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A red carpet packed with camera-laden onlookers lined the walk to the David H. Koch Theater Thursday night where the New York City Ballet held its annual Spring Gala. You would have thought it was a movie premiere and indeed, the source of the crowd's attention was Sarah Jessica Parker, who graciously posed for pictures and spoke with fans.
"She's the smallest person I've ever seen," exclaimed one female gawker.
"This isn’t a period of rest and I’m accustomed to it and I’m just really excited that the movie’s coming out so I understand the obligation," explained Parker, who was there as a self-described "patron of the arts." "I haven’t danced since I was 16, but I haven’t stopped dreaming about it. I mean truly I still dream that I can dance far better than I ever could, that I have incredible skill and leap across the stage and have the energy of the 20 year-old."
Despite the stir she caused, the real stars of the evening were the company's dancers and architect Santiago Calatrava, who served as honorary chairman (along with wife Robertina) and designed sets for five of the spring season's seven new ballets as part of the NYCB's Architecture of Dance festival.
"This is perhaps the most creative we've ever been at this organization," declared NYCB ballet master in chief Peter Martins, addressing a crowd that included Carolina Herrera, Anne Bass, Arie and Coco Kopelman, Nina Griscom, Fe Fendi, Narciso Rodriguez and Debbie Bancroft.
After the night's program—the world premieres of Benjamin Millepied's "Why I am not where you are" and Alexei Ratmansky's "Namouna, A Grand Divertissement"—guests convened on the Promenade for a black tie supper of salad and osso buco. Natalie Portman kept to rumored boyfriend Millepied, while Parker congratulated the dancers, all of whom were dressed by J. Mendel for the evening. Turns out it was something of a dry run for Gilles Mendel, who is designing the costumes for Melissa Barak's world premiere 1940s ballet about Bugsy Siegel.
"It’s in my league; it’s like dressing Hollywood gangsters so it’s fabulous," said Mendel. "Having dancers as your ambassadors is so unique: the way they walk, it’s just a fabulous experience."