On Wednesday night, Canada’s best ballet dancers and their most glamorous fans filled the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts to bask in the sultry Spanish glow of Mat Hot Ballet: Dangerous Love. The National Ballet of Canada’s annual benefit gala took its theme from the current production of Carmen, showcasing a few highlights within a dazzling gala performance. Featuring four showy snippets from various pieces, it included Summer Pas de Deux, an excerpt from The Four Seasons, Enketi, choreographed by principal dancer Guillaume Côté and the astoundingly fouette-filled Grand Pas de Deux from Don Quixote performed by Piotr Stanczyk and guest artist Svetlana Lunkina.
Post-performance, gypsies, muddled cocktails and spicy Spanish meats lined the glass walls of the Centre, with guests pouring out into every inch of available space. To keep the theme on sartorial high, our editor-in-chief Bernadette Morra judged a best-dressed competition, awarding two Carmen-esque winners with top honours. There were plenty more statements to be made in the VIP room, where guest Sarah White stunned in a crisp striped Oscar de la Renta gown straight off the runway. After last week’s fitting with Lucian Matis, principal dancer Greta Hodgkinson stunned in an ornate digi-printed cocktail dress from the designer’s current collection.
Elsewhere in the VIP, Canadian Opera Company general director Alexander Neef compared notes with the Ballet’s artistic director, Karen Kain while dinner host Jian Ghomeshi posed for photo snaps with event co-chairs Victor and Bernice Royce. At around 8:30, dinner guests were ushered back into the theatre to dine on the stage while partygoers held court in the lobby, dancing to the tunes of DJ Vaneska. As guests exited the building, they were gifted with long stem roses—the ultimate Carmen symbol.