Is there a place more beautiful than the ballet?
I was invited to attend the Youth American Grand Prix's "Tribute to a Dance Legend" Gala honoring the career of Julio Bocca.
The "YAGP" is an annual student ballet competition open to dance students 8-19 years old. To the fortunate few winners, it grants scholarships to the leading dance schools in the U.S. and abroad. Every year, the finale of the competition week is crowned with a shining capstone gala. This year's honoree: Julio Bocca.
The Lincoln Center Plaza is flanked by some of the greatest performance halls in the world, housing The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. You feel an aura of excitement stepping foot into this artistically charged place. The greatest musicians, dancers, actors and artists have walked here before you.
Young boys, so proud of their craft, dance around a fountain. No doubt they were finalists in the YAGP this year. They show off like tiny peacocks for the excited on-lookers who record Snapchat videos on their phones.
This encapsulates the evening. Young, aspiring dancers coming together in New York City to witness the celebration of their hero's career.
I took my first ballet class at eighteen months old. The story goes something like...
- I wanted, more than anything, to dance. To be a ballerina. Mostly to wear pink tights and tutus. I was told that if I could get out of diapers, I could join ballet class a year earlier than the entry age. The next day? Out of diapers.
Growing up as a child in the ballet world gives you a few things. Firstly, it teaches an incredible level of self-discipline. You must yearn for perfection to wake up every day and perform the same series of techniques at a ballet barre. Secondly, it teaches tenacity. So many little boys and girls want to dance, but few make it to YAGP.
The program consisted of ballet royalty and young newcomers fresh off a Grand Prix success. The blend of time-honored and new talent, established and familiar.
The most memorable piece was a revitalization of a pas de deux from Don Quixote performed by Tamara Rojo, a revolutionary principal ballet dancer, and Isaac Hernandez, a recent alumni of YAGP. This blend, the coming together of history's greats to inspire and ignite a spark in the live's of young people is what it is all about.
The program was gorgeous. From first silent hush falling across the crowd to the final curtain fall, experiencing something as magical as a night at the ballet is unparalleled.
The ballet has held the allure of showcasing great art while also inspiring its patrons to DRESS UP!
Fortunately, the weather in New York City is just changing, granting me the opportunity to wear a simple white blouse from Parker with small studded details without a coat! I chose to keep the emphasis on these crazy amazing Black Felix Ruffle Trousers from Osman, accessorizing with a classic cognac leather bag from Ninna Ricci. Look at those striking gold chain handles! I finished the look with the most comfortable Italian made shoes : the black Gigi by Joan Oloff Shoes.
I've found that structured silhouettes in neutral colors make me feel the most New York Chic.
How fun is finding your own personal style? It is so freeing knowing what I love, what doesn't serve me and what I need to let go of. As a young girl, I thought I'd be a ballerina. I've learned to let go of that idea and enjoy ballet on the occasional Friday night. In middle school, I thought blue eyeshadow and Abercrombie and Fitch clothing was the tops! Clearly, that look isn't a top contender in my closet...
To the best of your abilities, try to understand the dress code of the event you're attending and the typical wardrobe for that venue. A gala a Lincoln Center is a very different function than a barbecue on a farm. (I've done both. And love each equally.) An elegant event calls for classic clothes. If you keep that in mind, you'll never be out of style.
Congratulations to the dancers of this years Youth American Grand Prix, to the historic dancers and choreographers who shared their work, and to Julio Bocca.
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