He bows, he sways, he’s No. 9 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and last night he danced with students of the School of American Ballet.
David Koch, 71, showed off his moves at the school’s annual benefit, which transformed the promenade of the David H. Koch Theater (named following his $100 million donation) into a Russian Winter Ball.
Beef Stroganoff, sweet and tangy shredded beets and shots of vodka were on the menu by Glorious Food. The music was all-American: on DJ Coleman Feltes’s playlist were Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is in the Heart,” in that order.
Koch’s wife, Julia, had the idea for the theme, a nod to the school’s founder, George Balanchine. She wore a dress with fur trim; her husband wore a coordinating tuxedo featuring a maroon velvet jacket.
Alexander Navab of KKR & Co., Chelsea Clinton, a new NBC News correspondent, Joseph DiMenna of Zweig-DiMenna Associates and about 400 others supped at long tables covered in red brocade, decorated with tall crystal candelabras and bouquets of red and pink roses, all selected by Ron Wendt Design.
The event raised almost $1 million for the school, where 70 percent of the advanced students receive scholarships, said executive director Marjorie Van Dercook.
The nightclub-style dancing came after 28 advanced students performed a high-energy number depicting Russian hooligans, set to original music by Debauche, a “Russian Mafia Band,” as it bills itself.
The school’s artistic director, New York City Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins, recruited former NYCB principal and Tony nominee Melinda Roy to choreograph the performance with assistance from Chad Luke Schiro.
The show got Koch right out of his gold seat.
“You were great,” he exclaimed to student Claire von Enck as the music swelled.
Things were quieter earlier in the evening at the New York Public Library’s President’s Council Spring Dinner, where Third Point founder Daniel Loeb asked Walter Isaacson if he was working on an update of his biography of Steve Jobs.
Isaacson told Loeb he’d consider an update, but is already absorbed by a new book project about digital innovators, starting with Ada Byron Lovelace, poet Lord Byron’s daughter.
Lovelace wrote an algorithm that could be applied to make patterns on fabrics, Isaacson, the event’s featured speaker, said. He learned about Lovelace when his daughter Betsy, now a senior at Harvard, wrote a high-school paper on her.
He said he’s pitching the book today to his editor Alice Mayhew at Simon & Schuster, and in two weeks, is going to Bodleian, Oxford University’s main research library, to read Lovelace’s letters.
Another guest asked Isaacson what he thought of Apple’s future.
Noting the imminent release of the iPad 3, Isaacson said he thought the team Jobs had put in place would run Apple well for the next four or five years.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)