State Street Ballet Fundraiser

By Richard Mineards   |   October 3, 2019
Friends surround honoree Sara Miller McCune and Susan Rose (photo by Priscilla)
State Street Ballet season sponsors Margo Cohen Feinberg and Tim Mikel with Randy Gustafson (photo by Priscilla)
Choreographer Peter Pucci with honoree Sara Miller McCune (photo by Priscilla)

Montecito über philanthropist Sara Miller McCune was honored when the State Street Ballet hosted its 25th anniversary gala for 150 guests in the Biltmore’s Loggia Ballroom, raising around $125,000 for the popular local dance company, which has 20 dancers representing six countries.

The room was decorated in myriad shades of blue, Sara’s favorite color, while the fun fete was emceed by Jonatha King, with Jill Dexter as chair, as diners were welcomed with characters dressed as peacocks from The Jungle Book.

Company members Ahna Lipchik and Nickolas Topete performed to Otis Redding’s “Stand By Me,” while Deise Mendonca and Francois Llorente danced to the Guayacan Orquesta’s “Mire Vea.”

Ballet peacocks surrounding Cecily Stewart, Bob Johnson, and Lisa Reich are Amanda Lesky, Julia Kamilos, and Emma Law (photo by Priscilla)

Sara said she saw her first production in 1960, a Balanchine production of Stravinsky’s Firebird by New York City Ballet, with the backdrop painted by Marc Chagall.

“I was a goner!” she explained.

The ubiquitous Geoff Green conducted the auction, which included dinner and theater for four at Mollie’s, a stay at the Biltmore, walk-on roles for three couples in The Nutcracker, two VIP tickets for the TV show Dancing With the Stars, a four-day stay in Durango, Texas, and dinner and dancing at the Montecito home of Alan and Melinda Blinken cooked by Ben-Oni Cortes, the couple’s private chef and a former dancer and costume designer for the company, which went for $4,000.

Among the bustling bevy of balletomanes were founder Rodney Gustafson, president Patricia Reid, Arlyn Goldsby, Margo Cohen-Feinberg, William Soleau, Bob and Alex Nourse, Nir Kabaretti, Caren Rager, Jane Sherron de Hart, Chris and Leila Fossek, Harry and Judi Weisbart, Brooks and Kate Firestone, Bryan and Lisa Babcock, Tim Mikel, Christopher Lancashire and Catherine Gee, Andre Yew, David and Anne Gersh, Christopher Pilafian, John Saladino, Barbara Burger and Paul Munch, Jamie and Marcia Constance, Corinna Gordon, Lois and Laura Capps, Kevin Marvin, Steve Thompson, Celesta Billeci, Denise Grimm, and Janet Garufis.

All just tu-tu much…


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