PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston April 2024

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By Shelby Hodge. Photography Wilson Parish. Houston The A lthough Houston Ballet's production of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Mayerling was weeks away, the Ballet Ball embraced a Viennese theme for its annual gala — sans the sex, drugs, and murder that pervade the ballet's tragic story of Austro-Hungarian crown prince Rudolf. Instead, it was a white-tie evening of royal splendor, with Wortham Theater Center's Grand Foyer magically transformed by Richard Flowers and The Events Company into the Hofburg Imperial Palace. Ball chairmen Cabrina and Steven Owsley and Margaret and Jonathan Cox swanned through the palatial setting where ballet patrons Akemi and Yasuhiko Saitoh were honored. Houston Ballet principal dancer Yuriko Kajiya delivered kudos to the couple in their native Japanese, while Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch delivered the salute in English. Before City Kitchen's Viennese-inspired dinner was completed, six couples from Houston Ballet Academy Pro swirled across the dance floor to a luxurious piece by Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Lehár, to whose music Mayerling is set. The evening enriched Houston Ballet coffers by $1.6 million. PC Seen: Leigh and Reggie Smith, Kristy and Chris Bradshaw, S. Shawn Stephens and Jim Jordan, Margaret Alkek Williams, Julie Kent, Jim Nelson, Anne and Albert Chao, Kelley Lubanko, Lynn Wyatt, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Angel Rios, Mignon and Stephen Gill, Marguerite Swartz, Jordan and Dylan Seff, Shara and Kent Schaffer, Hallie Vanderhider and Bobby Dees, Stephanie Tsuru, Duyen and Marc Nguyen, and up-and-coming designer Bach Mai, a native Houstonian. Ballet Ball Rocks the Viennese vibe Melissa Juneau, Audrey White Jayne Johnston Deborah & Edward Koehler Co-chair Margaret Cox, Julie Kent Co-chair Cabrina Owsley Honoree Akemi Saitoh Marc & Duyen Nguyen Bach Mai Desrye Morgan, Julie Kent Reggie Van Lee, Harper Watters Jay Jones & Terry Wayne Jones Phoebe & Bobby Tudor Leigh & Reggie Smith 32

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