Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Beyond the classroom

Looking west across Central Park from Fifth Avenue. 10:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018. Rain from the late night before followed in the late morning by some snow-mix, with temperatures in the mid-30s, falling to freezing in the late night. But the blizzard lashing New England skipped the city entirely.
While north of us yesterday noontime, the blizzard was wailing with the wind, here on East End Avenue the Fed Ex truck was dropping off its boxes and boxes and boxes to the waiting residents of my building.
This past Monday night I was a guest of Arie and Coco Kopelman at the School of American Ballet’s 2018 Winter Ball  at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. This glamorous dinner dance, which has been presented each winter for the past 14 years, drew more than 500 devoted to the school, including the School’s board members and alumni as well as leaders from the New York corporate and social communities.

The School of American Ballet (SAB) held its 2018 Winter Ball at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater on Monday, March 12, 2018, and raised over $900,000 to support student scholarships. Guests attended a cocktail hour on the Promenade followed by dinner, a student performance, and The Encore after party.
The highlight of the evening was a one-time-only performance of a new work featuring intermediate and advanced students of the School of American Ballet. This pièce d’occasion was choreographed for the second year running by SAB alumnus and current New York City Ballet dancer Alec Knight. I am hardly a dance critic but the students’ performance was astounding in terms of skill and energy.

The décor by Ron Wendt Design for the evening on the three story Promenade of the David H. Koch Theater lent a serene dreamscape with touches of whimsy in shades of pink, indigo and violet. Guests dined on a three-course meal by Glorious Foods featuring Gravlax and Cucumber Salad, Roasted Chicken with Tarragon Mustard Sauce, and a Chocolate Lava Cake that looked like a chocolate ice cream burger (you had to be there) with Tangerine Sorbet all served on spun sugar.
Carrie Hinrichs, Executive Director at School of American Ballet, with the evening's Chairs.
Among the guests for the black tie evening were Charlotte d’Amboise, Laurie and Greg Beard, Gil Boggs, Ashley Bouider, Stacey Bendet Eisner, Russell Janzen, all the Kopelmans, Jill and Harry Kargman, Will, Coco and Arie, Rebecca and Adam Hendrickson, Caroline Lagerfelt, Lauren Lovette and Bareton Cowperthwaite, Mary Snow, Susan Frame Millstein, Arthur Mitchell, Marie Nugent-Head and Jim Marias, Jennifer Creel, Jane Bryant Quinn, Indre Rockefeller and Paul Arnhold, Andrew Scordato and Benjamin Nada, Leyland Simmons, Jonathan Stafford, Barbara and John Vogelstein.

The evening was led by Honorary Chair Julia Koch; with Chaira Renata Garcia, Joyce C. Giuffra, and Elizabeth Gosnell Miller. Young Patron Chairs were Amanda Brotman-Schetritt, Renna Brown-Taher, Kylie van Hoek, and Stephanie Sharp.
More than $900,000 was raised. Proceeds from the evening will be used to enhance every aspect of the School’s extraordinary ballet training program; helping to provide $2 million annually in student scholarships, as well as supporting faculty, maintaining world-class studios and offering vital student programs beyond the classroom.
Alec Knight.
Jonathan Stafford. Tanya Rivero Warren.
The School of American Ballet — which is the official training academy of the New York City Ballet — was established in 1934 by legendary choreographer George Balanchine and author, artist and cultural philanthropist Lincoln Kirstein. It was the first and most essential step in their quest to create an American classical ballet company which exists today.

Balanchine and Kirtstein, in their quest, also engaged in a kind of entrepreneurship that this country was founded on although alas, not as prominent today as is needed. From this non-dancer’s point of view, aside from its brilliant talent being developed for the world, the school educates the importance, the requisite, of growing up while learning the discipline and dedication in the development of one’s talent and oneself. A strong dose of good luck for every student attending.
SAB Winter Ball performance.
Knight students.
Interestingly, a lot of the money raised Monday night goes for what we could call scholarships. The boys are all free. The girls pay a tuition which is modest by any standards in school today.

Even those who do not go on to perform go out into the world equipped to create, to work, to take responsibility and to pride themselves in those qualities that they’ve developed at the SAB.

Both Balanchine and Kirstein were pioneers who exuded those qualities individually as demonstrated in their own portfolios, results of which are even stronger today than they were in the decades before the founding.

All this comes to mind in the presence of the really thrilling talent and those dedicated to it; it leaves you with a breath of optimism of the best part of ourselves – our potential, that is.
Monday night at 10:30 leaving the David Koch Theater looking northwest across the Josie Robertson Plaza of Lincoln Center reflecting the sheen of the light rain falling.
Hubert de Givenchy died this past Saturday as the world knows. He was an enormous influence on Women's Fashion beginning in the 1960s and was popularly famous for dressing his star client Audrey Hepburn. He was a successful designer at age 24 in 1952 thanks to his very first show. Mary Hilliard sent us these photographs she took in the '90s of the suave and personable couturier.
Mary Wells Lawrence, Ralph Lauren, Lauren Bacall, and Hubert de Givenchy, 1996.
Backstage with Audrey Hepburn in 1991.
And getting serious before walking the runway ...
With Bunny Mellon, 1989. In 1996 with Mary Wells Lawrence.
With Nan Kempner and friends in Venice, 1993.
With Victor Skrebneski and Elieth Roux.

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