theater. Her time with the school is something she will look back on fondly.

“I know that I will look back on this time in a few years and maybe not miss it, but definitely appreciate it. I know how lucky I am to live this kind of life,” Zeevi said.

For her final performance, Zeevi will headline a performance of ‘Donizetti Variations.’

Set to music from the opera Don Sebastien, the cheerful Donizetti series offers the opportunity for the most skilled dancers to perform several technically challenging yet thrilling parts.

While this performance will only be initially done in front of a small select audience of family and friends, Zeevi is greatful that the school is able to host performances at all with pandemic restrictions still in play.

“I am very grateful that we are able to still perform, even if it’s just for parents and friends, it still just feels special, you know,” Zeevi said.

“We had a dress rehearsal last weekend, and they put up the lights and curtains and it really brought me back.”

Westside was able to open for limited in person activities earlier than many dance studios, but Zeevi still recalls the difficulties that came with doing high level ballet training at home.

“When it first started, we were doing classes over Zoom, and it wasn’t as intense, so we had to find ways to stay in shape,” Zeevi explained. “There’s only so much that you can do in ballet with such a small space.”

“We had a class at our normal time, but it was usually shorter, lasting only an hour. Afterwards, I would try to do one of those YouTube at home workouts just to try to stay in shape. It was really hard.”

Once the school was able to host classes again in summer 2020, Zeevi and her fellow students saw the results of their training.

Well, more like the results of their not training.

“When we first came back, we were all so out of shape for the first week or two. When COVID hit, we were preparing for our spring show and were in peak shape,” Zeevi said. 

“We were training everyday for many hours, so it was a shock to come back and be so far from that.”

For Zeevi, this performance represents a turning of the page, and a move into the next chapter of her life: adulthood.

“As I grow up, there is more independence that comes, and I am excited for that. But it becomes harder,” Zeevi said.

“Westside has taught me a lot, so much beyond ballet. So it is sad to think about closing that chapter, but I feel prepared.”

‘The Final Curtain’ awaits for Culver City dancer