As the year closes, Scene Last Night takes a look at the causes that people in finance tend to cluster around. Today: The Hedge Funder Balletomanes.
“The ballet is a beautiful art form, it’s so sculptural,” John Paulson said after a Dec. 8 performance of “The Nutcracker” at New York City Ballet. Balanchine’s holiday fantasy extravaganza, which the hedge-fund manager took in with his family from orchestra seats, is a favorite. “I’ve seen it so many times here -- you can’t see it enough,” Paulson said.
Naturally the Paulsons help the ballet raise money, as do many families with hedge-fund pedigree. Lisa Falcone, wife of Philip A. Falcone, is on the board of New York City Ballet. William Ackman, of Pershing Square Capital Management, and Kinga Lampert, wife of Edward Lampert of ESL Partners LP, are on the board of American Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet, whose dance company had a U.S. tour this past summer.
Looking ahead, Paulson’s wife, Jenny, will be a chairman of the School of American Ballet Winter Ball on March 11, 2013. Another chairman will be Diana DiMenna, wife of hedge-fund manager Joe DiMenna, whose daughter Tess was a soldier in “The Nutcracker.”
The pull of the ballet may be the art form itself, or having a child studying ballet. Another is the fun of a ballet party, as dancers double as some of the most chic party guests ever.
At the “Nutcracker” family benefit, the dancers stayed in their costumes as they greeted guests on the promenade of the David H. Koch Theater, made magical for the occasion.
Snow-covered Christmas trees surrounded the Elie Nadelman sculptures, tables were decorated with gingerbread houses and Santa stopped by. One of Paulson’s daughters snagged an autograph from Olivia Boisson, a Flower, while Paulson posed for a photograph with Sara Adams, the lead Marzipan Shepherdess.
This event raised $700,000 with leadership from chairmen including Amy Griffin, wife of Blue Ridge Capital LLC’s John Griffin. The Griffins had a son this autumn, named Julian, after John Griffin’s mentor, Tiger Management LLC’s Julian Robertson. Judging from a photograph shown by a beaming dad, this little boy has all the makings of a Nutcracker Prince.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
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