Friday, May 05, 2017

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

New York City Ballet Spring Gala Raises $2 Million

Judy and Howard Berkowitz, Leonard Lauder, Randall Bourscheidt,
and Josef Asteinza
All photos: Lieba Nesis

The New York City Ballet (NYCB) held its Spring gala on Thursday May 4, 2017 with cocktails beginning at 5:30 PM and the performance starting at 7. This event gathers the elite of New York with this year's attendees including: Emily and Len Blavatnik, Leonard Lauder, Julia Koch, Jill Kargman, Lesley Stahl, Deborah Norville, Jean Shafiroff, Lucia Hwong Gordon, Indre Rockefeller, Amy Astley, and Vanessa Williams.

Carlos Souza, Charlene de Ganay, Valentino and Bruce Hoeksema.

And let's not forget the Valentino conglomerate with Carlos Souza, Charlene de Ganay, Giancarlo Giammetti, Bruce Hoeksema and the King himself-Valentino gracing the evening. I have seen Carlos, Giancarlo, Bruce and Valentino twice this past week and these four are enchanting. Each one has movie star looks coupled with impeccable sartorial choices.

Jennifer Creel, Jill Roosevelt and Mary Elizabeth Snow

Carlos Souza is a publicity mastermind who has been with Valentino for four decades and was the genius who put Julia Roberts in her iconic black and white Valentino Oscar gown in 2001. He is Brazilian born and has a mesmerizing charisma that Andy Warhol took notice of in the 70's.

Darci Kistler and artistic director Peter Martins

His best friend, Valentino, is a great supporter of the ballet and designed the costumes for the gala in September 2012. Tonight Valentino told me he loved the costumes in the first act, designed by Ian Falconer, appreciating the patchwork ensembles of the men more than the clover leotards and skirts of the woman.

Marcia Mishaan, Frederic Fekkai, Shirin von Wulffen and Richard Mishaan

Indeed the first act entitled "Jeu de Cartes", with choreography by Peter Martins, was a crowd pleaser with the male leads of Joseph Gordon, Aaron Sanz and Harrison Ball doing pirouettes that were astounding.

Deborah Norville, Karl Wellner, John and Kristin Clarke

After a quick pause, we were treated to "After the Rain" a piece choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon with dancers Maria Kowroski and ASK la Cour performing a pas de deux which received thunderous applause from the audience. Kowroski was dressed in a simple blush leotard and la Cour was shirtless-it was the sheer grace and flexibility of these two dancers that captivated the attendees.

Jean Shafiroff, Victor de Souza, Pete de Florio
and Principal dancer Ashley Bouder

The next act was a Tschaikovsky Pas de deux executed impeccably by Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette. Bouder jumped into Veyette's arms twice leaving the audience gasping with delight. This eight-minute act was a display of flawless bravura and technique.

Amy Astley editor-in-chief of Architectural digest and Indre Rockefeller

Again, the costumes by Karinska were sparse allowing the dancer's movements to take center stage. The last act "Odessa", choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, was reminiscent of "West Side Story" possessing a boundless energy and excitement.

Dancer Tiler Peck and Charlene de Ganay

This is the fifth work Ratmansky has created for NYCB-the other four will be revisited this spring. Ratmansky enjoys tailoring his work to specific dancers and tonight was no exception. This ballet featured 18 dancers, and was based on Isaac Babel's tales of Jewish gangsters. Each of the dancers executed their movements exquisitely and the colorful costumes were in nice contrast to the more demure attire of the other acts.

Alex Waterbury, Chase Finlay and Zachary Katazaro

At the conclusion of the ballet, I noticed there were four acts with no intermissions-allowing the performance to be completed at the hour of 8:30 PM. This was a clever move by Martins because it allowed the dinner to commence early pleasing some older patrons.

The dinner

The dinner which was held on the second floor of the David H. Koch Theater was sponsored by Cartier and featured spectacular decor of trees, greenery and flowers in honor of the Here/Now festival.

Jill Kargman in Chanel

The festival pays homage to works created for NYCB post-Balanchine and runs from April 25 to May 21. For four weeks the Company dances 43 ballets created expressly for NYCB by 22 choreographers from 1988 to the present.

Giancarlo Giammetti, dancer Tiler Peck wearing Valentino and Valentino

The festival allows dancers to survey their influence and view what they have helped create over the years. After announcing that $2 million was raised, Peter Martins, spoke about the upcoming festival, thanking the dancers and choreographers for their hard work as guests dined on lobster salad and sea bass.

Dancer Lauren Lovette and Barton Cowperthwaite

As the DJ began spinning tunes much of the crowd began leaving-receiving a Cartier bag possessing nondescript stationery on their way out.  The jewels of this evening turned out to be the unforgettable memories.

- Lieba Nesis

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