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There’s an ebb and flow to the benefit circuit, where one night the crowd, the music and the ambience all converge in perfect harmony, yet the next it can all feel terribly out of sync. This year, the New York City Ballet’s “Dance with the Dancers,” always one of the most anticipated events of the spring season, had a tough act to follow. After 2003’s raging disco-themed success, Monday night’s James Bond theme — which brought out the requisite white dinner jackets and a handful of Pussy Galores — was far from a license to thrill. It all seemed more Remington Steele than 007. There wasn’t even a martini in sight

Where last year Debbie Harry performed, this year, Jai Rodriguez from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” belted out an out-of-tune version of Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” from “The Spy Who Loved Me.” But not everyone was complaining.

This story first appeared in the June 17, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“I think it’s a great mix of people,” said Zani Gugelmann.

“I’m just happy that I got to wear hair extensions,” said co-host Amy Sacco, who personalized her patent leather jacket with “Bungalow 008” and carried a golden gun.

For co-host Jaqui Lividini of Saks Fifth Avenue, it was a chance to show off pictures of her five-week-old daughter, Calliope, while NYCB choreographer Albert Evans wowed the crowd with his Grace Jones attire. And Muffie Potter Aston still managed to hit the dance floor with a vengeance. Helen Schifter, meanwhile, faced the dilemma every socialite encounters: which party to attend when you’re invited to two in one night. Fashion triumphed over ballet, and she made an early exit for Isaac Mizrahi’s Target fashion show, leaving the other Miss Moneypennies behind.

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