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MONTE CARLO, Monaco — “This is the Oscars of ballet,” declared Amanda Harlech, as she settled in her seat at Les Nijinsky 2002. The awards ceremony capped the five-day Dance Forum here, organized under the patronage of the Principality’s most elegant balletomane — Princess Caroline of Hanover.
The evening’s brisk and entertaining program, broadcast live in Europe, featured performances by Savion Glover and appearances by some of the major figures in dance. But with due respect to them all — and to Her Royal Highness — the star of the night had to be the emcee, Jeanne Moreau.
“She has never done a pas de deux, but she has never made a faux pas,” said Karl Lagerfeld when he introduced the legendary star. Even at a certain age, Moreau looked impossibly chic in a Chanel suit and she captivated the audience. As Lagerfeld noted, “her voice alone is a masterpiece.”
“Who, as a child, did not dream of flying?” she growled in her smoky Gallic drawl, by way of describing the night’s inspiration: the dancer Nijinsky, whose leaps seemed to defy gravity.
The Nijinksy Awards, with sets designed by Lagerfeld and sponsored by Chanel, honored legendary prima ballerina Marcia Haydee, dancers Vladimir Malakhov and Lucia Lacarra, and choreographers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Jean-Christophe Maillot, the director of the hometown Ballets de Monte Carlo.
The luckiest young man in Monaco that night, though, may have been choreographer William Forsyth’s son, Sam. The adorable 16-year-old not only saw his father win the night’s top prize, but he also got a job offer from Lagerfeld himself.
After the awards, when the elder Forsyth mentioned that his son wanted to be a designer, Karl promptly offered him an internship at Chanel. The boy was delighted, almost as happy as he was to met his hero Hedi Slimane.
“I really like Chanel,” said Forsyth fils. “But Hedi Slimane is great.”