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Bettina's Take: School of American Ballet's Winter Ball


Chelsea Clinton Marc Mezvinsky School of American Ballet Winter Ball

The School of American Ballet held its annual Winter Ball on March 14 at the David H. Koch Theater. The dancers are young, beautiful, wide-eyed, and disciplined. No feathers growing on their backs; no mental illness, enlarged pupils, or self-mutilation à la Black Swan on these teenage mobile works of art. Just fluttery, graceful performances.

Many black tie–clad ballet fans and supporters came to appreciate and applaud the prima ballerinas of the future, who hope to transition into New York City Ballet's outstanding company.

The life of a student includes hours of practice in addition to regular schoolwork. The young dancers are completely devoted to their craft, and it showed when they danced "Pièce de Résistance," specially choreographed for the evening by New York City Ballet soloist Adam Hendrickson, to perfection.

As guests gathered for drinks, I spotted multiple Tony award–winning choreographer Susan Stroman, who will be presenting a Duke Ellington–themed ballet with NYCB on May 25, For the Love of Duke.

"It's all Duke Ellington music. The dancers are not only beautifully classically trained, but they understand jazz music too. It's a wonderful combination of their classical technique to the Duke Ellington music, and it's very exciting," she said.

Artistic director and faculty chairman Peter Martins was excited to share plans for the upcoming NYCB spring gala with longtime patrons Laura and Will Zeckendorf. "Paul McCartney will be choreographing it," he said.

McCartney is, by all accounts, deeply passionate about this project. Elsewhere in the room, there were rumors his daughter Stella McCartney will be doing the costumes. "Who said that?" you ask. If I told you, I'd have to kill you.

As we were about to climb the stairs to dinner, I spotted Chelsea Clinton, who is known to be a ballet aficionado. I politely asked for a quote from her about the evening. "I don't speak to the press," she said emphatically. Well, Chelsea, there's my quote.

My dinner partners, including Jill and Harry Kargman, Coco and Arie Kopelman, Alexandra Lebenthal and Jay Diamond, were all charmed by the light-as-air performance. I was especially thrilled to see these ultra-disciplined boys and girls let loose on the dance floor after dinner with expressions of pure joy on their faces. They were doing what they love to do: dance.

Photo: Chelsea Clinton and husband Marc Mezvinsky