New York City Ballet today announced the cancellation of its 2020 Fall Season which was scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 22 and continue for four weeks, through Sunday, October 18, at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. NYCB has also cancelled its 2020-21 engagement of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, which was scheduled to take place from Friday, November 27 through Sunday, January 3.
The announcement was made by NYCB Executive Director Katherine Brown and Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford. “We are devasted to cancel another ten weeks of performances, including New York City Ballet’s annual fall season and beloved holiday performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®,” said Brown and Stafford. “However, the health and safety of our artists, staff, and audiences is our number one priority during the ongoing pandemic. Based on advice and guidelines from government officials and medical professionals, it has become clear that it will not be safe through the end of the year for large groups to gather safely indoors and for our artists to rehearse and interact as they would need to in order to present live performances,” said Brown and Stafford.
The Company’s 2020 Fall Season would also have marked the first performances programmed by NYCB’s new artistic leadership team of Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford, Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan, and Resident Choreographer and Artistic Advisor Justin Peck.
“We were very excited to present our first season of programming and we are heartbroken that several exciting new works as well as the extraordinary ballets of our co-founders, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, can no longer take place this fall,” said Whelan, who spearheads the Company’s artistic programming efforts. “I am especially disappointed that new commissions from choreographers Sidra Bell and Andrea Miller, both of whom were scheduled to make their first-ever works for NYCB for the fall gala, will not take place as planned. However, I am thrilled that Sidra and Andrea have agreed to return for our 2021 Fall Season, and I can’t wait to have these remarkable women in NYCB’s rehearsal studios creating new work with our beautiful dancers.”
“The cancellation of The Nutcracker is particularly difficult for me,” said Stafford. “It is obviously extremely important financially, but this great masterpiece also provides a vital introduction to ballet for thousands of children each year.” In addition to the countless children who see this holiday classic with their families and the hundreds of NYCB public school students who attend one of two free matinees as part of NYCB’s School Programs, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® also provides the first on-stage experiences for more than 100 young students from the School of American Ballet who perform in the ballet each season. “It is tremendously disheartening that so many young people will not have these experiences this year,” said Stafford who is the Artistic Director of both NYCB and the School of American Ballet.
NYCB hopes to resume performances at Lincoln Center with its 2021 Winter Season, which is scheduled to begin a six-week run on Tuesday, January 19. As the Company did during the recently cancelled 2020 Spring Season, New York City Ballet plans to present digital offerings during the period of time when live performances will not be possible.
NYCB has also created a special Relief Fund for patrons who would like to support the Company and help to sustain NYCB through the very challenging days of the COVID-19 crisis. Contributions can be made at nycballet.com/donate or by texting the word BALLET to 31966. All contributions to NYCB’s Relief Fund are 100% tax deductible and will be matched one to one by an anonymous donor (up to $250,000) through June 30.