School of American Ballet’s 2015 Winter Ball Raises Over $1.39 Million

[New York, NY] – The School of American Ballet’s 2015 Winter Ball took place at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater on Monday, March 9, 2015 and raised more than $1.39 million for scholarships and school programs. Legendary French jeweler, Van Cleef & Arpels sponsored the glamorous, black-tie dinner dance for the eighth consecutive year. The evening began with cocktails at 7pm and dinner at 8pm, followed by a student performance choreographed specially for the occasion, and The Encore dessert and dancing. The proceeds from this event enhance every aspect of the School’s extraordinary ballet training program, helping to provide more than $1.9 million annually in student scholarships, as well as supporting faculty, maintaining world-class studios and offering vital student programs beyond the classroom.

“We are thrilled to announce that we raised more than $1.39 million this year, our highest ever for this event. The overwhelming generosity of our sponsor Van Cleef & Arpels and our attendees and donors made for a fantastic celebration last night,” said Margie Van Dercook, executive director of the School of American Ballet. “Their much-appreciated donations will provide scholarships to aspiring dancers and support the School’s student life programs.”

This glamorous annual dinner dance was attended by more than 500 patrons, including the School’s board members and alumni as well as leaders from the New York corporate and social communities. Notable attendees included: Chairmen: Joyce C. Giuffra (Chairman), Julia F. Koch (Chairman), Serena Lese (Chairman), Laura Zeckendorf (Chairman), Noreen K. Ahmad (Young Patron Chairman) and Amanda Brotman (Young Patron Chairman), Peter Martins (Artistic Director/Chairman of Faculty), Kay Mazzo (Co-chairman of Faculty), Darci Kistler, Maria Kowroski (NYCB Principal Dancer), Tiler Peck (NYCB Principal Dancer), and Daniel Ulbricht (NYCB Principal Dancer), Sarah Arison, Jed Bernstein, Marisa Brown, Donya Bommer, Chelsea Clinton, Brad Comisar, George Farias, Olivia Flatto, Shruti Ganguly, Bob Giuffra, Klara Glowczewska, Martin Harvey, Judith Hoffman, Jill and Harry Kargman, David Koch, Frederick R. Koch, Coco and Arie Kopelman, Dr. Susan Krysiewicz and Mr. Thomas Bell, Margo Langenberg, Serena and Bill Lese, Mr. and Mrs. Josh Leuchtenburg, Nicolas Luchsinger, Peter Lyden, Alison A. Mazzola, Spencer Means, Elizabeth R. Miller and James G. Dinan, Susan and Ira Millstein, Gillian and Sylvester Miniter, Richard Mishaan, Tom Moore, Marie Nugent-Head, Darcy Nussbaum, Dailey and Gordon Pattee, Liz Peek, Lisa Perry, Michelle Rodriguez, Jill and Andrew Roosevelt, Rachael Sage, Jean Shafiroff, Lauren Shortt, Max R. Shulman, Mary Snow, Jon Stafford, Stellene Volandes, Chelsea Zalopany, Laura and William Lie Zeckendorf.

This year’s Winter Ball celebrated SAB co-founder George Balanchine’s affinity for the unique spirit and energy of America.Ron Wendt Design took inspiration from the influences of the Pop Art era and 70’s revival using color and whimsy to create a fun and festive atmosphere on the David H. Koch Theater’s promenade level.

A highlight of the evening was a one-time-only performance by intermediate and advanced students of the School of American Ballet created specifically for the event. This year, New York City Ballet dancer Peter Walker was selected as choreographer by Peter Martins, Artistic Director and Chairman of Faculty for SAB. “Peter Walker’s choreography was wonderful and our student dancers delivered his work beautifully,” said Mr. Martins.

Famed French jeweler, Van Cleef & Arpels, again acted as the lead corporate sponsor for the gala. This long-standing partnership is a tribute to the friendship shared between SAB founder, George Balanchine, and one of the Van Cleef & Arpels founding brothers, Claude Arpels, who established the Maison in New York in 1939. Their shared passion for exceptional stones inspired a creative partnership that resulted in Balanchine’s Jewels ballet and its sumptuous costumes.

The event was led by Chairmen Joyce C. Giuffra, Julia F. Koch, Serena Lese, and Laura Zeckendorf; and Young Patron Chairmen Noreen K. Ahmad, Amanda Brotman, Lesley Vecsler.

The School of American Ballet, the official training academy of the New York City Ballet, was established in 1934 by legendary choreographer George Balanchine and philanthropist Lincoln Kirstein as the first and most essential step in their quest to create an American classical ballet company.

SAB, located at New York City’s Lincoln Center, is the premier ballet academy in the United States, training more students who go on to become professional dancers than any other school. SAB’s former students fill the ranks of the New York City Ballet and other leading U.S. and international ballet companies.

Van Cleef & Arpels was born in Paris’ Place Vendôme in 1906, following Alfred Van Cleef’s marriage to Estelle Arpels in 1895.Always striving for excellence, the Maison has become a worldwide reference through its unique designs, its choice of exceptional stones and its virtuoso craftsmanship, offering jewels and timepieces that tell stories and bring enchantment to life. Over the years, the Maison has remained faithful to this highly distinctive style characterized by creativity, refinement and poetry. Whether inspired by nature, couture or the imagination, its collections evoke a timeless world of harmony and beauty.

Peter Walker hails from Fort Myers, Florida, where he began his early dance training at age eight. He attended the School of American Ballet during the 2006 and 2007 summer courses and enrolled as a full-time student in the winter of 2007. Peter honed his choreographic skills by participating in SAB’s annual Student Choreography Workshop; and in 2011, 2012 and 2014, he was selected by Peter Martins to choreograph the Summer Session of the New York Choreographic Institute. He was a recipient of SAB’s 2011 Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise and became an apprentice with New York City Ballet. He joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in fall 2012.

[Photo by Erin Baiano]

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