Galas, anniversaries, and tributes

Featured image
The Grand Defile at Youth America Grand Prix’s annual “Stars of Today Meets the Stars of Tomorrow” Gala.

Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) held their annual “Stars of Today Meets the Stars of Tomorrow” Gala at Lincoln Center on Thursday April 18th. The 20th Anniversary Gala featured talented young finalists of YAGP’s 2019 ballet scholarship competition sharing the program with today’s most prominent international ballet stars.

The evening started with over 400 YAGP dancers, ages 9-19, fluttering across the stage in the Grand Defile.

Then came the much anticipated World Premiere of Porte Rouge; a collaboration by Mick Jagger and Melanie Hamrick. The Rolling Stones provided music (Sympathy for the DevilShe’s A Rainbow, Paint It Black), orchestrated by Mick Jagger. Choreography by Melanie Hamrick and Joanna DeFelice. Melanie’s American Ballet Theatre colleagues – dancers Skylar Brandt, Thomas Forster, Sung Woo Han, Herman Cornejo, Calvin Royal III, and Christine Shevchenko, as well as New York City Ballet’s Daniel Ulbricht – performed. Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger joined Melanie backstage in the wings to watch the premiere.

Olga Smirnova and Kimin Kim from Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet and Mariisnky Ballet (respectively) stole the show with Black Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake. YAGP proudly discovered Kimin, who is now arguably today’s best male ballet dancer.

In a emotional moment between dances, Cicely Tyson graced the stage with YAGP Board Member B Michael, and Calvin Royal III, to honor the late Arthur Mitchell, sharing, “I knew Arthur for more years than I can remember” and spoke movingly about the creation of Dance Theatre of Harlem out of the tragedy of Martin Luther King’s assassination, and with the blessing of his mentor, George Balanchine.  Calvin Royal III explained that both Cicely and Arthur we’re his role models and dedicated his performance to Arthur Mitchell.

Calvin Royal III, Cicely Tyson, and B Michael.

The dedication was followed by Dying Swan, which featured Bolshoi Ballet’s Olga Smirnova performing the classical version of the piece with Mikhail Fokine’s choreography, while American Ballet Theatre’s Calvin Royal III danced a contemporary piece d’occasion, choreographed by Juliano Nunes, and Camille Saint-Saëns’ music, played live by pianist Micah McLaurin.

YAGP alumni concluded the show with American Ballet Theatre’s Skylar Brandt, Isabella Boylston, Christine Shevchenko, Mariinsky Ballet’s Kimin Kim, Finnish National Ballet’s Rebecca King and Houston Ballet’s Tyler Donatelli performing Don Quixote Jubilee, set to choreography by Marius Petipa and Ludwig Minkus’ music. 

Following the exciting program was a Gala Dinner, honoring Marcella Guarino Hymowitz, on the promenade of the David H. Koch Theater. Dinner co-chairs included Marcella Guarino Hymowitz along with Rebecca Hessel Cohen, Candice Miller, Colby Mugrabi, Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Lesley Thompson Vecsler, and Annelise Peterson Winter.

One of a kind Tutu’s by The Row, Carolina Hererra, and MONSE.

Marcella is also spearheading Beautiful At The Ballet; a new initiative where one-of-a-kind ballet tutus are auctioned off to help talented young artists realize their dream of a professional dance career. Tutu creations by fashion houses Carolina Herrera, MONSE, and The Row were on display at the Gala. The tutus are for auction online at and will close on April 25th at 3:00pm.

YAGP Board Member Barbara Brandt and YAGP Founder Larissa Saveliev surprised Marcella with a framed piece of sheet music from “She’s A Rainbow” signed by Mick Jagger and Melanie Hamrick.

A live auction also took place during the dinner with auctioneer Harry Santa-Olalla from Givergy who danced his way around the room, encouraging guests. A bidding war broke out between Olivier Sarkozy and Andrew Martin Weber over a Ruinart At Home Champagne tasting. As the evening went on, guests were encouraged by young ballet dancers, dressed in signature tutus from fashion label Loveshack Fancy, to get on the dance floor and show off some dance moves. The tables were dressed in kiwi branches with black calla lilies and pink fabric table runners. 

Guests included Janet Montgomery from NBC’s New AmsterdamSomething Navy’s Arielle Charnas, Oliver Sarkozy with daughter Margot Sarkozy, Mary McFadden, Joanna Fisher, Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens, Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky, DanceMedia owner Fred Seegal, Allyson Tang, Anne Hamrick, ABT’s Stella Abrera, Yaz and Valentine Hernandez, Libbie Mugrabi, Amy Fine Collins, Andrew Martin Weber, Beverly D’Anne, ABT’s Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside, as well as YAGP Founders Larissa and Gennadi Saveliev, YAGP Board Chair Linda K. Morse and YAGP Board Members Barbara and Gary BrandtJudith M. Hoffman, B Michael, Howard Paley, Margot and Alan LondonSergey Gordeev, Suzanne Hall, Christina Lyon, Ellen Mondshine, Richard Osterweil, and Hee Seo.

