|It snowed Sunday night in New York. The weather forecast almost said we were really gonna get it. Not quite. But it snowed and yesterday morning there was some white stuff on the cars and the sides of the streets.
Everything is beautiful at the ballet. The picture below was taken at Michael’s at yesterday’s lunch hour. This lunch was about the School of American Ballet (SAB) which is holding its big annual fundraising benefit next Monday night at Lincoln Center. Everyone in the picture except this writer is passionately involved with the School that Mr. Balanchine started in 1934 when they were forming what would eventually become the New York City Ballet.
|The young woman on the far left is Alexis Tobin, who is a Young Patron Chairmen (along with Jill Kargman and Chelsea Clinton), and the on the far right is Marjorie Vander Cook. To the right of Ms. Tobin is Jon Marder, a New York public relations man who is often associated with high profile cultural media and cultural events. Mr. Marder is also a force behind all of the Versailles events that you may have read about on these pages. Next to Jon Marder is Coco Kopelman, a familiar face on the NYSD.
To my right is Joanne De Guardiola, the Manhattan interior designer who’s been involved with SAB for a long time now; as has Somers White Farkas on Joanne’s right. Somers, who grew up in Vuh-gin-yah has been a student of the ballet from childhood, and now grown up as a balletomane. And to her right, of course, is Marge Vander Cook who’s the executive director of the School.
Me, I’m not a balletomane but if this keeps up I might get there. Everything is beautiful at the ballet and at the school too. I can’t remember who prompted my interest. It might have been Marge, or Liz Peek (not present yesterday) who invited me to sit in on some classes which I’ve written about somewhere in these pages. What impressed me so much was watching the young students exercise their devotion and dedication and work. How often do we see that anywhere these days?
|The School is one of the greatest schools of any kind that I’ve ever encountered. 2200 young people from all over America audition each year for what boils down to 22 places, starting at age 8 or 10. The students have a full curriculum of academic study as well as daily ballet classes. It is strenuous, demanding and unrelenting. The result is a student body that develops great work habits and great self-confidence (based on accomplishment and achievement and not on ego). It’s as if an ideal is achieved.
More than 60% of the students are on some kind of scholarship. Those who graduate and go onto professional lives in dance go into the NYC Ballet company as well as ballet companies all over the United States. Some of them go on to ballet stardom. So what it’s really about (to this writer’s sensibility) is a way to educate and develop lifelong work habits and maybe if it works out, a career as a dancer.
Ballet dancers are very humble people, someone said at the table yesterday. Someone agreed and then another. Carrying on the tradition established by the great George Balanchine, great things happen.
Last night at the Todd Alexander Romano Gallery on the corner of 73rd Street and Lexington Avenue, artist Michelle Marie had a showing of her paintings, bringing out a big crowd. Afterwards many of the guests moved next door to Swifty’s where the artist was hosting a dinner for about forty friends and associates/
Friday, March 2, 2007