“There are so many things that ask for people’s attention and support,” Diana DiMenna said last night at the David H. Koch Theater. “It’s our responsibility to make sure this party is great.”
It was. DiMenna presided over the School of American Ballet Winter Ball at Lincoln Center, where the knock-out effect was a reflective gold dance floor. As the students danced, their shadows echoed on the golden ceiling above.
Later, guests took their turn.
The evening had a “Far East” theme, with decor by Ron Wendt featuring umbrellas from India and poppies from Italy. Also helping the cause were Mikhail Baryshnikov, New York City Ballet dancers, many of them alumni of the school, and a display of jewelry by Van Cleef & Arpels, lead corporate sponsor of the ball for six years.
The event, with choreography by Silas Farley, highlighted the tuition-free program for male dancers at the school, which is affiliated with New York City Ballet.
“More graduates go on to become professional dancers than from any other school,” John Paulson, founder and majority owner of Paulson & Co., said standing next to his wife, Jenny, who wore a ballerina-pink gown. Their daughter is enrolled at the school.
DiMenna wore yellow diamonds, a gift from her husband, Joe DiMenna of Zweig-DiMenna Associates, and a gown custom-made by Wes Gordon.
“He chose the shape, I chose the color,” she said, adjusting the long train of purple and gold silk embroidered with flowers. Her husband wore a matching bow tie and pocket square.
Carolina Herrera designed the gown of Julia Koch, also a chairwoman. It was gold with pagodas peeking out of lace. Koch’s friend Peter Lyden, chief philanthropy officer at the American Museum of Natural History, wore a turban made out of gold fabric left over from the dress. The three dined at a long table with David H. Koch and Peter Martins, City Ballet’s supremo.
The meal consisted of Peking duck rolls, chicken curry, and pomegranate ice cream. James Dinan, founder of York Capital Management LP, Antoine Schetritt, a fund manager at Cello Capital Management, and real estate developer William Lie Zeckendorf were among the 500 guests.
“It’s one of the most profound organizations,” said New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht, who came to the school from St. Petersburg, Florida. “All of us come from smaller places, it pushes us to grow.”
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)