- New York City Ballet has had "modest" surplus for three years
- Gala draws in fashion crowd, Jennifer Hudson and $2.67 million
John Paulson paid New York City Ballet a high compliment: “It’s very solvent,” he said Wednesday night after a gala performance.
The nonprofit dance company founded by George Balanchine and based at Lincoln Center has had a surplus of about $500,000 to $750,000 for three years, Executive Director Katherine Brown said in an interview. “It’s modest.”
Increased revenue from ticket sales and fundraising are responsible, as well as keeping costs steady.
“It was reversing the trends, which were going the opposite of that,” Brown said, adding that audited financials will be disclosed soon.
NYCB “is doing everything well, everything better than they did before, and it all shows,” said John Vogelstein, a past chairman of the ballet’s board.
Sarah Jessica Parker, a vice chairman at the ballet, recalled how difficult fundraising had become during the recession. Now, NYCB is “super functioning,” she said on the red carpet.
The actress and businesswoman, who recently started a shoe line, can take some of the credit, having come up with the idea for a gala pairing fashion designers with choreographers on stage. The “From the Runway to the Ballet” event has become the centerpiece of an evening drawing celebrities, buzz and revenue. The fourth edition on Wednesday raised $2.67 million, surpassing the initial $2.3 million and second $2.5 million goals.
During the performance at the David H. Koch Theater, David H. Koch himself sat near Parker and model Carolyn Murphy. At the intermission, Jeff Peek headed into the Travelers Patron Lounge. (The chairman of the New York City Ballet is Jay Fishman, chief executive officer of Travelers, who did not attend the gala.)
Paulson greeted Len Blavatnik before the final piece, which turned out to be a favorite: “Thou Swell,” choreographed by Peter Martins, the company’s ballet master in chief, with costumes by Peter Copping, the designer of Oscar de la Renta.
Set in the Rainbow Room, four elegant couples claim Art Deco banquettes as they wait their turns on the dance floor, the men having suavely assisted the women in taking off their furs. A band and two singers (Broadway vets Norm Lewis and Rebecca Luker) provided the music, tunes like “Where or When” and “Getting to Know You.”
Paulson singled out Teresa Reichlen as particularly beautiful. She wore a sparkling champagne-colored gown, showing leg as she danced with Ask la Cour.
“I couldn’t pick a gown, they were all gorgeous,” said Jennifer Hudson, who’s preparing for “The Color Purple” on Broadway, for which she marked her script with yellow highlighter for her lines and pink highlighter for her songs. She was amazed the dancers could remember all their steps.
Jill Kargman, who’s been writing the second season of the Bravo series “Odd Mom Out,” said she liked the cigarette-girl costumes and would wear one herself if she could get the very short pouf of a skirt lengthened.
Sitting down to supper, Parker’s first move was clinking glasses with Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch. Martins sat next to Philip Falcone for the meal of brussels sprouts, Caesar salad and baby lamb chops. New York City Ballet’s dancers scattered around the room like pixie dust.
Amar Ramasar had leaped in a piece with a strong 1970s vibe and charmed and wooed in “Thou Swell.” Robert Fairchild, a principal with the company and a star of Broadway’s “An American in Paris,” had danced in the “Rainbow Room” with Sterling Hyltin.
Fairchild’s wife, Tiler Peck, featured in “Polaris”, choreographed by Myles Thatcher, which included a whimsical tug-of-war moment. She now wore a blue lace dress by the designer of the costumes for that piece, Zuhair Murad, with SJP dress sandals. Maria Kowroski was mobbed with congratulations but hadn’t performed; she’s pregnant and due in November.