Six Weeks of Online Programming to Feature Full Ballets and Excerpts from More Than 20 Works With New Repertory Available on Tuesday and Fridays from April 21 Through May 29
Additional Content for the Digital Season Will Include
a New Season of City Ballet The Podcast Launching Monday, April 20
Ballet Essentials Interactive Educational Workshops Launching Thursday, April 23
Ballet Break Interactive Workshops for Children Launching Saturday, April 25
Wednesday With Wendy
Ballet-Inspired Movement Classes
Taught by NYCB Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan Launching Wednesday, April 22
New Content will be Available Six Days a Week, Monday Through Saturday, Free of Charge on Several Platforms
New York City Ballet announced today that the Company will launch a digital spring season on Tuesday, April 21, the date that would have been the opening night of the Company’s now cancelled 2020 Spring Season. The online season will continue for six weeks, with new releases of ballet performances on Tuesday and Friday evenings at 8pm (EDT), through Friday, May 29. Each program will be available free-of-charge for 72 hours on NYCB’s YouTube channel (YouTube.com/nycballet), Facebook page (Facebook.com/nycballet), and website home page (nycballet.com).
The programming for the digital season will feature complete ballets and excerpts, with Tuesday releases devoted to repertory by the Company’s co-founding choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and Friday releases devoted primarily to contemporary works by some of today’s most exciting choreographers.
The ballets and excerpts that will be shown have been curated by NYCB Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford, Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan, and Resident Choreographer and Artistic Advisor Justin Peck, and will include performance footage from more than 20 ballets filmed during live performances in recent seasons at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. Each episode will also feature an introduction by one of NYCB’s artists, including artistic staff, choreographers, dancers, and musicians.
“While it was extremely disappointing to cancel our spring season performances at Lincoln Center, we are thrilled that we can offer an online selection of works from our unparalleled repertory of ballets, performed by our incredible dancers and musicians,” said Stafford. “I know that our long-time audience members will recognize many of their favorites, and I am also excited that people from around the world who have never seen the Company perform live will now be able to experience our performances through this digital season.”
The first installment on Tuesday, April 21, will feature a performance of George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante that was filmed on January 18, 2017, featuring Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette in the principal roles, with an introduction by Stafford. Set to Tschaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 75, Balanchine once said of the work, “it contains everything I know about the classical ballet in 13 minutes.”
The second night of programming on Friday, April 24 will feature the World Premiere performance of Justin Peck’s Rotunda, which took place on February 26, 2020, set to a commissioned score by composer Nico Muhly. NYCB’s most recent premiere, which features a cast of 12 dancers, Rotunda was also scheduled to be performed at Sadler’s Wells in London last month as part of a festival of choreography to music by Muhly, which was also cancelled due to the current coronavirus pandemic. Muhly will introduce the April 24 episode.
Originally captured for use in short excerpts for promotional purposes only, the ballet footage will now be shared with the public for the first-time ever with the cooperation of the labor unions for the Company’s artists, stagehands, and other behind-the-scenes personnel, as well as the rights holders for the choreography, music, sets, costumes, and lighting design.
“While the footage was not originally meant to be broadcast in this format, NYCB’s marketing and media department has done an extraordinary job, while working remotely, to prepare and stream this digital season,” said Stafford.
Additional repertory for the digital season will feature performances by all of the Company’s current roster of Principal Dancers in works by choreographers Kyle Abraham, Mauro Bigonzetti, Alexei Ratmansky, Gianna Reisen, Pam Tanowitz, and Christopher Wheeldon. For updates on programming visit nycballet.com/digitalspring throughout the course of the six-week season.
Ancillary content for the digital season will include nine all-new episodes of City Ballet The Podcast; Ballet Essentials interactive educational workshops; Ballet Break movement workshops for children; and Wednesday With Wendy, a weekly, open-level ballet inspired-movement class taught by the Company’s Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan on NYCB’s Instagram Live and IGTV channel.
Together these programs will provide new NYCB content, launching each day, Monday through Saturday, presented free of charge on several media platforms.
City Ballet The Podcast Spring Season Episodes
On Monday, April 20, NYCB will launch its latest season of City Ballet The Podcast with nine all-new episodes featuring discussions of some of the ballets included in the digital spring season. The season will begin with a never-before released “See the Music” episode featuring NYCB Resident Conductor Daniel Capps and the NYCB Orchestra in an exploration of Tschaikovsky’s score for Allegro Brillante that was recorded live during a performance on September 30, 2018. NYCB Music Director Andrew Litton will introduce the episode.
