The crème de le crème of Toronto high society gathered recently for the National Ballet of Canada’s 60th anniversary Diamond Gala at the Four Seasons Centre, a night of dining and dancing that raised$1.25-million.
Lloyd Robertson and Principal Dancer Greta Hodgkinson
Outside the centre, mannequin style models wearing specially designed tutus posed in the blistering heat while the 1500 guests were greeted with chilled water bottles. The red carpet was filled with the who’s who ranging from the Old Guard to some very avant garde party-goers. Most of the women were wearing long ball gowns with some in sassy cocktail dresses.
Jorn Weisbrodt, Rufus Wainwright and Emmanuelle Gattuso
The night began with an overture from Polovtsian Dances by Alexander Borodin that was on the programme of the National Ballet’s very first performance on November 12, 1951. This was followed by a welcome from Artistic Director Karen Kain who looked stunning in navy. The ballet portion of the night than began with an hour-long performance of very special short works, particularly sets of pas de deux.
Bernice Royce and Victor Royce, President & CEO of Rolex Canada
First up where Xiao Nan Yu and Jiri Jelinek performing a sexy, sassy, modern pas de deux from Amarant, a ballet that had premiered in Belgium in 2011. Husband and wife Guillaume Cote and Heather Ogden then performed a World Premiere of the very romantic Polar Night choreographed by Robert Binet for this special occasion. This was followed by the World Premiere of Silence Screams Venom, a riveting tour de force choreographed by Principal Dancer Guillaume Cote that featured Greta Hodgkinson and four male dancers and is certain to make him an exciting, upcoming choreographer in the dance world. It was the talk of the after party and created great twitter buzz. Sonia Rodriguez and Aleksandar Antonijevi (who is celebrating his 20th year with the ballet this year) partnered for a vignette from the evocative and humorous ’90s contemporary ballet Herman Scherman. The night then returned befittingly to the more classical and aptly selection excerpt from Diamonds From Jewels by George Balanchine. This featured the entire corps de ballet dancing to the 1967 traditional ballet.
Afterward, guests mingled at a cocktail reception featuring the night’s signature drink a lemon martini titled Skyy with Diamonds, and hors d’oeuvres such as mini cupcakes and smoked salmon pinwheels from North 44°.
The dinner onstage at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
Some notables spotted included Lloyd Robertson, Cleophée Eaton, Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, Ross Petty (husband of Karen Kain), Rex Harrington, Roz Ivey, Veronica Tennant, Victoria Jackman, Lydia Prince, Galen & Alexandra Weston, Elvio & Marlene DelZotto , John Macfarlane, Victoria Webster, Thor & Nicole Eaton, Lynda Prince, Jian Ghomeshi, Jorn Weisbrodt and Rufus Wainwright and Albert Schultz.
Principal Dancers Jillian Vanstone, Greta Hodgkinson, Heather Ogden and Xiao Nan Yu
About 550 of the guests were then escorted to the Four Seasons Centre stage for a special dinner prepared by celebrity chef Mark McEwan. Table for 10 tickets for this special privilege ranged from $15,000 – $25,000.
Photos by Gary Beechey