3/24/23 O&A NYC MORE HARKNESS STORIES: Patricia Williams- Creating Beauty Is Not An Accident.

Foreward by Walter Rutledge

Patricia Williams is the founder and executive chef of 10 Chairs NYC, the Hell’s Kitchen boutique dining concept developed and presented by Chef Williams. But did you know this culinary diva actually received  her first  New York reviews as a ballet dancer? Starting at the Harkness School for Ballet Arts, Williams performed with the Harkness Ballet of New York, Ruth Page’s Chicago Ballet, and culminated her performance career with the New York City Opera. From her years of training she learned one universal truth, “Creating beauty does not take form as an accident. It comes by design and hard work.”  

She applied this truth as she began her career in the world of food. As executive chef, she gained two stars from the New York Times. Along the way, Chef Williams has frequently appeared on nearly all National morning talk shows demonstrating her brilliance in combining fresh seasonal unique multicultural flavors at affordable prices.

Creating Beauty Is Not An Accident                                                                                                                   By Patricia Williams

Barely a week after arriving in New York City from Houston, Texas, I walked to the building that housed The Harkness Ballet studios. Receiving a scholarship from Harkness Ballet was my goal. As I walked into the townhouse the most beautiful entrance that I had ever seen and would become my new home, I walked up the winding marble stairs and passed the revolving Chalice of Life created by Salvador Dali. After this I would walk up those marble stairs many times to take class and rehearse in studio two. Harkness blue a color created for Rebekah Harkness was on the walls and ceilings and would be the color of my leotard for many years to come.

I arrived in class, and saw the piano that sat in the window, Ray Wilson began to play as David Howard began to teach class. I was surrounded by dancers from all the major companies in New York and around the world. When class was finished, I walked up to Mr. Howard and asked for and received a scholarship.

This began my journey of being a dancer. Multiple classes were given daily by David, Renita Exter, Anne Hebard, and Helen Greenford. Then one day a new director arrived from The Grand Theatre de Geneva, Alfonso Cata was his name and he began to form a company. He was accompanied by Wilhelm Burman a dancer from New York City Ballet. A company Alfonso was familiar since he had been sent to Geneva by Balanchine.

Alfonso began working on a ballet entitled The Season with music by Glazunov.  Auditions were held and I was selected to be in the section Winter. The company was funded not only by Rebekah Harkness but Cher, Gene Simmons and Anne Byrne (Dustin Hoffman’s then wife). The date was set for May 17, 1978 at the Beacon Theater.

In the ballet we wore long flowing blue skirts, and our hair was down and flowing just like many Balanchine ballets. At dress rehearsal, I look out to the empty audience that would be full in the evening and knew my journey to a professional career began. We danced to great reviews by Jack Anderson in the New York Times.

After that I went to Chicago to dance in Ruth Page’s Chicago Ballet and upon returning began to dance with New York City Opera Ballet company in the New York State Theater the house of NYCB as well. In 1984, I decided to trade my pointe shoes in for a whisk and so begin my career as a professional chef in NYC. A career that I still maintain. The love of dance and music continues in my life.

An American Ballet Story, a documentary about the the all too short life of the Harkness Ballet, will have it’s New York live screening premiere on April 20th at the New York Public Library Performing Arts – Bruno Walter Auditorium. O&A NYC Magazine. Editor in Chief Walter Rutledge will moderate the post screening Q and A. An American Ballet Story takes us into the stages and studios</span> of the Harkness Ballet through the stories of the dancers who were there. The screening is free but you must reserve seating in advance. 

If you have a stories you would like to share about your Harkness experience please send your articles (250- 500 words recommended) and  photos to walt.harkness@gmail.com.

The auditorium capacity is only 192 seats to reserve your tickethttps://www.eventbrite.com/…/screening-of-an-american…

If you are interested in the 10 Chair dining experience visit  http://10ChairsNYC.com/

About OutandAboutnycmag

Out & About NYC Magazine was founded to offer the arts and lifestyle enthusiast a fresh new look at New York City. We will showcase the established and the emerging, the traditional and the trendy. And we will do it with élan, and panache with a dash of fun.
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