(photos: Julie Skarratt )
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Ballet Hispanico (www.ballethispanico.org) held its annual black tie Spring Gala on Monday evening at the Plaza Hotel’s Grand Ballroom. Now in its 20th year, the evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing had at its theme “Community Partnerships through the Arts”. The Ford Foundation was honored with the Civic Inspiration Award, and in the words of Kate Lear, Chair of Ballet Hispanico’s Board of Directors, they are “a champion among our supporters and an organization truly committed to building vibrant communities through the arts.”
|John and Jody Ahnold|
The event was headed by Event Chairs Jody and John Arnhold, Kate Lear and Jonathan LaPook, David Pérez and Milena Alberti, and Randy and Susan Falco. The Gala Honorary Committee is co-chaired by designer Angel Sanchez and Telemundo COO Jacqueline Hernández. Proceeds, which totaled over $1 million, benefit the creation of new Company works, need-based financial aid and merit scholarships in the Ballet Hispanico School of Dance, and community arts education programs.
|Ballet Hispanico Dancers|
And it was certainly a feast for the ears and the eyes. Attendees were entertained with music from two time Grammy winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra, performances by the Ballet Hispanico Company and students of the Ballet Hispanico School of Dance, and were given a sneak peek of original costumes created by Angel Sanchez for El Beso (The Kiss). Choreographed by Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, it will kick off the new season and runs from April 15 – 27th at the Joyce Theatre.
|Angel Sanchez, Diana DiMenna, Eduardo Vilaro|
While the Venezuelan born fashion designer and CFDA member has designed ballet costumes in his native home, this is the first time he has done so here. His eveningwear and bridal lines, known for being dramatic, feminine, and architectural, put an emphasis on form and structure (not surprising since his first love was architecture) and have captivated his devoted clients and fans which include Giselle Bundchen, Taylor Swift, Salma Hayek, Eva Longoria, and Sandra Bullock.
"Black and White Carpet"
(Photos: Laurel Marcus)
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Capturing the rare unguarded red carpet celebrity moment is something that photographer Stephane Kossmann could publish a book on. Actually, make that two books. Last night I attended the opening exhibition of 27 of his black and white photos on display at FIAF Gallery at the French Institute/ Alliance Francaise ( 22 East 60th Street). The exhibit shares the name of one of his publications: "Black and White Carpet" and is open from Wednesday, April 9 through Saturday, June 14. The Franco-German Kossmann who splits his time between New York and Paris, is well-known for his more than 26 years of photos of the stars at the Cannes Film Festival whether he shoots them ascending the steps of the Palais or even better, as they alight from their cars.
Unlike the paparazzi, Kossman does not call out the celebrity's name in an effort to get them to turn to face him; he prefers a sideways or three-quarter shot. "I think it is much more interesting than when they look into the camera," he has said in French. He works in natural light without a flash and always in black and white to attain those fleeting and spontaneous moments which other photographers don't attempt to capture. Often these photos are close up head shots rather than the typical red carpet full length fashion shots and are much more intimate than their posed counterparts.
On display at the exhibit are a mix of foreign stars and Americans: everyone from Angelina Jolie to Isabelle Huppert, from Sean Penn to Jean-Paul Belmondo, Julianne Moore to Catherine Deneuve. Sadly, one of Kossmann's most iconic photos, one of Madonna in a car, is not on view in this collection however his photo of Nicole Kidman was being widely praised by attendees (many French speaking). His work is so well regarded that during the 2004 and 2005 festivals several of his photos were featured on 100-square-meter posters throughout the city in a show of gratitude by the mayor and citizens of Cannes. At the exhibit all prints are for sale ranging from $2,000 to $8,000 depending on size.
Kossman was born in Tours, France and first studied photography at the Rencontres internationales de la Photographie d'Arles. There he met the man who became his mentor, world-renowned photographer Peter Knapp. Kossman went to work for the magazine "7 a Paris" and in 1989 he was appointed to coverage of the Cannes Film Festival. His editorial clients include Elle, Vogue, Marie-Claire, Gala and Studio. He has done advertising for Chopard, Nike, Harry Winston, Ralph Lauren, Renault Nissan and de Grisogono. His other book is entitled "Observations sur les marches de Cannes" (Observations on the stairs at Cannes). His portfolio of work includes four series: "Observations", "Cross", "Duo", and "Time." Since 2009 he has organized an open air exhibit of international photographers every July, in his hometown of Pierrevert featuring the work of 50 photographers projected on a big screen.