Now this is a birthday party! The American Ballet Theatre company celebrated its 75th anniversary last night with a decked-out bash at the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York City. Ballet fans including Yaya Dacosta (left at top), Sigourney Weaver (right at top), Jessica Stam, and more all made their way uptown for the extraordinary Escada-sponsored evening, which began with a three-hour show featuring 24 vignettes from performances the company will put on throughout the entire season.
“I love the discipline, the beauty, the lines, the way femininity and masculinity merge together on stage,” a Christian Siriano-clad Dacosta told us. “It’s absolutely beautiful.”
Misty Copeland, one of the company’s most famous principal ballerinas, said that she still feels butterflies every time the season kicks off, and was especially thrilled to be part of the historic 75th anniversary year (she danced in the vignettes from Swan Lake, Themes and Variations, and Etudes). “I’ve been a part of the company for 15 years, and you don’t usually think about how you’re a part of a bigger thing,” said Copeland (in Escada and Dannijo jewelry), shown above with her partner, Olu Evans. “I love how ABT has brought classical ballet to America. I’m so proud, and it’s been my dream company ever since I knew what ballet was, so it’s a very exciting night.”
After the performance, hundreds of guests ventured next door to a pop-up tent on Lincoln Center Plaza to continue the celebration. The scene was gorgeous: Geometric cut-out lanterns hung from the ceilings, an assortment of Escada gowns served as décor, and the nearly 100 tables featured elaborate centerpieces bedecked in tall vases filled with white buds and pink flowers, hanging crystals, and subtle candles. The three-course meal—which included a house-made ricotta salad with sugar snap peas, Atlantic fluke with fava beans, and a decadent Belgian chocolate brownie dessert—was as visually stunning as it was delicious.
Of course, given it was a crowd with a penchant for dance, the space provided ample opportunity for guests to get their groove on, thanks to two dance floors and a 10-piece band blasting throwback and current hits such as “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” “Dancing in the Street,” “Shake It Off,” and “Uptown Funk.”
The stars were ready: “I love the after-party because the pro dancers cut up the dance floor,” Jessica Stam told us. “I’m not an insecure dancer, but when I’m next to the professional ballerinas, I do find it funny.” Christian Siriano, however, decided to sit this one out. “I’m very embarrassed because everyone here is an amazing dancer,” he said. “I think it’s nice to watch.”
The dance party lasted until long after midnight, and by night’s end, the evening had raised over $2.3 million for ABT, the most-ever raised by a gala in its history. Now that’s something we find truly en pointe.