But any litany of excuses would have seemed petty when it came to the School of American Ballet's Winter Ball, considering that a significant portion of the chairs had flown in from San Francisco just for the occasion, including money manager Pamela Joyner and her husband Alfred Giuffrida and Google's Marissa Mayer and husband Zachary Bogue. Airplane flights trump cross town traffic any day.
Zachary Bogue and Marissa Mayer
The West Coast contingent was joined by Coco and Arie Kopelman, Jill and Harry Kargman, Bettina Zilkha, Darci Kistler, Alexandra Lebenthal and Jay Diamond and Michelle Trachtenberg (if a party happens and no one from "Gossip Girl" attends, does the event matter?) for cocktails on the second floor as a tableau vivant of gown-clad models stood on the main stairwell showing off jewels from the evening's sponsor Van Cleef & Arpels. The evening's master of ceremony (along with wife Deborah Roberts) Al Roker inhaled barbecued bacon hors d'oeuvres, while Mayer was surrounded by well-wishers.
Alexandra Lebenthal, Michelle Trachtenberg
Guests were ushered up to the promenade for a seated dinner and they were apparently not quite quick enough for Roberts.
"Al Roker gets kind of vicious sometimes—I'd take my seat," she pronounced from the podium.
"Here's what I deal with everyday," shot back Roker.
"And no, I didn't have to drag him here tonight," continued Rogers of their commitment to the ballet.
"It also helps to have hors d'oeuvres made of bacon," her husband added.
Peter Martins then made a speech of his own, announcing that the event had raised a million dollars, more than ever before, and couldn't help sharing, "Van Cleef & Arpels are [Balanchine's] favorite jeweler."
Nicolas Luchsinger with Van Cleef & Arpels models
After a dinner of vegetable timbale and lamb and a video presentation highlighting the importance of SAB, diners were treated to a performance choreographed by New York City Ballet soloist Adam Hendrickson of students in white tutus and buns smeared with what looked like ivory clay (Alexander Wang Spring 2010 hair, anyone?). As soon as they finished, they headed into the crowd (along with some black-clad male classmates), pulling willing guests onto the dance floor as "Got to Be Real" blared from the speakers.