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Blasblog: Dancing (And The Occasional Strip-Down Push-up) With The Dancers

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When I first moved to this big city, the New York City Ballet’s annual Dance With the Dancers benefit was one of my first fancy philanthropic experiences. So Monday night’s fête was both nostalgic and lovely: cocktails on the veranda as the sun set, tucked away in Lincoln Center’s southwest corner (which we’ll all be getting used to come September, when fashion week’s tents are shoved in there). It was all as I had remembered it to be—lots of bubbly, lots of turned-out young women and ballet bodies draped in chiffon. At our table, the honorary chair, Maggie Gyllenhaal, sat between the pregnant Sarah Sophie Flicker and the also pregnant Yelena Yemchuk (pictured, above, with Leith Clark)—cue the camera phone pics of babies passed back and forth (Gyllenhaal admitted she wants another soon). All in all, the usual gala politesse—until, that is, after cocktails, when the company’s dancers busted a dance-off. One group did a Michael Jackson tribute; another, a Chippendales number that had three buffed male dancers spinning in nothing but red underwear, bow ties, and cuff links. It was a gamble: The uptown crowd that came to the David H. Koch Theater were probably expecting tutus and point shoes, not yellow lingerie and flexing physiques. But benefit chairwoman Arden Wohl, for one, was happy to see some of the world’s best dancers let loose. “Look, they’re having fun,” she said, praising the fabulous form of the men’s topless push-ups.

Photo: Nick Hunt / Patrick McMullan

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