Ballet Austin’s Cinderella Themed Fête & fête*ish Dazzle

By Rob Giardinelli     Photography by John Pesina

THE SCENE: The JW Marriott in Austin was the setting for a night of great fun and fundraising. During the evening, over 550 of the Capital City’s most notable philanthropists, sociables, and art patrons were on hand to celebrate Ballet Austin’s annual Fête & fête*ish. This year’s Cinderella theme, which celebrated the recent Mother’s Day production of the beloved fairytale, created a magical experience that those fortunate enough to each live their own happily ever after.

THE VIBE: The black-tie crowd felt the magic of the evening the moment they stepped off the escalator and entered the ballroom foyer of the venue. Upon arrival, guests were treated to champagne and the opportunity to pose for a photo in front of a step and repeat to commemorate the evening. Patrons then made their way further into the ballroom foyer for a lively cocktail hour where they were treated to jazz music in the background, courtesy of Parker Jazz Club, as well as the opportunity to spot “little mice” running in unison to add to the magical, storybook theme of the evening. These adorable characters were comprised by the youthful participants of Ballet Austin.

The action then moved to the main ballroom for the main program. As guests took to their seats and began eating their delectable multi-course meals, they were interrupted by a very special guest, Cinderella herself. During the program, Cinderella emcee Cassandra King effortlessly kept the audience engaged as partygoers were treated to words from organization leaders as well as emotional testimonials of how Ballet Austin has positively impacted the Central Texas community. Next came a spirited live auction with the top items including a trip to San Miguel, the opportunity to star as a Mother Ginger in this year’s annual Ballet Austin Nutcracker performances over the holidays, and a luxury kitchen remodel donated by Build 512.

Next came one of the most anticipated moments of the Austin social season. The moment where the ballroom doors to the 350 attendees of Ballet Austin Fête to reveal one an additional 200 patrons at the fête*ish after party that was already in full swing. From there, two audiences combined as one where revelers danced the night away until the clock stuck midnight to the tunes of DJ Cassandra.

THE NON PROFIT: The event raised over $500,000 for Ballet Austin, which is one of the 15 largest classical ballet companies in the United States. Funds raised from this year’s Fête & fête*ish will go towards Ballet Austin programs to fulfill their mission of providing exceptional arts education and artistic programming to Central Texans.



Ballet Austin’s Fête and fête*ish Features Celestino Couture Runway Show

By Rob Giardinelli    –    Photography by John Pesina


THE SETTING: Austin’s JW Marriott was the recent setting for the Ballet Austin Fête and fête*ish after-party. This year’s event, Fête Couture kicked off the Austin fall gala season in high style. During the course of the evening, over 600 guests fortunate enough to be a part of the festivities were treated to a fabulous evening of fun and fashion.

THE STYLE: The night began in the ballroom foyer for cocktail hour. Over 300 black-tie clad attendees took advantage of the stylish theme by donning their finest interpretation of couture that created a seamless and beautiful tapestry with women wearing everything from bold prints to  sequined gowns. The men donned tuxedos, many of whom took the liberty of wearing colorful dinner jackets that reflected bold fashion choices.

The action then moved to the ballroom for the main program where, Master of Ceremonies, Society Texas’ own Lance Avery Morgan, effortlessly kept the festivities flowing, all the while an additional 300 partygoers were getting the fête*ish Fashion Never Sleeps after- party revved-up in the ballroom next door. Fête and fete*ish were then fused together as one party when the doors opened between the two ballrooms to reveal fête*ish well under way. Then, the start of the dazzling runway show, courtesy of internationally renowned-designer Celestino Couture, featured 23 stunning looks that brought the crowd to their feet. The afterparty ensured that the fun continued well into the night as guests danced the night away and toasted the success of the evening.

THE PURPOSE: Fête was chaired by Kara and Matt Swinney and fête*ish was co-chaired by Cassandra King Polidori and Stephanie O’Neill. Proceeds from both events benefited Ballet Austin, which is led by Cookie Ruiz and Stephen Mills. The mission of Ballet Austin is to share the joy of dance by providing accessible and exceptional arts and arts education programs for the Central Texas community.

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By Alexandra del Lago   Photography by Ashley Love

Aurelia Polidori, Event Chair Cassandra King Polidori and Ballet Austin performers

Recently, on a sunny spring afternoon, guests of every age descended upon the newly renovated The LINE Hotel to support and celebrate Ballet Austin Guild as it presented its 35th Spring fundraiser, An Afternoon of Enchantment. In fact, for many the tea has become both a new and treasured annual tradition.

Following a VIP reception to honor the event’s major supporters, old friends and new began gathering to mix and mingle over welcome drinks while capturing the moment in the ever popular photo booth. Guests were dressed in their best tea finery but the festive hats and fascinators definitely took center stage. The ballroom doors opened to reveal the enchanted forest beyond and exquisite tables laden with every kind of delicious treat, tea, and champagne, all designed and beautifully executed by VP of Fundraising Events and Event Chair Shane Manning and his devoted team of Guild volunteers. Musicians Anthony Chen and Cory Blais performed, while Butler Fellowship Program dancers Meredith Stitt and Ellis Broderick posed for photos with guests in their balletic tutus.

Cookie Ruiz and Stephen Mills

Raffle baskets filled to overflowing tempted partygoers waiting for the program that Amanda Tatom emceed. Guild members enjoyed the opportunity to visit with Stephen Mills, Ballet Austin Sarah and Ernest Butler Family Fund artistic director, Cookie Ruiz, Ballet Austin’s Executive Director, and a number of Ballet Austin performers.

We love that 2019 marks the 44th anniversary of Ballet Austin Guild, a non-profit organization supporting Ballet Austin’s educational and community programs benefiting over 57,000 Central Texans each year. The Guild consists of energetic volunteers who want to learn more about ballet and contribute to one of Austin’s finest cultural institutions. Proceeds from the event, designed as prelude to Ballet Austin’s season finale production of the Romantic Era classic, Giselle, support the Ballet Austin Academy youth scholarship fund. This fund ensures that no child who has the talent and desire to study ballet is denied a formal dance education due to financial concerns.

For more membership information, visit https://balletaustin.org