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“Could I live in Southeast Asia? Well, yes, having traveled through many countries there. Ten years ago, after I arrived in Cambodia on a tour with the World Monuments Fund, I fell in love with the sweetness of the people and was astonished by the natural dancing talent of 16-year-old Sokvannara Sar. We witnessed a folk dance performance by Sar, who’s nicknamed Sy (pronounced see). Sy’s dancing was alive with joy and with perfect proportions while he was entertaining the crowd at Angkor Wat,” says philanthropist Anne Bass, the Indianapolis-born ballet enthusiast.
“I’ve since returned to Cambodia any number of times, a trip that’s 24 hours long from New York, visited Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Burma, Bali, Java, and found Southeast Asians to be very kind, and that it’s easy to like their generous spirit. They smile from within, also I could live on Thai food with those delicate spices and herbs for the rest of my life.”
A New Yorker for decades with a Fifth Avenue apartment and an estate in Connecticut, Anne’s a Vassar graduate who’s taken ballet lessons since childhood, and continues to practice daily – “I even take classes when I travel. Ballet’s in my genetic makeup, impossible to imagine my life without it.”
The beautiful daughter of a doctor, Anne is ballerina-slim, vastly knowledgeable about dance, and an engaging conversationalist. As they say in New England, Anne’s a gracious plenty. Her two daughters are novelist Hyatt (The Embers) and photographer Samantha, whose mate is Date Night screenwriter Josh Klausner. Anne and her mate, the Sri Lanka-born, abstract artist Julian Lethbridge, have been together for fifteen years. He exhibits at Manhattan’s Paula Cooper Gallery.