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NOBA closed its 2009-’10 season with a prestigious event celebrating 40 years of dance in New Orleans. The “Ruby Gala des Êtoiles” took place on April 17 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts, and featured performances from elite dancers from around the world, including principal dancers Paloma Herrera and Ethan Stiefel of American Ballet Theatre, Wendy Whelan and Albert Evans of New York City Ballet and Edward Watson and Leanne Benjamin of The Royal Ballet.

After the performances, the event’s 300 guests enjoyed music from Jeremy Davenport and a gourmet meal from Chef Donald Link of Cochon, Cochon Butcher and Herbsaint. Highlights of the dinner included chilled Louisiana Gulf shrimp salad, braised beef short ribs with creamy grits and watercress and an almond crusted goat cheesecake with fresh fruit for dessert.

The event honored current lifetime board member Phyllis M. Taylor and inducted three new lifetime members: Cecile Gibson, Henrietta Ramirez Hall and Dr. E. Ralph Lupin. The new members received Stuben engraved crystal pieces donated by Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry for more than 20 years of service.

The patron party, chaired by Charlotte Bollinger, took place on the M2 level of the theatre following the performance and featured champagne, elegant black and white linens and flower arrangements and centerpieces by Dunn & Sonnier. Each patron level guest went home with one of artist and former NOBA board member Mario Villa’s recreations of his 1992 commemorative pin, with a special 40th Anniversary ruby twist.