2010 March 2

Ballet Lessons

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Kelly Rutherford in Carolina Herrera and Van Cleef & Arpels, Stacey Bendet Eisner Kelly Rutherford in Carolina Herrera and Van Cleef & Arpels, Stacey Bendet Eisner
Patrick McMullan
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(NEW YORK) Longtime ballet supporters and neophytes alike flocked to the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center last night for the School of American Ballet’s Winter Ball. Ladies sashayed through the hall, cocktail glasses clinking as the smartly-suited men dodged flowing hemlines and layers of tulle. Chairman Pamela Joyner, recently appointed by President Obama to the committee of Arts and Humanities, effused, “This is a veritable manufacturing plant of ballet dancers!” An ardent supporter of dance, chairman Elizabeth Miller seconded this emotion, explaining, “When you go to the school and watch the classes, you see such dedication from the students. When I watch a ballet it just looks like they are all defying gravity.”

Van Cleef & Arpels, the evening’s sponsor, was responsible for the night’s resplendent glow. Gillian Miniter keenly observed, “There’s a whole lot of bling in this room.” Before dinner, Paul McCartney sailed in, joining the evening’s festivities in full support of the cause. One guest whispered, “I think it would be hard to be Paul McCartney’s date. You stand there in a gorgeous gown, but the whole time the photographers are snapping pictures of Paul!” After cocktails, the crowd shuffled into the dining room for a meal of asparagus salad and roasted chicken, while Al Roker and Deborah Roberts served as masters of ceremony. Then the dancers emerged, regaling the crowd with a performance as guests indulged in lemon meringue tarts.

While ballerinas filled the room, designers, models and actors revealed their hidden ballet backgrounds. Dayle Haddon brought her expertise to the event, explaining, “I have a strong connection because I’ve been involved in the Canadian ballet for years. I love pas de deux, and I also like isolated, singular dances.” Kelly Rutherford remembered dance recitals as a young girl, but divulged that she hasn’t frequented the ballet as much as she would like. “Being from Los Angeles we didn’t go very often. There are a lot of things in New York that I’m doing now that I didn’t do before. There’s so much culture here. I always say, thank goodness for Disney Hall in L.A.” Rebecca Minkoff, a dedicated dancer before she was a designer, laughed, “I was too tall! In pointe shoes I was like 6’2" and the dudes were all shorter. No one could partner with me during shows. So I ended up hanging backstage and learning from the costume designer.” After the ballet performance, the tempo quickly changed, as Motown music blared and everyone took to the stage and spent the remainder of the evening dancing.

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