Debutantes, Dance, and Good Deeds

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Viennese Opera Ball Junior Committee.

On Friday, February 7th, Elisabeth Muhr, Denise Rich, and Jean Shafiroff chaired the 65th Viennese Opera Ball under the patronage of The President of the Republic of Austria, H.E. Alexander Van der Bellen. Actor Nathan Lee Graham emceed the Ball, held at Cipriani 42nd Street, celebrating the cultural and economic relationships between Austria and America, connecting two continents, two cities and two centuries in one glamorous evening.

“There is nothing like this in America with pageantry that could only come from the Habsburg Royal Houses,” said President and Executive Director Silvia Frieser. “Just as in Europe, the celebration began with our Debutantes, wearing beautiful tiaras donated by Austrian jewelry company Ciro and white gowns, dancing the Polonaise and Alles Walzerwith their partners in white tie.” Artistic Director Daniel Serafin presented an operatic concert with Ewa Płonka, Limmie Pulliam, Michael Spyres and Corinne Winters performing alongside a full orchestra conducted by Matthias Fletzberger. At Midnight, aQuadrille that enlivened the dance floor until 4am.



The Viennese Opera Ball proudly supports charitable projects of New York and Vienna. This year, appropriately benefiting the musical therapy program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center through Denise Rich’s Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research. While the Viennese Opera Ball is inspired by the famous Vienna Opera Ball in Austria, it is older and its own American 501 (c)(3) not for profit foundation, held under the auspices of the U.S. Austrian Chamber of Commerce.

The Honorary Gala Chair was The Honorable Michael Ludwig, Governor and Mayor of Vienna. Notable guests included Host Committee members Janna Bullock, Joanna Fisher, Ana Saucedo, Randi Schatz, and Marisa Rose Van Bokhorst, Honorary Guests Florence Hvorostovsky and Ann Ziff, Junior Chairs Emily Mohr and Colgate Rumbough, Junior Vice Chair Briana Lestage, as well as Star Jones, Ricardo Lugo, John Paulson, Karlheinz Muhr, Martin Shafiroff and Stifel Investment Services, Hikmet Ersek (CEO of Western Union), Actress Samantha Mathis, Lukas Barwinski-Brown (CEO, Lang Lang International Music Foundation),  Trisha Willis, John Willis, Diandra Douglas, Sandra Stockmayer (Viennese dancing school Svabek), Agnieszka and Witold Balaban, and U.S. Military Academy West Point Cadets who marched in with flags representing America, Austria, and the European Union before singing the three respective anthems.


Trisha and John Willis with West Point Cadets.

Sponsors included The City of Vienna, Royal Flowers, A.E. Koechert, Aida, as well as a selection of donated Austrian wines and spirits by Schlumberger, Sonor Wines, Esterhazy, Rick Gin and Manufaktur Mueller, and Hallstein Water. The debutantes wore beautiful donated tiaras by Austrian jewelry company Ciro, and were exclusively styled, together with the opera singers, by The Salon at BG.

The 2020 Debutantes: Aimee Anne-Caroline Auguin of New York City; Natalie Aldridge of Mequon, Wisconsin; Rachel Barcellona of Palm Harbor, Florida; Despina Drougas of New Fairfield Connecticut; Rachel Engelberg of Vienna, Austria; Clara Heupgen of Munich, Germany; Asia Hickman of West Point, New York; Katherine Kuhl of New York City; Luisa Majnoni d’Intignano of New York City; Anastacia Grace Weyerhaeuser McCarthy Markoe of White Bear Lake, Montana; Christiane McCabe of New York City; Olivia Maria McNaughten of New York City; Yaelle Shaked of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico; Doris Winkler of Vienna, Austria.


Daniel Serafin, Elisabeth Muhr, Jean Shafiroff, Denise Rich, and and Silvia Frieser.
L. to r.: Denise Rich and Peter Cervinka; Samantha Mathis and Wolfgang Koechart.
L. to r.: Lilah Ramzi and Aydah Lavah; Michele Herbert and Michael Bodnev.
L. to r.: Silvia Frieser and Nathan Lee Graham; Star Jones and Ricardo Lugo.
Daniel Serafin, Erica Spyres, Corinne Winters, Limmie Pulliam, Michael Spyres, and Ewa Plonka.
L. to r.: Cole Rumbough and Lucia Hwong Gordon; Sabine Riglos, Michael Haiger, Dr. Helmut Boeck, and Barbara Boeck.
L. to r.: John Paulson; Diandra Douglas and Stuart Sundlun.

On Tuesday, January 28, “New Yorkers for Dance” held a cultivation cocktail reception at the home of Jody and John Arnhold on Central Park West to celebrate Dance/NYC. This marked the seventh year of Dance/NYC’s existence, a non-profit created to advance justice, equity, and inclusion in the New York dance community and the City’s role as a dance capital. The evening included a performance by New York Times 2019 Breakout Star, Tap Dancer and Choreographer, Ayodele Casel.

Dance/NYC’s Executive Director Alejandra Duque Cifuentes welcomed more than 75 leading artists and patrons for dance and dance education for this annual event. Guests ranged from Thomas Bailey (President of Teachers College) to Michael Novak (Artistic Director of Paul Taylor Dance Foundation), from Robert Battle (Choreographer, Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) to David Ulbricht (New York City Ballet Principal).


