BY CATHLEEN DUFFY
The Saratoga Performing Arts Center hosted its annual gala at the Hall of Springs on July 8 to support the New York City Ballet residency. The theme this year was “The Rhythm of Romance” and featured three ballets set to scores by the legendary Broadway composer Richard Rodgers.
The evening began with a red carpet champagne reception on the veranda of the Hall of Springs, provided by Mionetto USA, and included a ballet gala bar hosted by The Adelphi Hotel and gourmet dinner by Mazzone Hospitality. The SPAC Action Council sponsored the gala, which drew a crowd of about 360 guests, and SPAC’S Junior Committee hosted the festive lawn party. Winner of the picnic contest was The Murphy Tent.
SPAC Action Council gala co-chairs were Tas Steiner, MaryLou Pinckney, Sequoyah Finkell and Candace Zlotnick, Action Council president. The Junior Committee included Ana Ventre, Nathan Bull, Michael Rosebrook and Sam Kercull, Junior Committee president.
The 26 women who served as Action Council presidents since its founding in 1977 were honorees for the evening. A special tribute by SPAC President Elizabeth Sobol was paid to Philly Dake, the very first president of the Action Council. Jane Wait, the second president, attended with family members. Peggy Evans, the fourth in 1980, and Judy Aronstamm, the seventh in 1983, were among the many past presidents attending.
Three elegant ballets followed the dinner. Ballet Master-in-Chief Peter Martins created Thou Swell to honor the 100th anniversary of Rodgers birth. A Dance, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon to music from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic 1945 musical Carousel, and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, created by ballet founder George Balanchine for Rodgers and Hart’s 1936 musical On Your Toes, were also crowd-pleasers.
Ending the evening was a beautiful display of fireworks, followed by live music by Garland Nelson and Soul Session in the dance tent on the lawn. The festivities and weather made for a perfect summer’s night.
Presidents of the SPAC Action Council, not in chronological order, who were honored: Philly Dake, Jane Wait, Judy Aronstamm, Linda Toohey, Nancy DiCresce, Barbara Hoehn, Doris Fischer Malesardi, Deborah Barthold, Gerry Golub, Traci Jersen, Candace Zlotnick, Jane Caffry, Peggy Evans, Lila Loewy, Vivienne Anderson, Janet Metzger, Betsy Hamilton, Maureen Lewi, Kathy Striker, Heather Mabee, Robin Kappler, Andrea Golub, Betty Crummey, Iola Goldberg, Dorothy George Wedeen and Jeanne Van Patten.