The feathers flew Saturday night, and that was before the ladies donned their boas and hit the dance floor flying. “A Swan Lake Soiree” was the theme of this year’s Pointe in Time benefit for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and it brought out the maribou in guests who chose black or white swans as inspiration. Ditto the dramatic Westin Convention Center ballroom, festive in black and white with heavenly centerpieces from Mt. Lebanon Floral. The stunning setting formed a perfect backdrop for a series of performances by the dancers, including two pas de deux from the classic ballet as well as contemporary pieces by Twyla Tharp.
Seeing the dancers at such close range is always a special treat, but there was more this year. A fundraising plea for the PBT school was enhanced by the appearance of the students in a range of ages, already poised and professional as they performed a few more pieces to the delight of the 400 guests. Add a welcome from ball chairs Sandy and MSA CEO Bill Lambert, a video on the school and one of those stand-up-and-pledge-money things that everyone hates (and emcee Ken Rice from KDKA-TV wisely truncated) and dinner was late being served. It didn’t help that the bars were closed until after dinner and the wine seemed timed to coincide with dessert. Ah, well, all the better to concentrate on the delicious lobster bisque shooter, the rack of lamb or Alaskan sablefish and the piece de resistance, a delicate swan puff pastry swimming in a chocolate pond. By evening’s end, including a live and a silent auction, more than $438,000 was raised for the ballet. And that is, after all, the reason for the ball’s being.
What PBT did get very right was the inclusion of young professionals at a reduced ticket price. They were able to join the festivities from the beginning, when ladies were handed a long-stemmed white rose as they entered. “I’ve never been to the ballet, and now I really want to go,” announced one smitten young guest, who came with four friends. Their energy and that of the dancers, who changed into black tie to join guests at tables, is what makes the ballet ball so much fun. Throw in the irresistible Gary Racan and the studio-e Band and you can bet the dance floor stay packed all night.
Who was there? A great crowd including PBT executive director Harris Ferris, artistic director Terrence Orr, Kathleen Miclot, Melissa and Matt Ferrari, Mia and Joel Bernard, Colleen and Denny Travis, Tim McVay and David Bush, Peggy McKnight, Dona and Tom Hotopp, Dawn and Chris Fleischner, Dr. Tanya Hagen, Clyde Jones, Philip and Jennifer Pelusi, Winthrop and Signe Watson, Brenda and Dave Roger, Steve Webster, Aaron and Aviva Stauber, Kristen and Kevin McMahon, Dr. John McSorley, Carol Shriber and Chuck Snyder, Richard Rauh, Bridget Miller, Dr. Jim and Ruby Kang, Eddie Beachler and Jean Anne Hattler, Tim and Jessica O’Brien, Shelley and Jim Taylor, Anne and Anuj Dhanda, Nancy Knowles and Jeff Brodsky, Dr. Bob and Mary Anne Kormos, Chuck Gottschalk and Dr. Helene Finegold, Cynthia Cooley, Alan Shadgett, Pat and Alan Siger and many more.