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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

L.A. Dance Project Gala 2013: Before, During and After

Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Since moving to Los Angeles, one of the biggest enhancers for me has been discovering the booming art world.  Without a doubt, this includes the formidable  L.A. Dance Project.  Directed by the talented choreographer, dancer and dance curator, Benjamin Millepied, LADP is proving itself to be a fresh, young, innovated company breaking the boundaries of what a dance company can be.

So, when asked to become involved with its inaugural gala, I jumped at the chance.  And somehow ended up offering my house as the venue for such event.  After meeting with the event team, it was decided to build a stage over my pool and have dinner tables on the lawn for an intimate performance and dinner. The process was fascinating and intense.



 I tried to capture the inconceivable moments of creating the beautiful setting, perfect for the creative boundless energetic performance of the LADP.


The result was this tucked in stage with greens surrounding.  And the moon that evening became an integral part of the decor as it perched itself above the trees, brightly shining and looking on.

Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
And then the beautiful people arrived.  The guests could not have been more chic, lovely or interested in learning more about LADP. Sipping on Grey Goose cocktails, guests mixed and mingled atop the pool, aka stage during cocktail hour.
Founding Director, Benjamin Millepied with wife and Honorary Chair, Natalie Portman,
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Portman and Millepied with co-chair Catherine Soros, Jeffrey Soros, me and my hubs, Christian Stracke
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Jessica Trent of Jessica Robin Trent PR, Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Parker Jones and Carmen Danae, Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Mary Alice Haney, Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Black Swan producer Mike Medavoy and Irena Medavoy
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Cameron Silver
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Kate and Mulleavy of Rodarte with Catharine Soros
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Mark Anthony Edwards and B Michael
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Giada and Todd de Laurentiis
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Rashida Jones and Natalie Portman
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
With my friend and co-chair Catharine Soros
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Reese Witherspoon
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Monique Lhullier
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Jeffrey Deitch of MOCA
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Karyn Lovegrove
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
Guests sat around tables spread along the grass yard, enjoying salads with watermelon and feta, braised short ribs, wine and good company.  Surprising all of us, the dancers of the LADP slowly stood up to dance throughout the tables as two violinist played atop the stage.

Julia Sorkin and Kimberly Brooks
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan

above photos Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan

Making their way to the stage, they performed a glimpse of the past seasons and a section of an as of yet titled work by Justin Peck with music by Bryce Dessner.

Collage mash up of last seasons work set to music of Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure"
Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
video

Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
After the performance we headed back up to the stage to dance to the composer, producer and DJ trappings of Nick Britell.  It's always fun to be on the dance floor with professional dancers, not to mention on the same stage where they had just performed.

Nick and Benjamin
above photos Photo courtesy of Stefanie Keenan
The mood was easy-going and supportive.  By the end of the evening, we all shared something in common: a true awe and love for the inspiring work of the L.A. Dance Project.

The L.A. Dance Project dancers:  Nathan Makolandra,  Aaron Carr,  Rachelle Rafailedes, Amanda Wells,  Morgan Lugo, Julia Eichten, and Charlie Hodges (Ballet Master and dancer)
A huge thank you to such an amazing gala committee:  Darren Afronofsky, Brian Atwood, Maria Bell, Mark Bradford, Kimberly Brooks, China Chow, Anne Crawford, Mary Alice Cheney, Jeannie Joseph, Pamela Joyner, Rose McGowan, Karyn Lovegrove, Michael and Jamie Lynton, Mike and Irena Medavoy, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, Sally and Michel Perrin, Cameron Silver, Dita Von Teese, and Jessica Robin Trent