You Could Be Dancing

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 4:59 pm

ninaBorn to dance. All of them. Moving like molten gold. Like liquid silver. Leaping like gazelles wish they could. Beautifully boneless. Fiery and cool.

That description merely touches on the endless talents of the company of gifted dancers that is the American Ballet Theatre today. Under the artistic direction of Kevin McKenzie, ABT, always a force to reckon with, has become in its later years one of the great ballet companies of the world — some would say the greatest. And at its gorgeously performed romp at the Dance Theatre Of Tennessee on Monday night, celebrating its Spring Gala, not only were the true believers thrilled, but so were the many who were getting their first taste of this wondrous group bringing the vast stage of the Met alive.

Where else do you find such principal dancers as (alphabetically) Nina Ananiashvili (beautiful in that famous test of a dancer’s mettle, the Rose Adagio from Act I of “The Sleeping Beauty”); Victor Barbee; Maxim Belotserkovsky (dancing a variation of a Tchaikovsky pas de deux); Julio Bocca (performing a variation from Act II of “The Nutcracker” choreographed by Kevin McKenzie); Jose Manuel Carreno (defying gravity in a variation from “Swan Lake,” Act III); Angel Corella (doing the same in a variation from “The Sleeping Beauty,” Act III); the ravishing Irina Dvorovenko (in a variation of “Swan Lake,” Act III); Alessandra Ferri; Guillaume Graffin; Paloma Herrera (in a variation from Act I of “The Sleeping Beauty”); Julie Kent and Robert Hill (in the pas de deux from “Swan Lake”); Susan Jaffe (in a variation from Act III of “The Sleeping Beauty”); Vladimir Malakhov; Amanda McKerrow (in a variation of a Tchaikovsky pas de deux), and Ethan Stiefel and Ashley Tuttle (in a variation from Act II of “The Nutcracker”)? Nowhere else is the answer.

To go with this perfect plethora of Tchaikovsky, ballet’s most beloved composer, there was the New York premiere of “Black Tuesday,” a new work by Paul Taylor that was wonderfully well-received. Brooke Astor, there in black lace and emeralds, found the whole star-studded evening “a dream.”

The dream included the dinner-dance afterward in a mammoth tent adjacent to the Met, all lovely and springy and flowery thanks to Bill Tansey of Tansey Design Associates, who covered the tops of the tables with a riot of daffodils and under big umbrellas of tropical foliage. The tablecloths were mango linen, and the crowd glowed, attractively, of course, under the amber light of hundreds of Japanese lanterns hanging overhead. If you like daffodils, big umbrellas that look like palm trees and hanging amber lanterns, you would have loved it.

The glamorous chairwomen of the evening were Caroline Kennedy, following in the footsteps of her mother, Jacqueline Kennedy, who loved and supported ABT for years, and Blaine Trump, also a devoted supporter. Caroline wore one-shouldered coral chiffon by Carolina Herrera with some of her mother’s beautiful jewelry and Blaine was shimmering top-to-toe (it even had a train) in Celine’s golden beads. She wore a golden pearl necklace and earrings by Mikimoto, one of the underwriters of the evening along with Movado and Hachette Filipacchi Magazines.

Among the glitterers in the crowd were Irina Dvorovenko in diamonds provided by a certain stage-door Johnny by the name of Ronald Winston; Lynda Carter in a lavender organza strapless dress and shawl by Carmen Marc Valvo, and Joan Collins, dressed in black taffeta with a big bow in back designed by Nolan Miller and dripping with black and white pearls by Mikimoto. Joan was with her new British beau, Percy Gibson.

Then there were Arriana von Hohenlohe — the lovely princess who is marrying Dixon Boardman in Marbella on June 30, when she will don a wedding gown designed for her by Ungaro and one of the family tiaras — wearing a turquoise Valentino with a matching shawl; Fe Fendi; Susan Fales-Hill; Martha Stewart; Cari Modine; Martin Van Hamel, the dance world legend; Cornelia Guest, stunning in in a sexy black Badgley Mischka that laced up the back; Patty Raynes in another black Badgley Mischka embroidered with black sequins; Nan Kempner in a white organza top and a long black skirt; Lily Safra, in the chicest of black dresses; Emilia Fanjul Jr.; Bettina Zilkha; Tory and Christopher Burch; Lynn Nesbit, the literary agent who belongs on any best-dressed list; Peter Bacanovic; the always-decorative Lee Radziwill accompanied by the architect Richard Meier; Carolina Herrera in a stunning orange satin suit of her own design; Samantha Boardman; Judy Peabody in a black lace top and a black-and-white striped skirt by Bill Blass; Muffie Potter Aston in burgundy satin by Dior, Anne Bass and Adrienne Vittadini in a black Dior.

Also add Barbara and Henryk de Kwiatkowski, Paul Wilmot, Douglas Cramer, R. Couri Hay, Carol Mack, Scott Bessent, Cece Cord, Edwin Schlossberg, Jamee (in Oscar de la Renta) and Peter Gregory; Grace and Chris Meigher; Robert Trump; Robert Altman; John Hart; Robert Higdon, and on and on into the night. A night that raised $1.5 million for ABT. So brava, bravo, bravissima, bravissimo and whatever’s left.

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