Alejandra Duque Cifuentes (Executive Director, Dance/NYC), Jody Gottfried Arnhold, and Ayodele Casel (Choreographer; Dance/NYC Advisory Committee).

Jody Arnhold is a leading dance educator and advocate, producer of the Emmy-nominated documentary PS Dance!, founder of the Dance Education Laboratory at the 92nd Street Y, and serves on the Arts Advisory Committee for the New York City Department of Education (DOE), Co-Chair for the creation of the DOE Curriculum Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Dance, Chair of the Hunter College Dance Advisory Committee, and Advisory Committee of Dance/NYC. The Arnholds have provided leadership support for ALL ARTS, WNET’s unprecedented streaming platform and broadcast channel that offers access to all forms of creative expression from New York and around the world.


Alejandra Duque Cifuentes (Executive Director, Dance/NYC), Linda Shelton (Executive Director, The Joyce Theater), and Linda Stocknoff (Parsons Dance Vice President).
Andrea Miller (Artistic Director and Choreographer, Gallim Dance; Dance/NYC Advisory Committee), Robert Battle (Artistic Director and Choreographer, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater), David Parsons (Artistic Director and Choreographer, Parsons Dance), and Melinda Cloobeck.
Daniel Ulbricht (Principal, New York City Ballet), Erin Fogarty (Co-Founder, Dance Against Cancer), and Sascha Radetsky (Artistic Director, American Ballet Theatre Studio Company).
Jody Gottfried Arnhold, Aaron Glover, Brandi Stewart (Program Officer for the Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Dance/NYC Secretary), Harry P. Jones (Associate, Credit Suisse), and Elise King.
John Tomlinson (Executive Director, Paul Taylor Dance Foundation), Allen Greenberg (President, The Jerome Robbins Foundation), and Jeff Kazin (Co-Founder, THE BANG GROUP).
Judith R. Fishman (Mark Morris Dance Group Chairman), Alan H. Fishman (Ladder Capital Chairman), and Barbara Erin Delo.
Kathrin Heitmann (Dance/NYC Board), John Medina, and Michael Cataliotti (Dance/NYC Legal Committee).
Larry Keigwin (Artistic Director, KEIGWIN + COMPANY), Stephanie French, and Christian Keesee.
Pedro Ruiz, Amy Miller (Company Director, Gibney), Lane Harwell (Program Officer, Creativity and Free Expression, Ford Foundation), and Jina Paik (Director, Nonprofit Finance Fund; Dance/NYC Treasurer).
Scott Walker (Dance Patron), Carol Walker (Hunter College Dance Department Chair), and Michael Novak (Artistic Director, Paul Taylor Dance Foundation).
Stephanie Rowley, Jody Gottfried Arnhold, Thomas Bailey, and Carmenza Gallo.

Weill Cornell Medicine hosted their annual Healthy Living Symposium and reception to Palm Beach area residents on Monday, February 3 at The Breakers. The event, which attracted nearly 300 attendees, focused on strategies for wellness and aging. 

The symposium brings together leading physicians and scientists from Weill Cornell Medicine to speak about some of the most pressing health concerns of our time. These top-tier specialists share their knowledge and expertise with symposium attendees, providing strategies for disease prevention and practical information on how to lead a healthier life.


Dr. Hooman Kamel presenting.

The symposium was moderated by Weill Cornell’s Dean Augustine M.K. Choi and featured three expert speakers, including:

Ronald D. Adelman, MD, Successful Aging

Faith Gunning, PhD, Improving Mood and Cognition in Later Life

Hooman Kamel, MD, The Heart-Brain Connection


Dr. Hooman Kamel, Dean Augustine M.K. Choi, Dr. Faith Gunning, and Dr. Ronald Adelman.
Robert and Helen Appel.
Stuart Katz and Dr. Hooman Kamel.
Margrit Bessenroth-Lynn and Richard A. Lynn, MD.
Evelyn Lipper, MD and William Speck, MD.
Leonard and Fleur Harlan.
Edward and Sandra Meyer.
Gail and David M. Cohen.
Dean Augustine M.K. Choi and Dr. Mary Choi.
Audrey and Martin Gruss.
Donna Dodson and David Dodson, MD.

On January 27th, NewYork-Presbyterian hosted their annual “On the Frontiers of Medicine” symposium on high-tech therapies and compassionate patient care.

The event was led by Dr. Laura L. Forese, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of NewYork-Presbyterian, and Herbert Pardes, M.D., Executive Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of NewYork-Presbyterian. Dr. Katherine Heilpern, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center spoke about the NewYork-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns, set to open later this year, and featured presentations were made by Dr. Richard S. Isaacson, Dr. Nicole Lamanna, and Dr. Gail Saltz.

Attendees learned more about Alzheimer’s prevention, innovations in cancer care, and sexual health insights for women over 50.


Trustee Robert Wright and his wife Susan Wright, with Dr. Herbert Pardes.
Dr. Gail Saltz, Dr. Katherine L. Heilpern, Dr. Laura L. Forese, Dr. Nicole Lamanna, and Dr. Richard Isaacson.
Trustee Robert James and his wife Anne James.

Photographs by ©StudioBrooke (Weill Cornell); ©PATRICK MCMULLAN (Viennese Opera Ball); Christopher Duggan (DANCE/NYC); Jacek Gancarz (New York-Presbyterian).

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