On March 19, 2014 the Martha Graham Opening Night Gala Celebrating the Graham/Greek Connection began with a performance at New York City Center. After a brief introduction from Artistic Director Janet Eilber, the audience was treated to excerpts from Graham's iconic ballet Clytemnestra, a special collaborative performance by the Hellenic Dance Company and Graham 2 in Graham’s Panorama, and finally the anticipated World Premiere of Andonis Foniadakis's Echo.
Following the performance, the Gala guests made their way to the prestigious Plaza Hotel, where they enjoyed an hour of passed hors d'oeuvres. New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney joined the event and spoke with Executive Director LaRue Allen and with Trustee and Gala Chair Janis Tripodakis. New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham captured lovely images of the guests and dancers; his photos are available here.
After moving into the main hall, Laura Gordon, Interim Chair of the Board of Trustees, welcomed Gala guests to the dinner portion of the evening. The Graham Company was proud to have its honoree tables filled with the guests of Concord Consulting Services; honoree HRH Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia; the representative for honoree Kitty P. Kyraicopoulos, Rallou Malliarakis Hamshaw; and Lila Lalaounis, the wife of special tribute Ilias Lalaounis. Gala guests included current and former Trustees, long-time supporters, visiting aficionados, and new friends of the Company. Live dinner music enhanced the atmosphere.
Between courses, Janis Tripodakis and LaRue Allen introduced the honorees and special guests, addressing their connection to Greek culture and to Martha Graham Dance Company. HRH Crown Princess Katherine made a lovely speech about the importance of philanthropy and her love of her homeland, Greece.
The evening ended with dessert and dancing, when the Martha Graham dancers shared the floor with guests.