SARATOGA SPRINGS — A festive summer feast featuring herb-infused spirits, a multi-course gourmet dinner and appearances by New York City Ballet dancers will take place at Saratoga Performing Arts Center July 12-13.
Billed as “A Midsummer Night’s Supper,” the SPAC fundraiser was inspired by George Balanchine’s ballet A Midsummer Night’s Dream and ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq’s The Ballet Cook Book.
SPAC began 55 years ago with a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The magical dining experience - conceived by Meryl Rosofsky as an homage to Balanchine’s love of cooking and New York City Ballet’s storied history at the venue - is slated for Monday, July 12 and Tuesday, July 13 at 7 p.m. in SPAC’s new, outdoor Julie Bonacio Family Pavilion. The suppers will serve as the kick-off to New York City Ballet’s appearance at SPAC, scheduled for Wednesday, July 14 through Saturday, July 17.
The fundraiser will include appearances by New York City Ballet dancers Tyler Angle, Gonzalo Garcia, Maria Kowroski, Amar Ramasar, Teresa Reichlen and legendary retired NYCB dancer Edward Villella. Between courses, Meryl Rosofsky, creator of the “Breaking Bread with Balanchine” project; Paul Kolnik, renowned NYCB photographer and Saratoga devotee; and Jeanne Fuchs, author and longtime friend of Tanaquil Le Clercq who worked with her on The Ballet Cook Book, will share stories about food, ballet, and Saratoga.
The exclusive menu will feature recipes by Balanchine, Le Clercq, and dance luminaries who originated roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, including d’Amboise, Hayden, Patricia McBride, Arthur Mitchell, and Violette Verdy. The multi-course feast will be prepared by Chef Kim Klopstock of The Lily and the Rose and will be accompanied by superb wines and inventive cocktails like “Puck’s Potion” and “Bottom’s Up” created for the occasion.
“We all know that George Balanchine was a choreographic genius,” says Rosofsky, who serves as Vice-Chair of the George Balanchine Foundation. “But what many ballet lovers don’t know is that he was also a gifted cook. During summers in Saratoga, he’d even make his own ice cream and jams. His muse and wife Tanaquil Le Clercq wrote the wonderful The Ballet Cook Book, thanks to which we have personal stories and recipes from many of the great dancers of her day, including longtime Saratoga denizen Melissa Hayden (whose son happens to be my husband!) and the beloved, recently departed Jacques d’Amboise, who made a mean Sauce Béarnaise.”
“A Midsummer Night’s Supper” is part of the Center’s CulinaryArts@SPAC initiative, which launched in the fall of 2020 and features educational classes, workshops, gourmet experiences and more to support local chefs, farmers, and the regional culinary community.