The Petroushka Ball
2009 Petroushka Ball
On February 13, 2009, the 44th Petroushka Ball was held at the magnificent Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City for the fourth consecutive year. The Ball hosted over 600 dinner and dancing guests.
2009 Petroushka Ball included special performances by Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky , Principal Dancers at American Ballet Theater; Ekaterina Semenchuk , mezzo-soprano (with kind permission of the Metropolitan Opera); and Daniel Ulbricht , Principal Dancer at New York City Ballet. They were sensational!
The most visually mesmerizing performance of the evening was Jessica Lange’s “Splendid Isolation III” to Mahler’s 5th Symphony Adagio, performed by the two ABT Principals. Irina’s oversized white skirt (about 20 feet in diameter) took up half the stage, defining the boundaries between her and her partner. Through the evolution of the dance, the skirt that in the beginning separated the couple, became the object that bounded them together in their splendid isolation from the world. This passionate and emotionally deep ballet was recently performed by Irina and Maxim at ABT’s opening night gala at the Metropolitan Opera House.
Daniel Ulbricht, New York City Ballet Principal, dressed in a red Cossack costume, delighted the guests with the Ukrainian dance “Gopak”. Daniel’s astounding skills and ability to jump high and land noiselessly, shone through in this short dance. As Daniel said himself it was just a tease and he hopes to return and perform again at the Petroushka Ball.
Once the piano was rolled on stage, the guests were treated to Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk, who opened with the “Habanera” from Carmen. This was followed by Ekaterina engaging the guests, stopping at each table, while singing an aria "Griserie" from Offenbach's opera La Perichole. She brought the house down with her playful, flirtatious performance and received a standing ovation.
The Lester Lanin Orchestra , under the baton of Spencer Bruno, continued the evening's musical and dance program at the Grand Ballroom. In the adjoining rooms, Mikhail Smirnov and the Barynya Balalaika Orchestra provided additional entertainment in the best spirit of Russian culture and romance well into the morning hours. The guests of the event were able to try various types of infused vodkas donated by BMC Imports ( "Jewel of Russia" Ultra-Premium Vodka) and Me Oko Natural Flavored Vodkas .
In addition, 44th Petroushka Ball featured a silent auction and raffle. Among the prizes were "Empress Alexandra" Coat by Lana Fuchs Couture, exquisite jewelry, Clara Kasavina Arielle Clutch, artworks, tickets to concerts and ballet, dinners at elegant Manhattan restaurants, and many other prizes.
Ladies attending the dinner received gift bags filled with fabulous prizes including The Estee Lauder Travel Exclusive Set , Valerio 888 amber jewelry, EVE PEARL beauty products, Spartak chocolate , Elemis skin care products, Opera News and "Zdorovie" magazine publications, etc. We thank all companies and individuals who donated valuable prizes and items for the gift bags. Sponsorship of the Petroushka Ball is a great way to entertain clients and employees, network with prominent Russian-American businesses and it provides an effective opportunity for corporate visibility.
According to Vladimir Fekula, President of the RCWS, the current economic conditions have placed an enormous strain on all philanthropic organizations as they've seen their endowments and donations decrease significantly. The RCWS is no exception as the difficult economic times have made it more difficult for us to raise funds to continue assisting needy children in Russia. If this trend continues, RCWS may be forced to curtail some of its programs.
We would like to express our appreciation to all Petroushka Ball Patrons and Friends who supported us this year. Proceeds of the Petroushka Ball will benefit orphans and sick children in Russia.
Our 2009 Petroushka Ball was recently covered in the Sunday Styles section of The New York Times (Sunday, February 22, 2009). To view Bill Cunningham coverage, please click here.
In old Russia, one of the most popular puppet theatre characters was Petroushka. No matter his misfortune, he always bounced back to entertain the crowd. Igor Stavinsky, Michael Fokine and Alexandre Benois created a masterpiece ballet “Petroushka”, featuring the luckless but undefeated Petroushka who had fallen in love with a graceful ballerina.
The Petroushka Ball, a traditional Russian ball held annually in New York City, is the primary fundraising event for the Russian Children's Welfare Society (RCWS). The Ball was started in 1965 as a expansion of a small tea dance, by a group of members of the Society (Mr. and Mrs. Serge C. Bouteneff, Mrs. Ivan P.Obolensky, Mrs. Diane Erstavi, Princess Sergei Belosselsky-Belozersky) with a Junior Committee that was formed including Helen Basilevsky, Mafalda Chanler, Amy Gristede, AndreKotchubey, and Beatrice and Vladimir Fekula, the current President of the RCWS. To this day, the latter two still debate who gets the credit for coming up with the name "Petroushka" during that first meeting. The late Helen Basilevsky (grand daughter of White Guards General Pyotr Vrangel) designed the "Petroushka" emblem which is still used on all our invitations and programs. The first Ball was held at the now defunct Delmonico Hotel; it sold out and was an overwhelming success. It has become one of New York most vibrant and anticipated annual events, attracting upwards of 700 dinner and dancing guests. Past Petroushka Ball events were held at the Pierre, Plaza (for over 30 years) and Waldorf=Astoria hotels. Since 2002, the Ball has featured Opera greats such as Anna Netrebko, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Rollando Villazon, Elina Garanca, Elena Obraztsova, Matthew Polenzani, Maria Guleghina, and Paul Groves, as well as soloists from the American Ballet Theatre, Bolshoi Theater, Novaya Opera and the Spivakov Foundation.
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