After meeting with President Barack Obama and other chief executives yesterday in Washington, Terry Lundgren, CEO of Macy’s Inc. (M:US), made it to opening night gala of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at New York City Center just in time to accept an award for his company’s support.
Tina Lundgren, his wife, filled him in on what he’d missed: her star turn in the dance piece “Minus 16,” in which she and a dozen others including ABC’s Deborah Roberts had been plucked from the audience to rhumba and twirl on stage.
“Something special happens when Alvin Ailey takes the stage,” Tina Lundgen said. “Your toes start tapping, you’re mesmerized by the bodies, before you know it you’re experiencing dance -- some of us more than others.”
Comedian and Oscar-winning actress Mo’Nique spoke a few minutes later, praising those amateur dancers, in particular Marva Smalls, a Viacom executive who had some slinky moves with her Ailey partner.
“For the sister with the beautiful rhinestones, girl, I got his number! Yes indeed, his name is Charles. And he’s a Sagittarius.”
Mo’Nique, who served as the evening’s honorary chairwoman, praised the company’s founder, Alvin Ailey, “for having a drive so strong you said nothing will stop my vision.” And she reminded the audience of their good fortune.
“These babies are giving you everything, they’re giving you every piece of them,” she said before introducing “Revelations” performed to live music, including singing from Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessye Norman and Anika Noni Rose.
Afterward guests headed to the ballroom of the New York Hilton, where the best dance band ever entertained until midnight (Ray Chew, the music director of “American Idol,” made sure to get their number.) The band was actually three groups brought together by Elan Artists: Djore, Rhythm Collective and New York City Urban Gospel. Among those on their feet: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner Valentino Carlotti and Rohatyn Group CEO Nicolas Rohatyn.
The dinner was roasted poussin with chestnut stuffing, served in a winter wonderland setting created by David Monn. Tiger Management’s Julian Robertson sat with Elaine Wynn, Kenneth Chenault of American Express Co. (AXP:US) sat with designer B Michael.
The event raised $2.4 million, Alvin Ailey’s chairman, Joan Weill, said, before teasing her husband of 57 years, Sandy Weill.
“As of tonight, he’s changing his name,” she said.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include Jason Harper on cars, Lance Esplund on art.
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