On Saturday, January 24th, 2004, Nevada Ballet Theatre honored Celine Dion as the Woman of the Year at the annual Black and White Ball. The event took place at Caesars Palace and was headed by Jacqueline Juliano, wife of Mark Juliano, president of Caesars Palace.
The Black & White Ball is Nevada Ballet Theatre's largest fundraiser. Each year the event honors a prominent "Woman of the Year," who has made a significant contribution to the performing arts, especially dance, and also has a connection to Las Vegas.
Proceeds from the evening will allow Nevada Ballet Theatre to continue to provide first-rate stage performances and dynamic educational and outreach programs to ensure that dance is available to everyone in Nevada.
The evening began at 6:00 pm with a private pre-reception with Dion hosted by the Julianos in a penthouse in the Palace Tower.
Butlers passed silver trays of exquisite canapés and flutes of champagne, and martinis named after Dion's hits.
Dion was escorted by her husband Rene Angelil, and during the cocktail party graciously posed for pictures with the VIP guests.
At 7:00 pm, the VIPs joined the 800 guests in the Palace Ballroom for the ball's reception.
The Pat Caddick Orchestra played throughout the evening. The Julianos welcomed all and introduced a video direct from Dion's dressing room as she prepared for her evening show in the Colosseum.
Generously sponsored by Cartier and Wells Fargo, Nevada Ballet Theatre's Black & White Ball featured a four-course gourmet menu and dancing to an ensemble orchestra. There was a performance by NBT dancers, including principals Baris Erhan and Natalia Chapourskaya.
After the dinner, the guests then were treated to a live video of Dion singing her hit "My Heart Will Go On" as she closed her show. There was more entertainment while the audience awaited Dion's arrival in the ballroom.
The tribute to Dion began with a video by Oprah Winfrey. Dion was escorted into the ballroom by Nevada Ballet Theatre's little ballerinas. As she sat onstage, Dion was entertained by Clint Holmes and Sheena Easton. Nancy Houssels and the Cartier representatives presented Dion with the 2004 Woman of the Year award, a crystal ballerina statue.
Neil Sedaka, a surprise addition to the entertainment lineup, joined Clint Holmes, Sheena Easton, Stefanie Powers and Billy Gilman at the event. Also there: Tony Curtis, Robert and Vera Goulet, McGuire and Pat Morita.
After being saluted at Caesars Palace, she told reporters she recently decided to "become a blonde for a while, for a moment.... I'm like every woman; I like to play and have a good time... Life is good!"
Her son, Rene-Charles, turned 3 on Sunday, but the birthday party was delayed until today, her day off, "so we can spend the whole day with him without rushing anything... We're going to celebrate at Chuck E. Cheese," Dion said, and with "a cake, Bob the Builder, from A to Z."
She addressed the issue of having a second child, acknowledging that it's in the plans. "After this project, we'd love to try it again," she said.