An Arabian Nights Gala: The Dorchester, London

Their Royal Highnesses Prince Andrew and Princess Beatrice were guests of honour at this year’s Gala Dinner and Auction. The Dorchester once again generously hosted the event which took the Arabian Nights as its theme.

It was a theme enthusiastically embraced by the guests who dressed for the occasion, swathed in luxuriant fabrics, bedecked in splendid jewels and even the odd turban.  For those who had yet to add an Arabian twist to their outfit, there were accessories on sale designed and handmade by Central St Martin’s students Martin Hanley, Adam Mosley and Toma Stenko.

Broadcasting royalty was also present as Terry Wogan joined those enjoying Laurent Perrier Champagne and canapés during the reception where many bought gifts from the Wonder Tree and browsed the impressive selection of Silent Auction items on display.

Hosted by TV presenter Natasha Kaplinsky, guests were treated to a delicious Arabian inspired three course dinner, wine from Armit Wines, and an exclusive ballet performance, choreographed by Associate Artist
George Williamson.

As the lights went down our dancers surprised guests by weaving through the tables in a blur of colour, culminating in a sensuous performance on stage with extracts of Fokine’s Scheherazade and incorporating music from Camille Saint-Saëns’ Samson and Delilah. Singers from Opera Holland Park added further drama to the performance with their rendition of Stanger in Paradise from Kismet while Ksenia Ovsyanick and Arionel Vargas danced their pas de deux.

Go to set An Arabian Nights Gala: The Dorchester, London

  • Tamara Rojo and Natasha Kaplinsky at English National Ballet's Arabian Nights Gala. Photo: © Photography by ASH

  • Exclusive Gala performance choreographed by Associate Artist George Williamson for English National Ballet's Arabian Nights Gala. Photo: © Photography by ASH

  • Exclusive Gala performance choreographed by Associate Artist George Williamson for English National Ballet's Arabian Nights Gala. Photo: © Photography by ASH

  • Exclusive Gala performance choreographed by Associate Artist George Williamson for English National Ballet's Arabian Nights Gala. Photo: © Photography by ASH

  • Candle lit and floral table centrepieces from English National Ballet's Arabian Nights Gala. Photo: © Photography by ASH

  • Candle lit and floral table centrepieces from English National Ballet's Arabian Nights Gala. Photo: © Photography by ASH

  • Exclusive Gala performance choreographed by Associate Artist George Williamson for English National Ballet's Arabian Nights Gala. Photo: © Photography by ASH

Whilst guests bought keys to the Open Sesame Raffle and pledged on the Silent Auction, ex-international England rugby player Martin Bayfield created a bidding frenzy for the live auction which hosted a spectacular array of prizes thanks to our generous supporters. The evening also served as the launch of our latest production appeal for Le Corsaire. A very generous £30,000 was donated by individuals on the night, a great start to the appeal. We are delighted to announce that this year’s Gala raised a staggering £150,000 for the Company. These funds will directly support the future of English National Ballet and we thank each and every one of the people and companies who contributed so generously.

Save the date for next year’s Gala taking place on 17 March 2014 at The Dorchester, Park Lane. To receive further information about the 2014 Gala contact Development at events@ballet.org.uk or on 020 7581 1245.

With thanks to our dedicated Gala Committee:
David Morgan-Hewitt (Chair), HE Sheikha Amna Abdulaziz Al Thani, Amanda Anderson, Vanessa Arelle, Neil Birks, Alejandra Caro, The Baroness de Mandat Grancey, Micheline Decker, Dorothy Ind, Gudrun Jensen, Ali Kaouzov, Natasha Kaplinsky, Mona Khasshoggi, Barbara-Ann King, Richard Luck-Hille, Eva McGaw, Zenouska Mowatt, Beatrix Ong MBE, Emma Rickett, Jennifer Talbot, Lynn Turner and Kersti Urvois.