YAGP is the world’s largest global dance network, connecting dance students, teachers, schools, companies, alumni, sponsors, dancers and choreographers with audiences around the world. 

This year, in 2019, YAGP is celebrating its 20th Anniversary Season. Over these past 20 years, over $4 million has been presented at YAGP in scholarships to the world’s leading dance schools, with up to $500,000 now awarded annually. Since YAGP’s founding in 1999, over 100,000 young dancers – ages 9 to 19 – of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds have participated in YAGP’s international workshops, audition classes, and dance awareness events. Today, more than 12,000 young dancers audition annually. More than 450 Youth America Grand Prix alumni are now dancing with 80 professional companies around the world, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet and many others. Over 100 of these alumni are soloists and principal dancers. 

Larissa Saveliev is the Founder and Artistic Director YAGP. Larissa trained at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow and toured throughout the world, before emigrating to the United States in 1995.

Annelise Peterson Winter, Candice Miller, Lesley Thompson Vecsler, Marcella Guarino Hymowitz, Ashley Olsen, Mary Kate Olsen, and Rebecca Hessel Cohen.
Melanie Hamrick with YAGP Participants.
L. to r.: YAGP Board Chair Linda Morse and YAGP Board Member Richard Osterweil; YAGP Board Members Barbara Brandt and Gary Brandt.
YAGP Board Member Sergey Gordeev, YAGP Founder Larissa Saveliev, Irina Dvorovenko, and Maxim Beloserkovsky.
L. to r.: YAGP Board Member Judith Hoffman and pianist Micah McLaurin; Jean Shafiroff and Libbie Mugrabi.
Karen LeFrak and Juliano Nunes.
L. to r.: Amy Fine Collins; Margot Sarkozy and Oliver Sarkozy.
Pauline Reyniak and Allyson Tang.
L. to r.: Candice Miller and Arielle Charnas; Christina Lyon and Stella Abrera.
Susan Gutfreund, Calvin Royal III, and Joanna Fisher.
Anne Hamrick and Margot Sarkozy.

On Saturday, April 13th, the Metropolitan Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. celebrated the Chapter’s 80th Anniversary. Jack and Jill was formed in 1938 and is a membership organization of African American mothers with children ages 2-19, dedicated to nurturing future African American leaders by strengthening children in the areas of leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving and civic duty.  

The gala and fundraiser brought together 450 guests to raise funds for the Boost NYC Scholarship and Jack and Jill of America Foundation. The Boost NYC Scholarship launched in 2016 and provides funding and mentorship to non-member, college matriculated students, assisting them with expenses that may not be covered through typical college tuition assistance programs.

Metropolitan Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

The Jack and Jill Foundation of America supports STEM skill development, literacy and college preparation, and has a “vision to transform the lives of African American communities, one child at a time.”  Maurice DuBois and Renee Elise Goldsberry emceed the event where Michael Beal, Loida Nicolas Lewis and Christine M. Govan were honored.

Guests included:  Kathleen Tait, Terrence Weber, Charlita Cardwell and Martez Moore, Darryl Gay and Carmen Walker-Gay, Reginald Van Lee, Barbara and James Scott, Ashley Alston and Stratford Dennis, Michele and Joseph Brazil, Monica Azare and David Davenport, Susan Austin, Maria Perez and Keith Brown, Harriett Cole, Darice and Toyin Fadeyi, Kimberly Ayers Shariff, Erica and Kevin Liles, and Miriam Raccah.

Ashley Alston, Maria Perez-Brown, Monica Azare Davenport, Barbara Scott, and Michele Brazil.
Miriam Raccah, Barbara Scott, and James Scott.
Monica Azare Davenport and Martez R. Moore.
L. to r.: Darrell Gay and Carmen Walker-Gay; Ashley Alston and Michele Brazil.
Harriette Cole and George Chinsee.
Erika Liles and Marilyn Crawford.
LaShann DeArcy Hall and David Davenport.
Loida Nicolas-Lewis and Kim Ayers Shariff.
Maurice DuBois and Renee Elise Goldsberry.
The Fadeyi table.

On Thursday, April 18, East Side House Settlement (ESH) once again partnered with the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA) to host the 20th Anniversary Gala Preview of the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).

Attracting more than 1,400 guests, the annual event was an exclusive preview night for car enthusiasts with the proceeds benefiting ESH, a community-based non-profit organization that provides educational and economic opportunity for some of New York City’s most vulnerable communities. The event raised more than $1.1 million. This year, ESH honored Manhattan Motorcars’ Dealer Principal and GNYADA Board Member Brian Miller with the Champion for Excellence Award for his longtime support of the organization and Gala Preview night. For the second consecutive year, Porsche Cars North America was the Official Car Sponsor. Ryan Field, WABC Channel 7 Sports Anchor, served as the evening’s emcee.

ESH students with a Porsche GT2 RS, which was auctioned off at the end of the evening.

