- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 23, 2002

An eclectic mix of several hundred guests young, old, rich, not-so-rich, Kalorama socialites and "downtown" artsy trendsetters ensured a lively milestone birthday party for Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre Friday night.
It didn't take long to get the party hopping with drag diva Gigi Couture warming up the crowd with her hilarious homage to Gloria Estefan as the corps de ballet strutted their stuff on the dance floor in form-fitting outfits that tended to show off zero-body-fat physiques to their best advantage.
Later, six of the more rambunctious dancers paid their own special tribute to Mr. Webre by performing Britney Spears' "I'm a Slave 4 U" routine dressed in hot pants and minimal tops that were a far cry indeed from the Victorian costumes they recently wore onstage in "Nutcracker Suite."
"This is much better than 'Nutcracker,'" joked ballet trustee Dr. Carlotta "Buffy" Miles, who stayed to watch a repeat performance with husband Tony.
By midnight, the party at the Black Cat in Northwest was rocking with plenty of gorgeous young things mixing it up with their elders as the dance music switched from 1970s disco favorites to techno to hot Latin salsa and merengue.
Few wallflowers were in the crowd, which included businessmen Raoul Fernandez, Michael Saylor, Conrad Cafritz and Mark Ein; ballet chairwoman Kay Kendall; Arena Stage Director Molly Smith; Kara Kennedy Allen; Willee Lewis; Sarah Grosvenor; Michelle du Pont; Nancy Bagley; and Suzanne Cooke.
Mr. Webre, the birthday boy and the District's lord of the dance, was reluctant to speak about aging an often taboo subject in ballet circles, where most careers usually end at an age (say 35 or 40) when they are just getting going in other professions.
"I am turning 29 it's an age I have turned for years. I am very comfortable with that age," he said jokingly. Decorations and even the hand stamp provided at the door reflected the age-anxiety question in loving jest: "29?!?!"
Let's just say Mr. Webre is a wee bit older, but no one was saying by how much.
The contributions-welcome-but-not-really expected event raised a remarkable $6,000 for DanceDC, the ballet's program for public school students.
Gabriella Boston

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