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San Francisco ballet lovers like Vanessa Getty in vintage Yves Saint Laurent, Allison Speer in Andrew Gn and Stephanie Marver in Valentino thronged to the San Francisco Opera House Thursday night for the San Francisco Ballet repertory season opening night gala.

“I’ve loved the ballet since I was a young girl, so I had to be here,” said Getty, who was accompanied by Damian Smith, the star of the company who recently retired. “I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends, and especially ‘Rubies,’ because I love Balanchine,” said Smith, who is working on art projects, including creating large-scale body paintings that reproduce the gestures and emotion of dance.

The evening began with cocktails and dinner beneath the Beaux-Arts rotunda of City Hall, decorated with ostrich feathers and winged statuary by Riccardo Benavides. California Lieutenant-Governor Gavin Newsom dashed in from Marin County where he lives with his family. Asked who was the designer of his classic tux, he replied, “I don’t know. I haven’t bought a new tux since my wedding in 2008. Well, perhaps you could say it was designed by Banana Republic, or Gap or Old Navy,” he cracked. “The Gap has been a big supporter of my campaign for governor.”

His wife, Jennifer Newsom, who premiered her film, “The Mask You Live In” about American masculinity at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, is awaiting the birth next month of their fourth child, a boy, as yet unnamed. “I read stories to the kids, got dressed and headed into the city,” said Newsom. ‘Yes, a new film is in the works.”

The gala program opened with “Waltz of the Hours” from Coppelia, performed by 30 very young students of the San Francisco Ballet School, sparkling in pale pink tutus. Also applauding the dancers were Nancy Pelosi, Charlotte Shultz, Dede Wilsey, Juliet de Baubigny, Anne Sophie Deneve, Victoire Reynal Brown, Jennifer Mancuso, Carolyn Chang and Yurie Pascarella. Fashion sponsors for the event included Bulgari and La Perla. At the lively after party, male and female dancers dressed by La Perla cut loose on the dance floor.

 

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