The 90th Anniversary School Of American Ballet Ball Raised $1.4 Million In Graceful Fashion

by Freya Drohan

The beloved School of American Ballet Ball looked a little different this year. To raise a toast to its 90th anniversary, on a recent evening the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center welcomed over 1,400 well-heeled guests to take a special glimpse at what exactly goes on behind the scenes (or behind the curtain, if you will) at the country’s preeminant dance school. For the first time ever, patrons were treated to a robust program which showed the full arc of a dancer’s journey with SAB: from an adorable recital incorporating the various stages of those in the Children’s Division to a performance of In Creases by the Advanced students choreographed by Justin Peck, culminating in a finale of an iconic pas de deux by SAB founder George Balanchine by alumni and New York City Ballet principal dancers, Tiler Peck and Roman Mejia.

During the program, the colossal contributions of two individuals, alumna and SAB board member Coco Kopelman and Brown Foundation senior faculty chair Suki Schorer, were recognized and celebrated. The perennially-chic Kopelman attended SAB as a student in the 1960s and has continued to give back in the ensuing decades. Most recently, along with her husband, Arie, she established the Coco F. Kopelman Pointe Shoe Fund to enable dancers to go through their schooling without being burdened by that significant expense. A contemporary of Balanchine, Suki Schorer assisted the legendary dance maestro in the 1960s as a guest teacher at SAB, before becoming a permanent member of the faculty in 1972. An accomplished lecturer and author, she was honored this year for her lifelong commitment to shaping young dancers’ lives and education as a mentor. And, as dancer Unity Phelan said on stage, being their trusted friend along the way too.

The evening, which was generously supported by Chanel, raised a staggering $1.4 million to benefit scholarships, educational programs, and other resources at the School. Energized by the performances in the theater, some 500 guests put their best foot forward afterwards in their tulle gowns, tuxedos, sequins, satin, and silk numbers to come together for a seated three-course dinner in the Promenade. Followed, of course, by a spin or two around the dance floor.

Among the attendees were dancers Unity Phelan, Tiler Peck, Tyler Angle, Chun Wai Chan, and Roman Mejia, Evan Mock, Fe Fendi, Samantha Barry, Sophie Sumner, SAB and NYCB artistic director Jonathan Stafford, and SAB executive director Carrie W. Hinrichs. Anniversary chairs for the event were Kellie Johnson Abreu, Liz Amstrong, Zita J. Ezpeleta, Jill Kargman, Alyssa Cohen Tablada, and Olivia C. Wassenaar. Dinner chairs were Paola Saracino Fendi and Stephanie Sharp, and vice chairs were Amanda Brotman, Jessie Ding, Josh Greene, and Morgan P. Richardson.

Images: Courtesy/Getty Images/Marsha Lebedev Bernstein

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