dining with the stars


Thursday night’s post-show gala reception was something of a fairy tale. Bearing witness to this week’s impressive display of talent was a dream come true; Being a guest at that dinner was simply a dream.

Still buzzing from the collision of stars on stage, B and I ascended the stairs to the Koch Theatre’s grand promenade, unsure just what to expect. We were met with elegant rows of long dinner tables, sheathed in crisp white linens and delicate place settings. Curve-top chairs scalloped the edges of each strip, offering a place to rest and nosh on three courses of Mediterranean mezza, roast chicken and vegetables with light, thimble-sized cupcakes for dessert. Bottles of red, white and rosé dotted the tables generously, offering a welcoming dinner party vibe at the otherwise deliciously formal affair.


0_63627760786362125016353320_46_PRIX_20170413_PA_164.JPGIMG_3189Youth America Grand Prix's 2017 Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala

Have you ever found yourself continuously looking around wondering Is everyone here Someone? and Wait am I cool enough to be here? It is only appropriate that a gala honoring such stars of the stage be also star-studded in attendance, but the realization of this fact does not quiet the giddy fangirl within. Luckily, I was able to keep it together long enough to introduce myself and congratulate some truly inspiring people on their well-deserved success. One of my favorite conversations was shared with the evening’s honorary chair, Amy Astley, whose ongoing support of ballet education throughout the years has been not only touching but also arguably integral in the rising popularity of ballet in the fashion industry and mainstream media. She was genuinely sweet, with an endearingly open adoration of the students circulating the event in tutus and pointe shoes, donation baskets in hand.

Of course, when it came time to express my thanks to the illustrious gala co-chairs, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, my 12-year-old self struggled to the surface of my skin, revealing her awkwardly emotional appreciation of their presence which read less as “thank you for being here tonight” and a bit more like “thank you for your musical detective series and Billboard Dad and New York Minute and for designing my first ever training bra and inspiring me to experiment with peasant puffed sleeves in the early 2000s!!!!!” But yeah, don’t worry, I totally kept my cool…


I can’t think of a more glamorous way to support young ballet dancers pursuing their dreams. There’s a special sort of heartwarming that comes with seeing the likes of Julie Kent, Paloma Herrera, Chelsea Clinton, Woody Allen and Nicky Hilton supporting ballet education in a venue so near and dear to me.

Of course the night would not be complete without a bit more dancing. And it is here that I will get strange: ABBA’s Dancing Queen has now followed me twice into euphoric evenings- first at my brother’s wedding, where I belted and shimmied through the throwback with my adorable Gma, and again Thursday night in the middle of the David H. Koch Promenade. The groovy feel-good melody seems to be somewhat of a celestial symbol for me, a reminder to pinch myself and appreciate that I am absolutely having the time of my life.

By Annie Watt-47912-Dancers.jpg

Sidenote: Another throwback (this time of MK & A) is absolutely worth rewatching. Practice, practice, practice!

photos 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 14 by VAM Productions.

leading ladies: misty & amy


Ballet and fashion have enjoyed a mutually propitious relationship for quite some time, volleying inspiration throughout history and resulting in some pretty amazing collaborations.  But the bond goes so much deeper than the beauty and glamour they share, and who better to showcase that bond than two of ballet and fashion’s leading ladies, ABT soloist Misty Copeland and Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Amy Astley?

If you’ve ever wondered what a conversation between these powerhouses might consist of, you’re not alone, and you’re in luck.  As part of their fantasy-indulging “Possible Conversations” series, online editorial platform, The Thick, has brought Copeland and Astley together (in a super luxe setting, to boot) for an exclusive feature.  The resulting discussion does not disappoint, diving right in passed the glitz and straight to the grit.

I was so pleased to follow the conversation into truly honest territory, in which the ladies weigh in on the juxtaposing grace and strength that can exist within a single creature.  So much of fashion pursues a seemingly unattainable “easy” chicness, and the mastery of ballet revolves around making each impossible step look natural.  One comment in particular, from Ms. Astley, really struck me:

“Whether in dance or fashion, if you can get to the top, you know you’re made of stern stuff. It’s sort of like ‘Swan Lake.’ The swan is so beautiful on the water, but underneath, the legs are working like crazy.”

When I teach ballet to younger students, this is one of my favorite examples to use.  In an attempt to calm their often rambunctious port-de-bras and shift some of that excess energy into the lower halves of their bodies, first I ask my students what a swan looks like from our point of view, gliding over the water.  “Elegant!  Soft!  Smooth!  Feathers!  One time I fed swans with my grandpa!”…you always get that one giggle-inducing response.  Then, I ask them to show me what a swan’s feet and legs are doing under the water, and their rollicking interpretations never fail to spread a smile across my face.  It’s such an accurate illustration of the work that goes into making something look effortlessly beautiful, and the fact that Ms. Astley used this comparison to link fashion and ballet just makes me love the special connection between them that much more.


The ballet world can feel so isolating, with its strong focus on physical aesthetics and that winding road towards an impervious perfection, but an inside look at the fashion industry lends comfort in its lipstick-masked strength.  Amy and Misty cover so many relevant topics, comparing views on beauty, art, femininity and what happens when you’re just a tad bit of a glutton for punishment (sound familiar, anyone?).  I highly recommend playing fly-on-the-gorgeously-bookshelved-sapphire-wall of this Possible Conversation.

photos c/o The Thick.