In the ballroom of the Hilton New York -- carpeted for the evening in white Astroturf -- Alvin Ailey dancers strutted onto the dance floor.
The almost 1,000 guests who joined them last night included Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP Plc, and his wife, Cristiana Sorrell, a senior adviser to the founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab.
Ailey board member and event designer David Monn stood near his table, BlackBerry in hand, surveying the scene.
He had transformed the prosaic hall into a white, candlelit wonderland.
The dinner came after the opening night of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s season at City Center, Robert Battle’s first as artistic director.
Singer John Legend performed Stevie Wonder’s “If It’s Magic” to accompany the lovely dancer Alicia Graf Mack. The program also included the premiere of “Arden Court,” choreographed by Paul Taylor, and Ailey’s own “Revelations.”
In the house: writer Susan Fales-Hill, in a gray-and-black fur coat, model Veronica Webb, in a floral-print gown, and Citigroup Inc.’s Raymond McGuire, American Express Co. Chief Executive Kenneth Chenault, and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. President Gerald Hassell.
Afterward, guests walked to the Hilton for a dinner of roast poussin and chocolate cheesecake. Event honoree Kimberly B. Davis, president of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, offered some thoughts on the company.
“The dancing is magical, mystical,” Davis said. “My daughter was holding my arm during the performance telling me to calm down.”
At midnight, guests headed home, many with the giant paper flowers that had decorated the tables. They were prizes.
“They’re made in Paris,” Monn said.
A goody bag offered other treats: a Michael Kors tie, L’Oreal mascara and a grilled jalapeno and salty peanut dark chocolate bar, from the Danny Meyer restaurant Blue Smoke.
The event raised more than $2.5 million, said Joan Weill, Ailey’s chairman.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)