The School of American Ballet’sWorkshop Performance Benefit 2014 on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 celebrated 50 years of these annual performances and raised nearly $860,000 for scholarships and school programs. The evening began with cocktails at 5:30pm in Juilliard’s Morse Hall, followed by the presentation of the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Service to Dena Abergel, SAB faculty member and NYCB Children’s Ballet Master, and Wien Awards for Outstanding Promise to Lyrica Blankfein, Christopher Grant, Baily Jones, and Addie Tapp.
“We are thrilled to announce that the Workshop Performance Benefit exceeded our original goal,” said Margie Van Dercook, executive director of The School of American Ballet. “We gathered to celebrate five decades of these annual performances – the culmination of each year’s work for the students – and the tremendous generosity of our attendees, donors and sponsors capped off a terrific evening.”
The night continued with the performance, attended by more than 800 guests, followed by dinner and dancing at 9pm. The dinner was attended by 550 patrons, including the School’s board members and alumni, as well as leaders from the New York corporate and social communities. Notable attendees during the evening included: Peter Martins & Darci Kistler, Kay Mazzo & Albert Bellas, Tyler Angle, Liz Armstrong, Yvonne Borree, Ashley Bouder, Peter Boal, Christopher d’Amboise, Lisa de Ribere, Benan & Tom Ellis, Fe Fendi, Joyce & Bob Giuffra, Jill Kargman, Susan R. Kessler, Julia & David H. Koch, Coco and Arie Kopelman, Amy Newman & Bud Shulman, Alexandra & John Galantic, Kaitlyn Gilliland, Katrina Killian, Andrei Kramarevsky, James Lipton & Kedakai Turner, Lourdes Lopez, Sara Mearns, Arthur Mitchell, Susan Pilarre, Brynn Putnam, Suki Schorer, Erica Sheftman, Jock Soto, Jonathan Stafford, Phyllis Toohey, Edward Villela, Sheryl Ware, Heather Watts, and Damian Woetzel.
The Workshop Performance Benefit is The School of American Ballet’s most anticipated event of the year. The annual Workshop Performances are SAB’s only public performances and a rare opportunity to get a sneak preview of the ballet world’s up and coming young stars. A Benefit Dinner follows the Tuesday evening performance at Lincoln Center, and attracts more than 550 arts patrons, corporate VIPs and New York’s social elite for a seated dinner and dancing in the SAB studios, which are transformed into elegant dining rooms for the evening.
This year’s event was headed by Chairmen Liz Armstrong, Benan and Tom Ellis, Joyce and Bob Giuffra, Susan R. Kessler, Amy Newman and Bud Shulman; Corporate Chairmen Alexandra and John Galantic; and Young Patron Chairmen Brynn Putnam and Erica Sheftman. Wines donated by Epoch Estate Wines.
In 1964, Alexandra Danilova, George Balanchine’s former classmate at the Imperial Ballet and a leading ballerina of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo joined SAB’s faculty. In 1965, Madame Danilova established SAB’s annual year-end Workshop Performances, giving the School’s advanced students an opportunity to participate in professionally staged, publicly performed productions of classic ballet works. Since its inception, the Workshop Performances have seen hundreds of SAB’s advanced students make their public debut as they prepare to leave SAB and go on to dance on the world’s top stages. The New York Times coined Workshop a “spot-them-before-they-are-stars showcase”. Scores of notable SAB alumni have performed at Workshop, including Merrill Ashley, Peter Boal, Maria Kowroski, Lourdes Lopez, Sara Mearns, Benjamin Millepied, Ethan Stiefel, and Wendy Whelan.
The 2014 Workshop Performances program included Balanchine’s Serenade (staged by Suki Schorer); and excerpts from Coppélia (staged by Dena Abergel, Yvonne Borree, Arch Higgins, Katrina Killian, Lisa de Ribere, Jock Soto and Sheryl Ware), Swan Lake (staged by Darci Kistler) and Western Symphony (staged by Susan Pilarre).
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.