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Match Pointe

Angelenos got a break from the endless stream of summer blockbuster premieres on Wednesday when the American Ballet Theatre arrived in town for an unusual performance — on a tennis court in Malibu, no less. "This is a first," said...

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Angelenos got a break from the endless stream of summer blockbuster premieres on Wednesday when the American Ballet Theatre arrived in town for an unusual performance — on a tennis court in Malibu, no less.

"This is a first," said artistic director Kevin McKenzie. "You certainly can’t control the weather out here like you can at the Met."

The event, underwritten by Escada in honor of ABT’s four-day stand at the Music Center, took place at the 12-acre estate of Nancy and Howard Marks, which was in the process of being redecorated. On the court draped with black velvet, Julio Bocca performed a sinuous tango with a table, followed by traditional pas de deux from "Swan Lake" and "Le Corsaire" danced by pairs Nina Ananiashvili and Maxim Belotserkovsky and Paloma Herrera and Angel Corella.

"My mother was a ballet dancer, so I actually get teary-eyed when I watch it," admitted Vanessa Getty.

Susan Jaffe, who left the audience sniffling after her farewell performance at the Met on June 24, tiptoed through the estate’s rose garden.

"These heels are almost as uncomfortable as pointe shoes," she laughed, adding that she’s still adjusting to the idea of being permanently off duty. "It’s very hard to take the dance out of the dancer," she continued. "I’m sure I’ll be pointing my feet in the swimming pool while I’m in L.A."