Not even the threat of a nor’easter could put a damper on the American Ballet Theatre’s fall gala.
Tuesday night’s gala, held in-person at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater, presented an opportunity for guests to lean back into the familiarity of black-tie extravagance, at long last.
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Jean Shafiroff delivered in a dramatic Oscar de la Renta gown. “I went into the store and I just fell in love with this dress and I said, I’m buying it. And I know I’m going to have to eat peanut butter sandwiches for a long time, but I love the dress and I just thought it was fantastic for the ballet,” said Shafiroff, making her way from the red carpet to find her seat inside the theater. “I believe in taking chances, and you wear what you love. I have a gown collection that I’ll give to a museum one day, and I thought that this would make a good addition to that collection.”
Brooke Shields, who was dressed in a red sequined gown, posed on the theater’s marble steps with Ali Wentworth, also in red. Jordan Roth, donning a fringed jacket, walked the carpet with husband Richie Jackson, followed shortly by artist Sheree Hovsepian and TooD makeup founder Shari Siadat. Wes Gordon, who designed the costumes for Jessica Lang’s new ballet “ZigZag,” was clustered with husband Paul Arnhold and Tommy Dorfman before the performance’s world premiere.
“So fun, so high-energy,” said Gordon of Lang’s ballet. “I think Jessica is the most brilliant choreographer, and so to work with her on this piece was such an honor.”
The evening kicked off with a performance featuring three dances created during quarantine “ballet bubble” residencies, followed by the premiere of “ZigZag,” set to songs recorded by Tony Bennett. Theater producer and ABT trustee Jenna Segal, introduced by Misty Copeland, was honored with The Melville Straus Leadership Achievement Award.
“In the early days of the pandemic, we learned to Zoom just like everyone else, taking daily ballet class in our living rooms and kitchens — helpful, but I must tell you, not really fun. Then we sequestered together in small groups in our ballet bubbles in isolated locations to quarantine and create new works,” said Copeland, onstage before the performances. “And it turned out to be a period of remarkable creativity, with 22 new works created.”
Afterward, guests including Victor Glemaud (who designed costumes for the night’s first performance, Lauren Lovette’s “La Follia Variations”), Ariana Rockefeller, Randi Zuckerberg, Diane Kruger and Eric Rutherford headed to the second-floor promenade, where the gala celebrations continued with a seated dinner.
Lexie Moreland for WWD
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Launch Gallery: American Ballet Theatre's Fall 2021 Gala