The inaugural Mirpuri Foundation Gala was hailed as an outstanding success as the worlds of theatre, dance and music came together in the São Carlos Opera House to honour their greatest talents, and to deliver an unparalleled cultural extravaganza.

The Gala, which saw a series of prizes awarded to Portuguese artists, and the presentation of a lifetime achievement award to legendary Russian ballet star Vladimir Vasiliev, followed live performances at the Lisbon Opera House by world-renowned dancers from the Bolshoi Theatre Ballet, Moscow, the Royal Ballet, London, the Mariinski Ballet, St. Petersburg and the State Ballet of Georgia.

The evening was hosted by Portuguese television presenter, actress and UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, Catarina Furtado and British mountain climber, explorer and Tv host Paul Rose.

Some 800 VIP guests from around the world enjoyed an evening of unrivalled spectacle as the world’s most talented dancers performed scenes from celebrated ballets. Attendees included members of the Portuguese Government  and Royalty as VIPs, artists and friends of the Foundation from across the globe descended on Lisbon to enjoy the show. Guests enjoyed a sumptuous organic feast provided by LSKY, the Mirpuri’s corporate catering company, and in keeping with the Foundation’s core values the whole Gala was a sustainable and socially responsible event. Single-use plastic items were conspicuous by their absence, and even the platform used to present the show was made from Oriented Strand Board, chosen for its reduced environmental impact.

The awards themselves fell into three categories named after Portuguese cultural icons drawn from the worlds of theatre, dance and music. Fernando Duarte was awarded the ‘Anna Mascolo’ Prize for Dance; Elmano Sancho took home the ‘Carlos Avilez’ Theatre Award, and Edward Ayres and Duarte Pereira Martins were proud to receive the ‘Sequeira Costa’ Award for Music. Each prize was accompanied by a cheque for €30,000.

The Career and Prestige Award of the night, a Lifetime Achievement Award, went to the ‘God of Dance’ Vladimir Vasiliev. For 30 years Vasiliev was the leading dancer at the internationally renowned Bolshoi Ballet, before stepping back from the stage to achieve success as a choreographer and Director of the Bolshoi.