The Stars Were Out Last Weekend In New York City

by Michael Mahany | 10/3/2017 4:10 PM


 

Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker (left), Andy Blankenbuehler, Ann Reinking (right). Photo credit: NYCB Gala/Julie Skarratt (left), NYCDA (right).

 

It was a busy weekend here in New York City with both New York City Ballet’s Fall Fashion Gala last Thursday evening, and New York City Dance Alliance’s Bright Lights, Shining Stars on Sunday night. Dance Network had exclusive access to both red carpet events and was there to capture it all.

 

New York City Fall Fashion Gala

 

Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys. Photo Credit: Julie Skarratt

 

Last Thursday night outside of Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theatre felt like a text book description of a perfect Autumn evening in New York City. With a brisk evening air and a gorgeous sunset, Dance Network, staged along the red carpet right next to the iconic Lincoln Center Fountain, had the opportunity to talk with many of Dance and Entertainment’s hottest stars. DN spoke with NYCB Principal and world premiere choreographer of Not Our Fate Lauren Lovette, the choreographer of the upcoming Broadway revival of Carousel and NYCB’s resident choreographer Justin Peck, star of The Americans Kerri Russell, NYCB Board Vice Chair and television and film star Sarah Jessica Parker, and more.

 

The annual event, mirrored by it’s Spring Gala sibling, is an annual fundraising event for New York City Ballet that celebrates the blending of two art forms: Dance and Fashion. Choreographers like Lovette and Peck— along with two others, Gianna Reisen and Troy Schumacher— were selected by Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins and then paired with a high-end fashion house. Together, choreographers and fashion designers were each asked to create a new ballet to be premiered at the Gala.

 

Gianna Reisen’s new work Composer’s Holiday. Photo Credit: Paul Kolnik

 

This years gala raised over $2.6 million dollars for City Ballet.

 

Justin Peck spoke with Dance Network about his new responsibility as New York City Ballet’s resident choreographer. Peck is only the second person to hold that title in City Ballet’s history.

 

“It’s amazing to have a platform like NYCB to create work, take risks,” said Peck. “I usually create two and three ballets a year, so I’m able to build relationships with the dancers [and] the various creative departments within the institution, so it’s been a real joy for me.”

 

Sarah Jessica Parker, former American Ballet Theatre dancer and NYCB Board Vice Chair, said when asked why ballet and fashion go so well together, “They have a long history… well over 100 years of people in the fashion world designing for ballet, and somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I must have remembered that… but, I just thought it was a good idea, and it’s been such a fruitful collaboration, and it’s been so good for the company, and such an interesting experience for the designers and the choreographers.”

 

New York City Ballet Board Vice Chair Sarah Jessica Parker and Ballet Master In Chief Peter Martins (left), NYCB Resident Choreographer Justin Peck (right). Photo Credit: Owen Hoffman for Patrick McMullen.

 

New York City Dance Alliance’s Bright Lights Shining Stars

 

Ann Reinking (left) and Chita Rivera (right) at the New York City Dance Alliance’s Bright Lights Shining Stars

 

Sunday night inside New York University’s Skirball Center, located just off Washington Square Park in the village, was the site of a whole host of Dance and Theatre Royalty. NYCDA’s Bright Lights Shining Stars honored the legendary dancer, performer, and choreographer Ann Reinking. TONY® winner Ann Reinking, has performed on Broadway in shows like Goodtime Charlie, A Chorus Line, both the original and revival productions of Chicago, Sweet Charity, and Dancin’, and spent much of her career working with Mr. Bob Fosse. Ms. Reinking, seen in Bob Fosse’s semi-autobiographical film All That Jazz, also choreographed the 1996 revival of Chicago—celebrating its 21st year on Broadway— as well as the 1999 Best Musical TONY® winner, Fosse.

 

Ms. Reinking also holds an equal passion for dance and arts education. She created the Broadway Theatre Project in 1991 which has been a training ground for so many of today’s Broadway dancers.

 

Celebrating Ms. Reinking’s amazing career were dance and theatre stars like Joel Grey, Ben Vereen, Chita Rivera, Andy Blankenbuehler, Patricia Birch, Valerie Pettiford, Brenda Braxton, dancers from Ballet Hispanico Dos, and so many more. Reinking’s longtime friend and Chicago co-star Bebe Neuwirth hosted the evening’s festivities, and dancers from Broadway’s past and present performed restaged numbers from Reinking’s incredible career.

 

Top left: Amra-Faye Wright, Brenda Braxton, Dylis Croman. Top right: Joel Grey. Lower: The company of Ballet Hispanico Dos. Photo Credits: NYCDA

 

Every dancer that passed by Dance Network’s spot on the red carpet spoke of Ann Reinking’s remarkable talent, monumental career, and enormous heart.

 

We asked Ms. Reinking why she feels so passionate about dance and arts education.

 

“Dancing is a hands on craft, you can’t really learn it from a book, you can’t really learn it from a video… you need to bring the human touch to it, because it’s such a very human art form,” Reinking said. “It is the body and the soul, literally, that you're using— and you're trying to personify, literally, music— so you need the hand of the person before you to pass it on… and that’s how it happened with me… It’s kind of an unspoken rule that dancers must pass on what they know.”

 

TONY® winner and theatre and dance legend Ben Vereen spoke about his and Ms. Reinking’s shared passion of dance and arts education, and the passing on of their artistry to the net generation of dancers.

 

“It’s not just about dance, it’s about the arts. [But], you know, if you’re a dancer, you’re moving on the breath of god. Because, before the word, there was movement—but the arts itself is important to all of us, and you are a plug-in for the arts to move to the next generation… do you get it? It’s important,” said Mr. Vereen. He then spoke directly into the camera and told dancers, “Please dance on. Keep our legacy alive, we’re counting on you to do it, it’s up to you.”

 

TONY® winner, former co-star, and long time friend, Joel Grey summed it up best when he said of Reinking, “It’s hard to decide which is bigger, her talent, or her heart.”

 

For more on New York City Ballet visit their website at nycballet.com, and to find information on New York City Dance Alliance, their competitions, and student programs, check out their website here.

 

Keep your eyes peeled at DanceNetwork.tv for all the interviews from the red carpet very soon!



One last picture, the legendary and impeccably dressed,