STATE DINNER IS YEAR'S NO. 1 SOCIAL EVENT

The Soviets weren't dressed in black tie, Raisa Gorbachev didn't eat her meat, and her husband still didn't seem to be on a first-name basis with George Bush.

But none of that dampened the conviviality at Thursday night's White House dinner for Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. It was the social event of the year."I think we were all happy," declared Academy Award-winning actress Jessica Tandy, who was seated with President Bush and Raisa Gorbachev.

Another guest, evangelist Billy Graham, pronounced the evening "terrific" and "one of the great evenings of my life."

American mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade entertained the 130 guests in the East Room after dinner with several opera numbers and such American classics as "Summertime" and songs from the musical "Showboat."

Gorbachev leaped up to shake her hand after the performance and his wife kissed the singer on both cheeks.

After the entertainment, the Gorbachevs did not stay for the dancing in the White House grand foyer. Instead they were escorted by the Bushes to their waiting limousine and drove back to the Soviet Embassy.

Bush then twirled the first lady around the floor to "Shall We Dance" before Secretary of State James Baker cornered him for an extended and animated discussion in the middle of the dance floor.

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