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Ballerina Isabella Boylston Transformed Into a ‘Intergalactic Cinderella’ for the ABT Gala

Getting ready with the American Ballet Theatre principal dancer ahead of the gala Tuesday night.

Ballerina Isabella Boylston Transformed Into a ‘Intergalactic Cinderella’ for the ABT Gala

Ballerina Isabella Boylston Transformed Into a ‘Intergalactic Cinderella’ for the ABT Gala

Ballerina Isabella Boylston Transformed Into a ‘Intergalactic Cinderella’ for the ABT Gala

Ballerina Isabella Boylston Transformed Into a ‘Intergalactic Cinderella’ for the ABT Gala

Ballerina Isabella Boylston Transformed Into a ‘Intergalactic Cinderella’ for the ABT Gala

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Isabella Boylston enlisted a few friends to help her get red carpet-ready for the American Ballet Theatre spring gala on Tuesday: Zac Posen, Bulgari, and fellow ABT dancer Tyler Maloney.

The principal dancer is in the early stages of glam on Tuesday afternoon, while in another corner of her Midtown hotel suite her look for the evening, a voluminous Zac Posen gown, receives a thorough steaming. Maloney, a friend and member of the corps de ballet, is her makeup artist for the evening, and their dynamic lends a lighthearted ease to the process — as does Boylston’s playlist, which ranges from Sufjan Stevens to Taylor Swift and Nirvana.

Ballerina Isabella Boylston Transformed Into a ‘Intergalactic Cinderella’ for the ABT Gala

“I feel like I’m better at performing than red carpet-ing,” says Boylston as Maloney brushes powder onto her face. What she means is that she feels more at home on the stage; there are no nerves heading into the performance part of the evening. She’s similarly relaxed heading into the upcoming season, which includes fan-favorite ballet “Swan Lake,” which Boylston describes as “low key.” It’s a part that she’s danced many times before, and is excited to evolve the character each time she revisits the iconic role.

The dancer is currently in rehearsals for ABT’s summer season, which kicks off on June 18. In addition to the first performance of “Swan Lake,” Boylston will performe in “Romeo and Juliet” and the ensemble triptych “Woolf Works,” choreographed by Wayne McGregor and inspired by three novels by Virginia Woolf.

“I’m really excited about ‘Woolf Works.’ It’s based off the life and works of Virginia Woolf, and the movement is just so physical — it’s a very intense piece to perform,” says Boylston, who first performed the piece earlier this spring during its North American debut in Southern California. “I’m in the second piece, which is called ‘Becomings.’ It feels like such a group effort; it’s really a community on stage. And I think the physical intensity and the extreme that you push yourself to physically in that bonds us all together in a way that’s really interesting.”

Ballerina Isabella Boylston Transformed Into a ‘Intergalactic Cinderella’ for the ABT Gala

Typically held in June timed to the start of the season, this year’s event was moved to May to tap into the spring gala season, before much of the philanthropic crowd decamps out East for the summer. The change in date also brought a change in venue — and stage. Instead of taking place at Lincoln Center, the performance and dinner were held at Cipriani 42nd Street.

With her makeup set, Boylston next steps into her Zac Posen gown. “I’m walking on my highest demi-pointe right now,” says Boylston, newly zipped into the gown as she makes her way over to her Christian Louboutin strass heels, which are resting on a table next to a pair of her Bloch pointe shoes.

The metallic silver-blue gown is from Posen’s spring 2020 collection, his final collection under his namesake label which shuttered in late 2019. Fittingly, the collection was inspired by ballet.

“Zac is actually a friend of mine,” says Boylston, who met the designer through his fiancé, former New York City Ballet principal dancer Harrison Ball. “Harrison and I have known each other forever, and then through Harrison I became friends with Zac. I really wanted to wear this piece because I feel like it’s an intergalactic Cinderella. It’s so glamorous — it’s like a sculpture.”

Ballerina Isabella Boylston Transformed Into a ‘Intergalactic Cinderella’ for the ABT Gala

She next moves onto her hair, a team effort. After pulling her hair back into a ponytail, Boylston heats up a curling iron she’d purchased earlier in the day and curls two loose strands of hair framing her face. A self-described curling iron novice, Boylston accidentally burns her hand on the hot barrel, and a few minutes later a bucket of ice appears to soothe the pain: the show must go on.

The final piece of the look is a suite of Bulgari jewelry that Boylston selected to match her gown — a B.zero1 necklace, drop earrings, and a few bangles. Boylston has worked with Bulgari for the past year and a half, adding to her list of fashion relationships that also includes recent collaborations with Fleur du Mal and activewear brand Splits59.

But before debuting her “Intergalactic Cinderella” look on the carpet later that evening, she would first return to a more familiar character: ballerina. Boylston was soon due at Cipriani for a quick rehearsal before the evening’s gala performance. After years on stage, she’s a master of the quick costume change. And with that, a final parting: toi, toi toi.

Ballerina Isabella Boylston Transformed Into a ‘Intergalactic Cinderella’ for the ABT Gala