“I’m always reminding my wife how I love to go to anything that involves people doing things I could never do: professional baseball, the opera, the ballet…,” said Alec Baldwin Monday night while exiting the Metropolitan Opera House’s theater.
He — along with Katie Holmes, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Violetta Komyshan — had congregated at Lincoln Center to mark the American Ballet Theatre’s spring gala. Holmes, who brought her mother as her date, said “I have always admired the art form [of ballet], the amount of work it takes and the collaboration of so many different arts — the costumes, production design, the dancers.”
The event served as the 10th anniversary celebration for the company’s choreographer-in-residence, Alexei Ratmansky. Formerly director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Ratmansky’s expressive narrative ballets and inventive contemporary works led ABT’s chairman Andrew Barth to declare him in an onstage speech as “the world’s best living choreographer.”
But Ratmansky himself demurred. “That is a huge exaggeration,” he said. “I’m just happy with all of my work.”
Known among dancers for his gentle studio demeanor, Ratmansky has set himself apart in an industry recently publicized for abuses by male leadership. “You need to be respectful always,” he said.
ABT benefactor Elizabeth Segerstrom has supported several Ratmansky premieres, contributing to her opinion that “ballet always thinks ahead, there is so much talent and energy and so much creativity around the ballet. Tonight is a huge celebration for Alexei.”
The advent of social media has brought a new audience to the ballet, catching the interest of Millennials and Gen Z. Gyllenhaal noted that her attendance was owed to “my daughter, who on Friday is going to celebrate her third year [of training] with ABT. It’s been amazing for her, she is a really serious dancer coming five times a week so we are there all the time.
“On a hot day like this, you are like ‘Why do I live here?’ and this is why,” the actress added. “This is why you raise your kids here — my kids have seen so much interesting dance and theater and art. New York is the best place for that and I’m grateful to be able to share that with them.”