What: The Washington Ballet’s annual Jeté Society Dance Party. The gala is thrown by and largely for the ballet’s young-membership group, which supports the ballet’s signature education program, DanceDC.
This year’s theme: What Happens at the Embassy. . . Stays at the Embassy.
Where: Vegas . . . er, the French Embassy on Reservoir Road in Georgetown.
When: Saturday, January 26, from 9 PM to 1 AM.
Attire: “Dress to kill.”
Who: Event chairs Ashley Taylor and Winston Bao Lord were introduced by artistic director Septime Webre while the ballet’s executive-director-slash-dancer Kay Kendall hit the dance floor along with a slew of Washington’s young social set. Jeté Society president Elika Hemphill and her steering committee deserve praise for exceeding their $65,000 fundraising goal far before raffle and casino totals had come in.
The scene: Picture a gated entrance with a sleek white building glowing a hundred or so yards away on a slight rise and a hubbub of young singles, all fashionably late at the same time. The French Embassy was transformed into a Vegas-style casino for Saturday evening’s sold-out dance party, complete with blackjack tables and plentiful cocktails provided by Grey Goose. Women in heels and short dresses posed with their male attendants in front of Washington Life’s banner before trying their hand at blackjack and poker. Guests perused table after table of raffle items, including shoes from local designer Lacey K, a Wizards suite, and elegant place settings from Gore Dean. Guests were encouraged not only to dress to impress but also to leave conservative Washington rules behind; the event invitation encouraged them: “Be Wild. Be Sassy. Be Unexpected. Or Stay Home.” Winston Bao Lord and Ashley Taylor both dressed for a night worthy of the Venetian: She wore a bronze paillette sheath with opaque black stockings, bronze open-toe pumps, and a curly updo; he wore a white dinner jacket. Webre introduced the evening’s entertainment by warning, “This is not the ballet!” before a dozen or so scantily clad dancers from the Aaron Jackson Troupe performed an energetic number to Jimmy Jackson’s “Fashionista.”
Ouch: One gent left early after taking a fall on the dance floor and busting his nose.
Food: Trays of quichelike bites and mini-desserts including delish little profiteroles.
Drink: Beer, wine, Grey Goose cocktails, and oodles of bubbly.
Boldface names: 3.5 out of 5
Swankiness: 3.5 out of 5
Food and drink: 3 out of 5
Overall exclusivity: 3.5 out of 5
Total Score: 13.5