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Michelle Tabnick
Press Releases
David H. Koch Theater
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

The School of American Ballet's 2016 Winter Ball Raised Nearly $1.2 Million

by Michelle Tabnick
March 18, 2016
David H. Koch Theater
20 Lincoln Center
New York, NY 10023
The School of American Ballet’s 2016 Winter Ball took place at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater on Monday, March 14, 2016 and raised nearly $1.2 million. Legendary French jeweler, Van Cleef & Arpels sponsored the glamorous, black-tie dinner dance for the ninth consecutive year. The evening began with cocktails at 7pm and dinner at 8pm, followed by a student performance choreographed specially for the occasion, and The Encore dessert and dancing. The proceeds from the event enhance every aspect of the School’s extraordinary ballet training program, including helping to provide $2 million annually in student scholarships, as well as supporting faculty, maintaining world-class studios and offering vital student programs beyond the classroom.

“SAB is grateful to our sponsor Van Cleef & Arpels, our wonderful event chairs and all the generous attendees for a successful evening, which raised over $1.1 million for the School’s scholarship and student life programs,” said Margie Van Dercook, executive director of the School of American Ballet.

This glamorous annual dinner dance was attended by 500 patrons, including the School’s board members and alumni as well as leaders from the New York corporate and social communities.

Notable attendees included: Joyce C. Giuffra (Chairman), Julia Koch (Chairman), Serena Lese (Chairman), Noreen K. Ahmad (Young Patron Chairman), Amanda Brotman Schetritt (Young Patron Chairman), Peter Martins (Artistic Director/Chairman of Faculty), Kay Mazzo Bellas (Co-chairman of Faculty), Darci Kistler (SAB Faculty, former NYCB Principal Dancer), Dena Abergel (SAB Faculty), Katrina Killian (SAB Faculty), Allen Peffier (SAB Faculty), Suzy Pilarre (SAB Faculty), Lisa de Ribere (SAB Faculty), Suki Schorer (SAB Faculty), Sheryl Ware (SAB Faculty), Ashley Bouder (NYCB Principal Dancer), Gonzalo Garcia (NYCB Principal Dancer), Joaquin De Luz (NYCB Principal Dancer), Ask la Cour (NYCB Principal Dancer), Lauren Lovette (NYCB Principal Dancer), Daniel Ulbricht (NYCB Principal Dancer), Wendy W. Chong, Stephanie A. Linka, Kellie Johnson Abreu, Lucy Anda, Elisabeth M. Armstrong, Michele and Timothy Barakett, Albert Bellas, Michael Bennie, Scott and Donya Bommer, Norman B. Champ III, Patricia Chernicky, Maggie Chong, Kristin and John Clark, Linda S. Daines, James G. Dinan, Patricia Dugan, Benan and Thomas Ellis, Micaela Erlanger, Lisa Maria and Philip Falcone, Alexander J. Farkas, Edith Fassberg, Fe and Alessandro Fendi, Stephanie and Andrew Finch, Effie and Bob Fribourg, Jane H. Furse, Kylie Gattinella, Bob Giuffra, Jenny Slayton-Green, Katherine Eckert Grunder, Robert Grunder, Duane Hampton, Alex van Hoek, Judith M. Hoffman, Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Kleinschmidt, Fred Koch, Caroline Lagerfelt, Margo Langenberg, Bill Lese, Nancy and Duncan MacMillan, Marie Nugent-Head Marlas, James C. Marlas, Elizabeth R. Miller, Elizabeth and Richard Miller, Virginia A. Millhiser, Arthur Mitchell, Peri and Neda Navab, Ellen and George Needham, Amy D. Newman, Darcy and Andy Nussbaum, Andy Oshrin, Elizabeth T. Peek, William Perlmuth, Honorable Susan Phillips Read, Jill and Dillon Remler, Antoine Schetritt, Sally Ann Shreeves, Max R. Shulman (Bud), Michelle Smith, Barbara Apple Sullivan, Alyssa and Marco Tablada, Linda and Edward Villella, Barbara Vogelstein, Monica Voldstad, Tanya Warren, Chip Zien.

For this year’s Winter Ball, designer Ron Wendt was inspired by the rich emerald greens of the Northern Lights. The sparkle of forest green sequin tablecloths added glamour to the evening while clouds of crisp white azaleas sprung from velvety moss in gold polished brass boxes with pillar candles. Fifteen-foot tall gold and silver mobiles were suspended above the dining area, evoking the aurora borealis in the gilded ceiling of the David Koch H. Theater.

A highlight of the evening was a one-time-only performance by the students of the School of American Ballet choreographed by Peter Walker, who was selected by Peter Martins, Artistic Director and Chairman of Faculty for SAB, for the second consecutive year.

“I was thrilled with Peter Walker’s choreography again this year. What a delight it has been to share both Peter’s achievements as a dance-maker and the wonderful dancing of our young students with our School’s supporters at the Winter Ball,” said Mr. Martins.

Famed French jeweler, Van Cleef & Arpels, again acted as the lead corporate sponsor for the gala. This long-standing partnership is a tribute to the friendship shared between SAB founder, George Balanchine, and one of the Van Cleef & Arpels founding brothers, Claude Arpels, who established the Maison in New York in 1939. Their shared passion for exceptional stones inspired a creative partnership that resulted in Balanchine’s Jewels ballet and its sumptuous costumes.

The event was led by Chairmen Joyce C. Giuffra, Julia F. Koch, and Serena Lese; and Young Patron Chairmen Noreen K. Ahmad and Amanda Brotman Schetritt.


The School of American Ballet, the official training academy of the New York City Ballet, was established in 1934 by legendary choreographer George Balanchine and philanthropist Lincoln Kirstein as the first and most essential step in their quest to create an American classical ballet company.

SAB, located at New York City's Lincoln Center, is the premier ballet academy in the United States, training more students who go on to become professional dancers than any other school. SAB's former students fill the ranks of the New York City Ballet and other leading U.S. and international ballet companies.


Van Cleef & Arpels was born in Paris’ Place Vendôme in 1906, following Alfred Van Cleef’s marriage to Estelle Arpels in 1895. Always striving for excellence, the Maison has become a worldwide reference through its unique designs, its choice of exceptional stones and its virtuoso craftsmanship, offering jewels and timepieces that tell stories and bring enchantment to life. Over the years, the Maison has remained faithful to this highly distinctive style characterized by creativity, refinement and poetry. Whether inspired by nature, couture or the imagination, its collections evoke a timeless world of harmony and beauty.

Peter Walker hails from Fort Myers, Florida, where he began his early dance training at age eight. He attended the School of American Ballet during the 2006 and 2007 Summer Courses and enrolled as a full-time student in the winter of 2007. Peter honed his choreographic skills while still an SAB student by participating in SAB’s annual Student Choreography Workshop; and in 2011, 2012 and 2014, he was selected by Peter Martins to choreograph for SAB’s Summer Course Choreographic Workshop. He was a recipient of SAB’s 2011 Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise and became an apprentice with New York City Ballet. He joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in fall 2012.

Ron Wendt began his bespoke wedding and event service 20 years ago after moving to New York City to begin his business. During that time, he began planning parties at Tiffany & Co. in New York, leading to a roster of bold-name clients like Cartier, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. No request is too big for his senior team: He is known for his wildly creative designs and has orchestrated countless intimate parties; from recent parties for fashion insiders to the opening with the newly designed spaces across the nation, he accommodates each client’s wishes accordingly.
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