San Francisco Ballet’s China tour, which included six sold-out performances in Beijing and Shanghai from Oct. 21-31, 2015, was a huge success. I had the pleasure of hosting the welcoming reception in Shanghai on Oct. 26 at The Roosevelt Club, located on a private floor of The House of Roosevelt at the legendary 27 Bund. San Francisco Ballet dancers, trustees, supporters and artistic director and principal choreographer Helgi Tomasson were among those in attendance. The Company participated in the 17th annual Shanghai International Arts Festival. On Oct. 30, a gala dinner took place before the program of Tomasson’s acclaimed Giselle, featuring Mathilde Froustey and Helimets Tiit, followed by a lively after-party. The closing performance in Shanghai—as well as the opening show in Beijing—celebrated principal dancer Yuan Yuan Tan’s 20th anniversary with S.F. Ballet. A Shanghai native, Yuan Yuan came with her proud parents for the homecoming. The special evening featured Tomasson’s The Fifth Season, a pas de deux from Possokhov’s Diving into the Lilacs, Robbins’ In the Night and Scarlett’s Hummingbird.
THE 2015 WILDAID GALA
My friends Amy Tan and Duncan Clark invited me to the WildAid 2014 gala in San Francisco. This led to me attending the WildAid 2015 gala—its first Hollywood fundraiser—in Beverly Hills on Nov. 7. WildAid co-founder and Executive Director Peter Knights showed PSAs featuring HRH Prince William, David Beckham, Sir Richard Branson, Harrison Ford, Leonardo DiCaprio, Yao Ming and Jackie Chan. Guests included Paula Abdul, Fergie and Josh Duhamel, Briana Evigan, Bo Derek, Chevy Chase, Michael Cudlitz, Maggie Q and Austrian entrepreneur Dr. Juergen Pichler Levine, who donated $1 million and successfully bid on several items during the live auction. In all, the evening raised more than $2.5 million. WildAid targets the supply trade of wildlife products, such as ivory, shark fin and rhino horn, with the slogan “When the buying stops, the killing can too.” The recent US-China agreement to ban ivory trade is a big step towards saving Africa’s elephants. To support, please visit http://wildaid.org.