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The palpable excitement at Miami City Ballet in anticipation of its 20th anniversary gala has socialites taking their vitamins because of an event-packed social calendar.
It is expected that about 600 guests will attend the March 18 gala at the Coconut Grove Convention Center, hosted by bestselling author Suze Orman. A pre-gala kickoff party was held at the new Coconut Grove home of Dr. Margaret and Mike Eidson. Mike Eidson is the president of the board of trustees of MCB and a partner in the law firm of Colson, Hicks, Eidson.
A classical trio from the University of Miami entertained the crowd, which mingled in the three-level Mediterranean-style home decorated with French and Italian antiques and filled with masses of roses and orchids.
Guests included Edward and Linda Villella; Toby Lerner Ansin; Tina and Dan Carlo; Rosalind and Daniel Richter, and the principal dancers of MCB.
Two nights later, on opening night of MCB's third program this season, the company premiered Dances at a Gathering, one of the most revered ballets by famed choreographer Jerome Robbins. Also featured was Ballet Imperial, a dazzling Russian-style ballet by George Balanchine.
The evening began with a pre-performance cocktail reception at Touch Restaurant on Lincoln Road, where members of MCB's Artist's Circle gathered for drinks, hors d'oeuvres and conversation.
Immediately after the performance a select crowd of about 100 supporters attended an invitation-only black-tie ''Imperial Supper'' hosted by Her Imperial Highness Princess Thi-Nga of Vietnam in honor of her late father H.I.H. Prince Vng Thi of Vietnam and of the Ballet Imperial with guest of honor Edward Villella.
The lobby of the ballet building was transformed into an enchanting garden setting where guests dined banquet-style. Harpist Esther Underhay of The Elegant Harp provided elegant music. Guests included Marvin Ross Friedman and Adrienne Bon Haes; Florence and Sheldon Anderson; Pamela Garrison and R. Kirk Landon; Nancy Jean Davis; Darla and John Karlton; and Betty Madigan Brandt.
How very grand that our fair city is featured in this month's issue of New York's Avenue magazine, which for three decades has been the must-read society and lifestyle publication there.
Along with profiles of developer Donahue Peebles, couturier Mayda Cisneros, advertising wiz Michelle Zubizarreta, Miami City Ballet's Edward Villella and Mellon Bank's Alan Randolph, there is a who's who of Miami society and leaders. The charming Brit Richard Burns, chairman of the board of Manhattan Media and owner of Avenue and other publications, was in town to host a VIP dinner at The Setai in preparation for Avenue's invitation-only Miami issue bash coming up in mid-March. Among the dinner guests were Jorge and Darlene Perez; H. Logan Pierson; interior and furniture designer Michael Wolk; Alexia Bermello and brother Willy.
Fanny Dascal, one of the grande dames of Miami society, celebrated her birthday at o-R-o on South Beach. The all-white Hollywood glam restaurant, the brainchild of George Slover, was the perfect setting for the elegant birthday girl, accompanied by her three daughters, Lizzy, Jackie and Karla.
Expansive views of sparkling blue water surrounded more than 100 of society's elite from the floor-to-ceiling windows. The restaurant is decorated with a permanent installation of emerald green glass cylinders and masses of white candles by KARLA Conceptual Event Experiences.
Champagne flowed as salsa dancers performed throughout the event -- although technically a luncheon, in true Fanny style, the event lasted way into the cocktail hour. Lunch was a magnificent three-course feast that ended with a whimsical aqua blue and white cake.
Well-wishers included Yolanda Berkowitz; Kashia Orlando; Brooke Soffer; Marlen Pernetti; Marysol Patton, Carol Bell; Corina Biton; Nora Bulnes; Rosa Mora; Fana Holtz; Loretta Nuñez; Sol Juncadella; Ana Davide Webster; and Silvia Fortun.
DE CESPEDES HONORS
Brothers Carlos and Jorge de Cespedes, chairman and CEO and president and COO respectively of The Pharmed Group, were honored by The American Red Cross of Greater Miami & The Keys as the 2006 recipients of its prestigious Humanitarian of the Year Award -- the highest distinction bestowed by the organization. The award dinner was held at the J.W. Marriott on Brickell Avenue.
The Cuban-born brothers came to Miami via the Pedro Pan airlift in 1961 and founded Pharmed Group Holdings in 1980. The serve on multiple boards with an emphasis on education and community service.
Past recipients of the award, which rewards ''humanity, independence, volunteer service and unity'' include Sherwood ''Woody'' Weiser, Brian E. Keeley, Armando Codina, Adolfo Henriques, Richard Fain, Dr. Pedro Jose Greer, Alvah Chapman, Anthony Burns and the late Monsignor Bryan Walsh.