Additional episodes, released every Monday, will feature NYCB dancers Silas Farley, Claire Kretzschmar, and Aaron Sanz hosting conversations with current and former NYCB artists, including Patricia McBride who will discuss George Balanchine’s Rubies. City Ballet The Podcast is available at podcast.nycballet.com and on all platforms where podcasts are available.
Ballet Essentials & Ballet Break Educational Workshops and In-School Programming
As part of the digital spring season NYCB’s Education Department will also be presenting online offerings including a series of nine Ballet Essentials movement workshops, which will launch on Thursday, April 23 at 6pm (EDT). Each Ballet Essentials workshop will be conducted by NYCB artists who will lead viewers through a ballet warm-up and a movement combination inspired by iconic works by Balanchine, Robbins, and 21st century choreographers.
The online versions of the Ballet Essentials workshops will be modeled after the popular in-person workshops that have been presented in NYCB’s rehearsal studios since 2014. Each workshop is 45-minutes long and suitable for young adults and adults. The first online workshop on Thursday, April 23 will be taught by NYCB Soloist Lauren King and will explore Balanchine’s choreography for Serenade, with additional Ballet Essentials programs launching on Mondays and Thursdays at 6pm (EDT) through Thursday, May 21. All workshops will be offered free of charge and registration is required; visit balletessentials.nycballet.com for more information.
On Saturday, April 25 at 11am (EDT) the Company will also launch Ballet Break, a six-week series of lively Saturday morning movement activities designed for children ages 3 to 8. Each 20-minute Ballet Break workshop will be taught by a NYCB dancer and will include a warm-up and choreography inspired by some of NYCB’s most beloved ballets. The first Ballet Break on Saturday, April 25 will be led by NYCB Principal Dancer Daniel Ulbricht who will explore movement inspired by Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free. The Ballet Break workshops will be offered free of charge and registration is required; visit nycballet.com/balletbreaks for more information.
In addition, with the closure of the New York City public school system, NYCB’s Education Department has mobilized its team of teaching artists for the Company’s Ballet Tales and Project Ballet school residency programs to pivot from teaching onsite in school classrooms to creating content that can be shared with students remotely. Currently 11 NYCB teaching artists are working with nearly 2,000 public school children from 77 elementary classrooms throughout New York City.
Wednesday With Wendy Open Level Ballet Classes on Instagram
Beginning Wednesday, April 22 at 5pm (EDT), NYCB will launch Wednesday With Wendy, a series of ballet-inspired movement classes taught by NYCB Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan on Instagram Live. Suitable for people of all ages and levels of training, each class will also be available on NYCB’s Instagram TV channel (Instagram.com/nycballet).
“I want to create the atmosphere of a virtual ballet class for anyone and everyone,” said Whelan. “I want less experienced dancers to feel comfortable and more advanced dancers to feel like they can scale it up and push themselves. I want it to feel light, yet still focused and filled with insight. Most importantly, I hope to keep a sense of humor in what I offer – I want it to be fun!”
Spring Season Cancellation
Last month New York City Ballet announced the cancellation of its 2020 Spring Season which was scheduled to take place from Tuesday, April 21 through Sunday, May 31 at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. “The health and safety of New York City Ballet’s artists, staff, patrons, and community at large is our number one priority at this time,” said Stafford and NYCB Executive Director Katherine Brown at the time of the announcement. “While we are devastated to have to cancel the upcoming spring season, the current pandemic has left us with no other choice. We look forward to the time when we can bring the beauty and joy of NYCB’s incredible artists and repertory back to our stages and welcome our wonderful audiences back to the theater.”
NYCB Relief Fund
NYCB has also created a special Relief Fund to ensure the company’s future during this extraordinary and challenging time. Contributions to the Relief Fund can be made online at nycballet.com/donate.
“The impact of this crisis on the well-being of the entire NYCB community of employees, which includes 100 dancers, 62 musicians, and more than 250 other administrative and theater staff members, will be significant, and we hope that our devoted patrons and audience members will support our relief efforts however they are able,” said Whelan.
The Travelers Companies, Inc. is the Global Sponsor of New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet Company Dancers and Stage Managers are members of the American Guild of Musical Artists AFL-CIO.