A landmark company, the world’s leading classical ballet stars and a double tribute to two exceptional artists: Marking 100 years since the birth of George Balanchine, one of the most influential choreographers of all times, and 10 years since the death of Rudolf Nureyev, the most charismatic dancer of the 20th century, Milan’s La Scala Ballet is scheduled to perform at the Herod Atticus Theater on July 20, 21 and 22. Proceeds from the upcoming performances will go to the Special Olympics Hellas association, to help the Greek Special Olympics team as they prepare for the next Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, in 2006. In the first two performances, Felix Mendelssohn’s music will fill the ancient theater in Balanchine’s «Midsummer Night’s Dream,» in a production ripe with color and neo-classical elements. The ballet, which first opened in 1962, is making its debut on a Greek stage. It is the tribute to Nureyev, however, which has already sparked the interest of ballets aficionados. The evening features an international gala performance by up-and-coming as well as established ballets stars – including Eric Vu An, Maximiliano Guera and Tamara Rojo, among others – who will perform works which have been marked by «Rudi’s» genius. These include Balanchine’s «Apollo» and Marius Petipa’s «Le Corsaire,» among others. The Russian boy who defected to the West during a working trip to Paris, went on to dance for the next 30 years and formed one of the most exciting partnerships in classical dance, alongside Margot Fonteyn. In Paris in 1993, only a few months before his death, Nureyev presented his very last production, a sensational revival of «La Bayadere’s» first three acts. The haunting images of a visibly tired, aging and sick man are still remembered by many. At the Herod Atticus Theater, the Athens State Orchestra will be conducted by David Garforth.