A Beautiful Dinner Dance for Dancers

March 27, 2001, 12:00 AM EST

Benefit for the Mark Morris Dance Group Mark Morris Dance Center Thursday, 03.22.01, 9:30 PM onward
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The Mark Morris Dance Group benefit was all about dance. It started with a performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) of Morris' masterpiece L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed IL Moderato, which opened the group's 20th anniversary season. And the dancing continued at a post-performance party at the group's brand-new Mark Morris Dance Center, where lots of partygoers enthusiastically hit the dance floor to the sounds of DJ Tom Finn. With an eclectic mix of everything from Caribbean mambo to Donna Summer, Finn had a large crowd--including an elderly man with a cane--jumping up to shake it on the dance floor.

The performance and fabulous party raised more than $150,000 for the dance group. The gala party was organized by Lesley Berson and Michael Osso of the Mark Morris Dance Group, with help from event coordinator Tom Podiak of Wright Podiak Associates and Suzanne Gilliam's decor and event planning team from the Catering Company. Podiak brought in Frost Lighting to light the white room with glowing pinks, oranges, blues and purples, and to project spinning spirals onto the dance floor.

Not all the guests were dancing--several older guests were content to watch the party unfold while comfortably ensconced in a corner of the room on some antique-looking lounge furniture from Props for Today. They quietly munched on the buffet food that included grilled filet of beef, seared loin of tuna, potato pancakes, pumpkin tortelloni in wild mushroom sauce and roasted root vegetables with sage butter.

Meanwhile, the younger guests hovered around the bar area, where bartenders danced when they weren't pouring drinks. Tandoori chicken on Indian crisp bread; mini lobster club sandwiches; parmesan risotto; and roasted pear and chevre bruschetta were some of the hors d'oeuvres that circulated amongst imbibing guests, who chattered about the performance while sneaking peeks at celebrity attendees such as designer-cum-performer Isaac Mizrahi and actor-cum-cosmetics entrepreneur Isabella Rossellini.

If there was one drawback to this event, it was the absence of plumbing in this very, very raw space. Luckily, deluxe flushing portable toilets with sinks were brought in by Johnny on the Spot, and a table full toiletries was available for guests to use to freshen up.

--Suzanne Ito

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