Alumnae, dancers, and philanthropists young and old braved the snowstorm to attend the Great Gatsby Gala in support of Canada’s National Ballet School. The exceptionally classy affair was held at the Arcadian Court and we should have guessed that the crowd of arts enthusiasts would live up to the theme. (We’ve been to our fair share of Gatsby-theme parties but the Daisy Buchannan authenticity at this bash triumphed all others.) Fringed dresses, cloche couture, dazzling diamonds, dramatic makeup, and angular haircuts: the only ones who weren’t up to snuff were, err, yours truly. We’ll know for next time.

Beyond being an exciting evening to celebrate the passion of dance, the annual fundraiser is hugely important in helping out with school endowment. “Because talent is the sole criterion for entry into the NBS Professional Ballet Program, our annual fundraiser is crucial in generating awareness and securing support for our extraordinary students—of which almost eight out of every 10 require funding,” said Arlen Bartsch, Director of Development. 

We weren’t really sure just how big a deal this fundraiser was until, upon our exit, we saw the dozen men in valet costumes lined on Bay Street in frigid temperatures. (A sure indication that a party means business.) Over hot chocolate, we browsed the press materials and learned that the event that evening was hoping to raise $800,000. (No wonder there was a Monte Carlo-type casino going late into the night!) We hope the fundraising goal was reached, because young ballet students move from far away to live and breathe dance at the school—and it’s one of the few longstanding institutions of its kind that helps emerging talent fulfill mighty dreams while also continuing to foster the arts in Canada as a whole.

Photos by Becca Lemire