Last night, New Yorkers headed out to the ballet. But this wasn’t just any night celebrating the art of dance at Lincoln Center. It was the American Ballet Theatre’s 75th Anniversary Fall Gala, and stars like Laverne Cox, Nicole Scherzinger, and Alec Baldwin came out to watch the dancers in multiple performances in honor of the momentous occasion, which raised $1.45 million for the company.
For Scherzinger, the evening was all about supporting her fellow performers. “I come from the arts, so it's my passion and my love,” she told InStyle before heading inside to see the ballet. “It's how I express myself, and it was my saving grace growing up.” While the singer and I Can Do That star has some killer dance moves of her own, ballet was simply never in the cards for her. “I don’t have the toes for it,” said Scherzinger. “In another life, I would love to be a ballerina. I respect the discipline behind it so much.”
Scherzinger wasn’t the only one with dreams of doing pirouettes. When guests headed upstairs for dinner and dancing following the performance, model Jessica Stam admitted that she’s also attempted to do ballet. “I imagine that I’m a ballerina sometimes,” Stam told InStyle. “I even take ballet classes at the place around the corner from where I live.” Stam, who was wearing a beaded long-sleeved mini by Thom Browne, brought her mom and grandmother as her dates for the evening. “We all wore pink robes and got ready together,” she said. “We even had someone come over and blow out our hair.”
But Stam’s girls’ night out was about more than just getting all glammed up. “I’m obsessed with the ballet, and I’ve been friends with a few of the ABT’s principal ballerinas for years now,” she said. Still, Stam was waiting to meet the ABT’s most buzzed-about principal dancer of the moment, Misty Copeland. “I haven’t met her yet, but I’ve heard she’s so incredible. She’s really shaken up the entire ballet game.”
Copeland’s success was a hot topic of the evening, and everyone wanted to chat her up. She and Laverne Cox even took a moment to snap some selfies together on the dance floor (above). But while many guests were hoping to take a photo with the star, fashion photographer Nigel Barker was more interested in discussing taking photos of her. “I’m a huge fan of Misty’s, and I’ve photographed her many times,” said Barker, who attended with his wife, Cristen. And Copeland—who wore a Roland Mouret gown last night—isn’t the only member of the company that Barker has worked with. “Katie Boren is another ABT ballerina who’s one of my favorite subjects,” he said. “I first photographed her eight years ago.”
The main main reason that Barker loves to work with ballerinas? “Dancers move in a way that models certainly can’t,” he said. “When you watch them move, your eyes are darting all over the place, so I never know where to start. But I just keep shooting—and I'm there, looking, wondering, and amazed by what they can do.”
And really, aren't we all?