Performa Gala Recreates Surrealist Ballet With Dali-Inspired Menu, Aerial Dance

By Anna Sekula December 5, 2012, 1:14 PM EST

Photo: Clint Spaulding/

Performa's Relache—the Party Fund-Raising Gala
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Looking to pay tribute to Francis Picabia and Erik Satie's surrealist ballet of 1924, Performa staged a gala inside New York's Stage37 on Thursday that was littered with artsy activities and peculiar visuals. Invited to dress in black and white haute couture, more than 500 guests turned out for “Relâche—the Party,” where concepts from the original Relâche performance mixed with contemporary elements.

There was a menu inspired by Salvador Dali and René Magritte, sculptural costumes provided by Lika Volkova, a 12-piece orchestra playing excerpts from Satie's original compositions, a station for collaborative art from guests, and the ballet itself reimagined by artist Ryan McNamara. And when Hurricane Sandy left McNamara stranded in Los Angeles—forcing organizers to reschedule the affair from its original date of November 1—Performa found another connection to the Paris performance. Relâche's opening on November 27, 1924, was delayed when the lead dancer fell ill.

The gala raised more than $400,000, which will support the arts organization's fifth biennial slated for November 1 to 24, 2013.

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