We've got to pray!
Stephanie Green and Elizabeth Glover

Russia with dance

The iron gates of the imposing Russian embassy on Wisconsin Avenue opened to artsy guests Wednesday night for a small dance performance and dinner in celebration of 100 years of the Ballets Russes.

The famed company was formed in Paris in 1909 by Russia's legendary ballet impresario, Sergei Diaghilev, whose collaborators included such towering figures as composer Igor Stravinsky and choreographer George Balanchine.

Balanchine's favorite ballerina, muse and object of affection was Suzanne Farrell, his "alabaster princess," who was the guest of honor Monday evening.

Miss Farrell, a 2005 Kennedy Center Honoree, paid tribute to Balanchine, who died in 1983, with a performance of the master's 1920s ballet "Apollo" by two members of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, which will perform the work in its entirety in March at the Kennedy Center.

Miss Farrell, who still sports her dainty ballerina figure well into her 60s, happily mingled with guests but was not amenable to answering questions from reporters.

The event, which included an ample supply of vodka, was organized in part by Washington grande dame Esther Coopersmith, honorary co-chairwoman of the International Firebird Arts Foundation, which promotes Russian culture in America.

Also at the event were Russian Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak; Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of Ike; and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, California Democrat, who refers to her friend Mrs. Coopersmith as her "fairy godmother" because Mrs. Coopersmith invites her to so many glitzy parties.

The Washington Times
Friday, December 18, 2009