Calvin Royal III and Katherine Williams, both stars of American Ballet Theatre (ABT), were the guests of honor at an elegant informal cocktail party at the new Amagansett residence of Elizabeth Jacoby and Richard Brand celebrating Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP), the largest scholarship organization for young ballet dancers.
Katie Couric delighted everyone when she began an impromptu Q&A with the dancers, “I just can’t help myself. I’ve so many questions. What did YAGP do for you? Where did you come from? Where would you be without them?” Calvin Royal III explained how he came to dance at 14 (very late for a profession ballet dancer). “I was at a school in Tampa, Florida, where I grew up. My grandmother gave me an electric keyboard and I loved it. It led me to dance lessons at school but without YAGP I’d probably still be a musician playing in Florida. [YAGP’s founder] Larissa Saveliev got the attention of the teachers at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, which ABT runs, and the rest is my history.”
Saveliev chimed in, “We got Calvin up on stage and Franco De Vita, the director of the JKO School, just knew. He kept saying, ‘there’s something about that boy with the magic hands’.”
Katherine William, an ABT soloist, echoed Royal’s enthusiasm. “When you come from a small school the opportunities are limited. YAGP helps put one on a bigger stage.”
Offered Saveliev, “We got her in front of Raymond Lukens, then at the Boston Ballet School, who could see her talent. When she transferred to ABT he took her, again. Now everyone sees that she is a beautiful dancer.”
In keeping with Covid protocol, hostess Elizabeth Jacoby (who is expecting very soon!) held her party outside on their deck on the dunes where all guests offered proof of vaccination. A small candlelight dinner followed with an organic farm to table menu by Home Grown Meals. Besides ballet, baby names were a favorite topic (it’s going to be a girl!).
Youth America Grand Prix is the world largest global network of dance, reaching out to over 12,000 dancers, 9 to 19, annually with auditions on multiple continents and across America. Over 450 YAGP alumni are now dancing with 80 companies around the world including ABT, NYC Ballet, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Paris Opera Ballet, The Royal Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Miami Ballet, the Bolshoi, Washington Ballet, among others.
For more information, visit www.yagp.org.
On Tuesday, September 14th, The New England Society in the City of New York honored the winners of its 2021 Book Awards, given annually to books of merit that celebrate New England and its culture. The ceremony was held at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park, where authors were honored with a formal presentation of their awards followed by a Salon — a question-and-answer discussion with guests followed by a book signing.
This year’s winning titles and authors were as follows:
ART & PHOTOGRAPHY: Family Treasures: 175 Years of Collecting Art and Furniture at the New England Historic Genealogical Society by Gerald W.R. Ward
FICTION: Writers & Lovers, by Lily King (Grove Press)
CONTEMPORARY NONFICTION: Trial By Fire: A Devastating Tragedy, 100 Lives Lost, and a 15-Year Search for the Truth by Scott James (Thomas Dunne Books)
HISTORICAL NONFICTION: American Rebels: How the Hancock, Adams, and Quincy Families Fanned the Flames of Revolution by Nina Sankovitch (St. Martin’s Press)
SPECIALTY TITLE: The Adventures or a Narrative Gardener by Ronald Lee Fleming (GILES)
Winning authors attending the ceremony included Nina Sankovitch, Lily King, and Scott James, as well as NES past presidents Anna Bulkot (who also chaired the Awards Committee), Anne Elser and Jay Sherwood, current president Ellen Scordato, and Committee members Danzey Burnham, Lucy Kirk, Marian Morrill-Fisher, Jan Whitman Ogden, Anne Teasdale, and Matthew Rimi von Barton. Also in attendance were Curt DiCamillo to accept the Art & Photography award and Matthew Esposito, accepting on behalf of Ronald Lee Fleming.
On September 22, Road Recovery and Lighthouse Guild held “A Visionary Evening & Concert” at The Cutting Room. The sold-out event brought together two noteworthy charities — Road Recovery, who serves the needs of thousands of at-risk youth in rural and poverty-stricken communities, helping them find a path to productive and fulfilling lives through education and mentorship-based musical and peer support programs; and Lighthouse Guild, a leader in providing coordinated vision and health services, skill-building programs, and technological innovations that inspire people who are visually impaired to achieve their goals.
Over $250,000 was generated to support vital mental health and vision-related services for thousands of individuals involved in the programs of both nonprofits.
Road Recovery honored Simon Kirke, a long-time board member and Creative Staff Mentor, for his decade of service of “showing up & walking the walk” together with generations of the charity’s youth. Lighthouse Guild honored Lauren Oplinger, a long-time volunteer, supporter, advocate for people with vision loss and VP at JPMorgan.
Ken Dashow, Q104.3 Afternoon Drive Host & Sunday mornings “Breakfast With the Beatles,” emceed with performances by Simon Kirke, musician/drummer of legendary rock bands FREE and Bad Company; and Darryl DMC McDaniels, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee singer/songwriter, Run-DMC, and Road Recovery Board Member.
Gala Co-Chairs included Joseph C. Papa, Chairman and CEO, Bausch Health Companies Inc.; James Dubin, retired Executive Chairman, Conair Corporation; Eric Maidenberg, Managing Director, Parley for the Oceans; Dr. Christopher Starr, Ophthalmologist, Weill Cornell Medicine.
Photos by John Sanderson/AnnieWatt.com (NES & Lighthouse Guild); Richard Lewin (YAGP).