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“The Most Strong and Beautiful Thing”: Valentino, Alicia Keys, and More Turn Out for NYCB’s Gala Evening

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ValentinoBetween the Met ball, Dior’s Cruise show, the kickoff of the Frieze Art Fair, and a slew of other charity galas, this week’s social calendar has been a demanding one to say the least. But that didn’t keep the social set from turning out for New York City Ballet’s Spring Gala last night, celebrating the company’s fiftieth year at Lincoln Center.

As guests, including Alicia Keys, Catherine Malandrino, and Gilles Mendel, made their way inside the David H. Koch Theater, they were handed a mini bottle of vodka and a shot glass along with the evening’s program. “Well, I guess we are really going to have a party now,” said one surprised attendee. “Do you think we get refills?”

Minutes later, ballet master in chief Peter Martins took the stage to lead the crowd in a toast—a company tradition started by its co-founder George Balanchine. That was followed by a series of tributes to opening night in 1964, including a song from the musical Carousel, which was performed by Kristen Bell and Aaron Lazar, and a classic Balanchine number. “I am immensely biased, but the New York City Ballet dancers are the best in the world,” said Martins.

The audience seemed to agree—everyone in the theater was on their feet for an extended standing ovation after the conclusion of NYCB soloist and choreographer Justin Peck’s world premiere of Everywhere We Go, featuring music by Sufjan Stevens and costumes by former NYCB dancer Janie Taylor. “Exceptional—I think it was the most strong and beautiful thing,” Valentino Garavani told Style.com before dinner. And how were the dancers going to let loose after the black-tie affair? “We will probably just go to a dive bar and get a few drinks; we all have to be at work tomorrow, so we can’t get too crazy,” said Peck. The evening raised more than $3.15 million for the ballet.

Photo: Getty Images