As ESH and GNYADA celebrated this 20-year partnership of the Gala Preview night, guests were given a rare and exclusive opportunity to view the NYIAS before it opened to the public and included a high-octane cocktail reception, private dinner for sponsors and benefactors, exciting live and silent auctions. In addition, the first-ever Porsche Conversation with Racing Legends took place featuring drivers Jeff Zwart and David Donohue, moderated by Aurora Straus, 20 year old race car driver and Harvard student. The evening was capped off with the riveting auction of a Porsche GT2 RS, valued at over $300,000. Event sponsors included: Willowbridge Associates, Inc, KCL Capital L.P., Monticello Motor Club, Classic Car Club Manhattan, Drive Coffee, Hudson Stables, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Carlsberg, and LBV.

Over the past 20 years, this event has welcomed 20,000 guests and raised more than $12.5 million for ESH programs and initiatives. 

North America’s first and largest-attended auto show, the NYIAS showcases the incredible automotive technological advances taking place in the industry and celebrates the latest vehicles available at dealerships today. The show also includes a huge collection of concept cars, elegant classics and exciting exotic vehicles.

L. to r.: Daniel Diaz, Marysol Castro, and Ryan Field; James Brolin.

Notable Attendees included Ryan Field (WABC), Marysol Castro (NY Mets announcer), Brian Miller (honoree), Daniel Diaz (Executive Director, ESH), Mark Schienberg (President, GNYADA), Thomas Remien (President, ESH Board of Managers), David Donahue, Aurora Straus, Jeff Zwart, James Brolin (actor), Philip L. Yang, Jr. (Gala co-chair), Christopher LaSusa (Gala co-chair), Hugh Hildesley (auctioneer), Eric and Coco Wittenberg, Alice Jump, Jonathan Lloyd Jones, Alex Grappo, Raina Seitel (correspondent, NY Live), Tom Murro, Emeka Okafor (former NBA player), Shea Marie, Andres Fanjul, Magnus Walker, Sam Dangremond, Claudio Del Vecchio, and Honorary Committee members Ethan and Ryan Hawke.

East Side House Settlement is a non-profit social services agency that provides educational and economic opportunity for some of New York City’s most vulnerable communities since establishing on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in 1891 and moving to the South Bronx in 1963. Recognizing education as the key to economic and civic opportunity, East Side House Settlement helps approximately 10,000 individuals improve their lives each year through programs ranging from early childhood education, college and career readiness for young adults, and workforce development. They enrich, supplement and enhance the New York City Education system and place post-secondary options within reach of students. ESH provides workforce development and career readiness training infused with technology to enable community participants to improve their economic status and lead more fulfilling lives.

To learn more, visit

Matt Jones, Andy Smith, Jen LaSusa, and Shannon Smith.
L. to r.: David Donohue, Aurora Strauss, and Jeff Zwart; Emeka and Ilana Okafor.
Lisa Stelmaszyk, Jason Stelmaszyk, Robert Allen, and Kathryn Allen.
L. to r.: Sam Dangremond and Catherine Smith; Philip Yang and Chris LaSusa.
Brittany Crowell, Nelson Hawks, Rebecca Garcia, Jay Hector, and Tiffany Hilton.
Eric Wittenberg, Alex Grappa, and Jonathan Lloyd-Jones.
Andres Fanjul, Shea Marie, Brittany Seider, and Alex Ciccolo.

On April 13th, The Box in NYC hosted a sold out night full of live entertainment including an art performance by ​NOISE​ client and renowned artist and architect, ​Michel Abboud​, who painted to the operatic sounds from Verdi’s La Traviata by the stars of the ​Metropolitan Opera National Council​.​ There were 350+ attendees with all proceeds from the night benefiting ​The Sing For Hope Foundation​, an organization activating creativity in schools, hospitals, and public spaces for millions of people worldwide.

Michel Abboud​.

The benefit was presented by ​Michel Abboud​, ​Anna Zarro​, and​ FAYMOUS​ productions. Michel Abboud’s effortless live art performance took the gaze of every single guest from the beginning of the night until the very end. Michel’s blank canvas developed into a beautiful abstract masterpiece, with vibrant hues of blue, yellow, and red. H​is piece was auctioned off for over $15,000; an anonymous donor doubled the offer to $30,000, which all benefited the Sing For Hope Foundation.

The magnificent opera singers from the night featured ​Inna Dukach as Violetta, Roy Hage as Alfredo, and Paul La Rosa as Germont.​ Other cast members included Emily Misch, Terrance Chin-Joy, Jessica Fishenfeld, Alaysha Fox, Jorell Williams, and Maya Yahav Gour.

L. to r.: Camille Zamora, co-founder Sing for Hope; Inna Dukach.
Inna Dukach and Roy Hage.
Alaysha Fox.
Jessica Fishenfeld.
Jorell Williams.
Roy Hage.
Paul La Rosa.
Roy Hage, Michel Abboud, Inna Dukach, and Paul La Rosa.

Photos by Patrick McMullan (YAGP); Annie Watt (Jack and Jill); Benjamin Lozovsky,, & Vladimir Weinstein (ESH)

Recent Posts