Friday, October 21, 2016

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

American Ballet Theatre 2016 Fall Gala

New ballet Daphnis and Chloe
All photos Lieba Nesis
(Click images for full size views)

The American Ballet Theatre held its annual Fall Gala on October 20, 2016 with the performance beginning at 6:30 PM at the David H. Koch Theater. This year I had a front row seat.

Calvin Klein

I was able to view all the luminaries entering including: Linda Fargo, Brooke Shields, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Star Jones, Hamish Bowles, Deeda Blair, Amy Fine Collins, Joanna Fisher, Julianna Margulies, Calvin Klein, David and Julia Koch, Peggy Siegal and so many others.

Brooke Shields

I wondered when the last time Brooke Shields and Calvin Klein were in the same room, but tonight there was a lot coming between Brooke and her Calvins and that included some great dancing.

Michael and Shirley Weil

The evening started with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School (JKO) and the ABT Studio Company wowing the audience with their youthful agility and professionalism in Alexei Ratmansky's "Rondo Capriccioso".

Amy Fine Collins, Joanna Fisher and Hamish Bowles

It started with a young dancer peering into a mirror and viewing her older self. The music was sparse but the dancing was multifaceted, and the crowd reacted enthusiastically when the four and six year olds moved across the stage.

Socialite Deeda Blair

Up close I was able to view every sinewy muscle on the dancers' bodies and I noticed many were more voluptuous than in past years-stick thin is no longer in.

George Condo and principal dancer Stella Abrera

After this Act, there was a pause and dancers Marcelo Gomes and Gillian Murphy gave a speech congratulating the JKO school on its' twelfth anniversary and thanking American Airlines and Northern Trust for being the leading sponsors of the School.

Misty Copeland

They then introduced the next piece "Symphonic Variations" which was choreographed by Frederick Ashton and notified us that the six dancers performing would be on stage for the entire 18 minutes.

Star Jones, Chair Sutton Stracke in Dolce and Jennifer Tilly in Dolce

This was no easy feat but Misty Copeland, James Whiteside, Jeffrey Cirio, Devon Teuscher, Skylar Brandt, and Craig Salstein performed with ease although I was able to see them sweat and breathe heavily-thankfully, none of the droplets hit me.

Christian Zimmermann, Keith Lieberthal, Julianna Margulies
 and Richard Kielar

During intermission I spoke to actress Julianna Margulies, who was taking a break from her television show "The Good Wife". Margulies is more radiant than in her ER days, which she attributes to living in New York where she enjoys watching and observing others, something necessary for her craft and which she couldn't do in Los Angeles.

Anka Palitz and Musical Director Ormsby Wilkins

Margulies was thin and statuesque in a black and white Herrera and confided that she loves riding the New York subway when she goes to see Shakespeare in the Park. Her husband, Keith, is a dead ringer for Matt Bomer and the two of them met inadvertently at a dinner party.

Choreographer Benjamin Millepied

As the harpsichord rang, we were told to find our seats and treated to the Company Premiere of "Daphnis and Chloe" which was choreographed by Benjamin Millepied, husband of Natalie Portman, and danced beautifully by Stella Abrera, Cory Stearns and James Whiteside. Abrera, who has been with ABT for 20 years, told me she practices five hours a day during the season and tries to eat food that energizes her while sneaking in some CrossFit sessions.

DiMondo in Gucci and Fe Fendi in Roland Mouret

"Daphnis and Chloe" was given its World Premiere at the Paris Opera Ballet in 2014 and was designed in one movement with three parts. This piece was inspired by the Greek novel by Longus and tells of Daphnis discovering his love for Chloe ending with the young lovers reuniting.

Editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest Amy Astley, with dancer Isabella Boylston
 and artist George Condo

This was a lovely and understated premiere, finishing with the dancers in bright blue, green, yellow and orange costumes.

Lauren Santo Domingo, Hamish Bowles and Linda Fargo

At the conclusion of the ballet, guests headed to the ornately decorated second floor for some delectable food and dancing. I spotted a dashing man, named Carlos Souza, who has been Valentino's Brand Ambassador for 35 years.  Souza was excitedly recounting the rave reviews Valentino recently received for its Paris presentation.

Peggy Siegal and Valentino Brand Ambassador Carlos Souza

Souza met Valentino when he was modeling for him many decades ago and he continues to be an integral part of the brand. As the DJ began playing tunes, Souza and his compatriots danced enthusiastically with the crowd of prima ballerinas and moguls participating - another remarkable night in the City of New York.

- Lieba Nesis

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