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Ballet in the Backyard

America Ballet Theatre puts on a show at Jeanne and Anthony Pritzker’s Bev Hills manse

Take a luxury hotel in Dubai, put it in a cocktail shaker with a pure white Getty Center, shake, and you will have a general idea of what Jeanne and Anthony Pritzker’s home looks like. The Pritzker’s opened their fantastic pad for ABT’s annual “Stars Under the Stars” fund-raiser. Once a shuttle took us up, up, up into the hills we were deposited at the front of the house. Guests walking in took cell phone pictures of artwork on the walls including enormous paintings made of living plants as we passed a kid’s playhouse that was bigger than my last apartment on our way to the backyard. Modern art (probably Koons?) was scattered about the lawn like big popcorn poofs in primary colors.
 
The purpose of the evening? Supporting ABT. These are lovely affairs (I recall another fab evening at Avery and Andy Barth’s home in San Marino). I admire ballet. The work that goes into a dancer’s body, the artistry of a good performance. ABTers put on a show that was both classic and modern. After each performance, one of the Pritzker’s girls (barefoot and in her pjs) would walk up and give the lead ballerina flowers. As night fell, the performances (Don Q, Act III, The Garden of Villandry, Swan Lake/ Act II Pas de Deux, and Twyla Tharp’s Sinatra Suite) got even more magical. “It’s a setting that you simply cannot have in the theatre,” said ABT’s Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie, looking up at the stars.

 

 
Photographs courtesy Alex Berliner / ABImages