Photography courtesy of Sarah Siller of Sarah Siller Photography.
A gorgeous, sunny day heralded the arrival of excited guests at Ballet Austin Guild’s second annual spring fundraiser tea, “An Afternoon in Neverland”, so named in a nod of support to Ballet Austin’s grand season finale, Peter Pan. This year’s highly successful sold out event was held inside the gorgeous Driskill hotel, an Austin icon and key event sponsor.
Guests of all ages arrived in their best tea finery, with beautiful hats and outfits taking center stage. They were ushered in by a cast of costumed characters portrayed by the Hill Country Players, drama students from Hill Country Middle School, much to the delight of the youngest attendees. Tables beckoned partygoers with exquisite centerpieces provided by Mandarin Design Lab along with towers of luscious treats and an assortment of lovely teas. Adult guests enjoyed a bit of celebratory bubbly as they strolled among the many enticing raffle baskets.
Once all were seated, Ballet Austin Sarah & Ernest Family Fund Artistic Director Stephen Mills introduced and spoke a bit about featured speaker, company dancer Chelsea Marie Renner, who danced the role of Wendy in two performances of Peter Pan.
Chelsea shared that her dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer would not have been realized had there not been vital scholarship opportunities along the way. She spoke of her family’s many struggles to keep her dancing. Her father owned a small print shop in Bozeman, Montana, and often traded printing jobs for the dance academy in exchange for her tuition. As Chelsea’s talent and passion for ballet developed and greater but more distant opportunities came along, scholarships were her only hope to continue her training. Chelsea was the very first recipient of the Butler Fellowship Scholarship in 2006, allowing her to join Ballet Austin II prior to moving up to the company.
William Jackson, long-time attendee, proud supporter of Ballet Austin Guild and Ballet Austin and chief business officer for InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential says, “I’m honored to support Ballet Austin Guild. I’ve have the pleasure to see first hand how hard this amazing group of individuals works to ensure the longevity of the programs offered by Ballet Austin and the availability of the arts throughout the Austin community. My heart is touched deeply to see beautiful families celebrate together with great laughter, excitement, and love. It’s also an honor to help to increase awareness through partnerships with InFluential Magazine and Teen InFluential. I wish these wonderful organizations much continued success and will do my part to ensure their continued successes”.
Ballet Austin Guild President Suzanne Mackowiak thanked those in attendance and reminded the audience that all tea proceeds go to Ballet Austin’s Academy Youth Scholarship Fund, making classical ballet training available to any child with a passion and desire to learn, regardless of his or her family’s economic situation.
Learn how you can support Ballet Austin Guild by visiting here.