As is the tradition for early-fall galas, Ballet Austin’s annual Fête and its companion party, fête*ish, are always sure to delight, surprise and entertain. The 2016 edition invited guests to journey down the rabbit hole, as beautiful thematic design elements drew from the upcoming May 2017 performance of Septime Webre’s Alice (in wonderland). The opening portion of the evening, a gala dinner, went as smoothly as ever, save for one major detail … the announcement of a surprise $3 million gift from longtime arts supporters Dr. Ernest and Sarah Butler.
The Butler New Choreography Endowment, a significant donation planned to support in perpetuity the creation of major dance works by Stephen Mills, Ballet Austin’s Sarah and Ernest Butler Family Fund Artistic Director, and all of his successors. The Butler’s joined Mills and Executive Director Cookie Ruiz in announcing the new endowment at the end of the seated dinner portion of the evening, cleverly co-chaired and expertly executed by Beverly Dale and Jeff Coddington.
After the jaw-dropping announcement, which elicited a well-deserved standing ovation, the JW Marriott ballroom walls opened and Fête was joined with its more “mad” companion party, fête*ish, chaired by newlyweds Jessie Katz and Andy Means. Elaborately costumed performers roamed the room, while separate areas were assembled to play croquet with flamingo mallets (à la The Queen of Hearts) or purchase a surprise prize from the “mushroom pull” raffle.
DJ Manny and his duo of musicians then proceeded to lead a dance party that lasted well past the stated midnight curfew. In fact, as the lights came up, many revelers had to be encouraged to keep the fun going elsewhere. Always the mark of a good party!
Proceeds from the sold-out event benefit Ballet Austin in their mission to create innovative and accessible arts and arts education programming across Central Texas.
SPOTTED: Mayor Steve Adler and Diane Land, Abby and Bo Beacham, Brantley Boyett, Abbby and Chris Hendel, Heather and Alex Ladage, Lance Avery Morgan and Rob Giardinelli, Laura Spurr, Kara and Matt Swinney, John Teinert and Chris Pellegrino, Brenda Thompson, and Collin Young.