The visual splendor of American Ballet Theatre’s in-person June Gala returned in all its multi-sensory glory on Monday evening after a long three years—and dare we say it was worth the wait? From the emotive speeches recognizing the new era of the company to the stirring performances and the breathtaking fashion on display from all attendees, it was a reminder that patience is a virtue—although we’re sure glad it’s time to get back to real life celebrations.
The event began with a celebration of ABT’s own Kevin McKenzie, outgoing artistic director, as he prepares for his retirement at the end of December 2022. After 30 years in the role, and 50 years with the company, his contributions to enhance ABT and his commitment to generations of dancers have been undeniable. On the evening, that passion was aptly and fondly summed up by principal dancer Skylar Brandt. Brandt spoke of how sitting in the audience of the Metropolitan Opera House as an eight-year-old watching McKenzies work had led her to dream of one day ending up on the stage herself, making her speech about his leadership all the more poignant. The Gala evening also honored ABT’s (phenomenally-dressed and accessorized!) Trustee Susan Fales-Hill, who has been instrumental in the company’s success and in helping to find the next artistic director, former ABT principal dancer Susan Jaffe, who was honored and welcomed with open arms during the event.
Guests witnessed a special performance of Don Quixote, staged by McKenzie, featuring three different principal casts in each act. Following the final bows and standing ovations, attendees flocked to the transformed promenade of the David H. Koch Theater in their finery for a seated dinner. Attendees on the evening included Anna Chlumsky, Anna Page, B Michael, Carly Cushnie, Cassie Beck, Eric Rutherford, Gabriella Uhl, Jessica Lang, Jessica Pels, Mark-Anthony Edwards, Olivia Palermo and Johannes Huebl, Savvy Shields Wolfe, Shelby Roebock, Tracy Anderson, and ABT’s CEO and executive director, Janet Rollé, among many others.
The June Gala kicked off the highly anticipated Summer season, featuring five weeks of exhilarating programming and beloved classics. Take a peek inside the night below, and book your tickets to a performance accordingly.