The Martha Graham Dance Company honored longtime patrons Marvin and Lee Traub at its annual gala on Wednesday night. The two-part evening started with a performance of four works from the Graham repertoire at New York City Center on 55th Street, during which the troupe donned costumes that had originally been designed by Graham herself. After, guests were shepherded through two blocks’ worth of buildings by sign-holding staffers pointing the way to dinner at The Russian Tea Room.
“It brings back so many memories,” the former Bloomingdale’s chief executive officer and Marvin Traub Associates founder said before dinner, as partygoers, who included guest dancers Diana Vishneva and Fang-Yi Sheu, filed into the room. “I was just sitting there, thinking back about how many years I used to sit backstage with Lee and Martha and watch the company perform….My greatest memory is having three chairs back to the side offstage: Martha in the middle, Lee and I on each side of her, watching the company perform.”
Traub and his wife, who studied under Graham and is chair emerita of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, were the subjects of several toasts over the course of the evening by figures from both the retail and dance worlds, such as Bloomingdale’s chief Michael Gould, Martha Graham Dance Company chairman Judith Schlosser and former dancer and National Dance Institute founder Jacques d’Amboise. Lee Traub repaid the favor when it was her time at the microphone after a heartfelt appreciation from her husband.
“Am I not the luckiest person in the world? To have a husband make a tribute like that and be introduced by these two great guys, Mike Gould and Jacques d’Amboise?” Traub said. “So I have to remind you all: Go to Bloomingdale’s and buy a lot of stuff…and support Jacques’ National Dance Institute, which is fantastic.”