New York City Ballet possesses a rich and distinguished heritage.
The Company's repertory, largely created by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins, redefines classical dance giving the language of ballet an inflection both thoroughly American and wholly modern. The dedication to continually test and extend the boundaries of ballet has earned New York City Ballet the reputation as one of the greatest creative engines of the past century. If audiences could turn back the clock, they would be startled to see how markedly ballet technique has changed. The difference is the realization of Balanchine's daring vision, which conceived a way of dancing that was without precedent in its speed, attack and technical challenge. Many individuals, organizations and moments have contributed to this continually unfolding legacy and are documented in the New York City Ballet Chronology.
Lincoln Kirstein meets George Balanchine in London and invites him to come to the United States to develop an American ballet school and company. Balanchine accepts and arrives in New York on October 17th.
Against the backdrop of the Depression, Balanchine and Kirstein, with the assistance of Edward M.M. Warburg, open the doors of the new School of American Ballet on January 2nd, at 637 Madison Avenue. The intention is that students from the School are to be trained as dancers who will become members of a company-to-be and that eventually a permanent existence might be sustained for such an undertaking.
In March, Balanchine choreographs Serenade on students who first perform it with the Producing Company of the School of American Ballet, formed in June.
The American Ballet is the first professional company to be founded by Balanchine and Kirstein. Serenade is in the small repertory, consisting of a selection from Balanchine's earlier ballets. The American Ballet is engaged by the Metropolitan Opera for three years to perform in opera ballets and on special ballet evenings. There, Balanchine produces his first festival, centering on Igor Stravinsky in 1937.
Kirstein organizes Ballet Caravan, a company expressly dedicated to the commission and production of ballets with American themes, to be created by American composers, choreographers, designers and dancers. Billy the Kid, with music by Aaron Copland, choreography by Eugene Loring, libretto by Kirstein, and scenery and costumes by Jared French, is a highlight. Balanchine begins to choreograph for Broadway musicals and in Hollywood, for which he uses American Ballet dancers.
The two companies are merged by Balanchine and Kirstein to form the American Ballet Caravan. A long tour of South America is arranged by Nelson A. Rockefeller, Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs in Washington, D.C. Balanchine choreographs Concerto Barocco and Ballet Imperial.
After Kirstein returns from Army service in World War II, he and Balanchine again form a new company. Ballet Society, supported by private gifts and a subscription audience, offers four short seasons in two years; two take place in small theaters and two at the City Center Theater on West 55th Street. It has a completely new repertory by Balanchine as well as by young Americans. On the first night, November 20th, Balanchine's The Four Temperaments has its premiere.
With commissioned music by Igor Stravinsky, and sets and costumes by Isamu Noguchi, Ballet Society presents the premiere of Balanchine's Orpheus at City Center on April 28. Morton Baum, Chairman of the Finance Committee of City Center of Music & Drama, invites Balanchine and Kirstein to establish a permanent ballet company to be called New York City Ballet.
New York City Ballet's first season opens on October 11 with three Balanchine ballets: Concerto Barocco, Orpheus, and Symphony in C. The original roster reads: George Balanchine, Artistic Director; Lincoln Kirstein, General Director; Leon Barzin, Musical Director; Lighting by Jean Rosenthal; Frances Hawkins, General Manager. Principal dancers: Maria Tallchief, Marie-Jeanne, Tanaquil Le Clercq, Beatrice Tompkins, Jocelyn Vollmar, Nicholas Magallanes, Francisco Moncion, Herbert Bliss, and Todd Bolender.
The Company presents its first independent season in January, consisting of 10 performances including Antony Tudor's revival of Time Table (originally created for American Ballet Caravan in 1941), Merce Cunningham's The Seasons, and Lew Christensen's Jinx.
In January, Jerome Robbins joins the Company and is named Associate Artistic Director by Balanchine. His first ballet for the Company, The Guests, premieres on January 14.
Melissa Hayden, Yvonne Mounsey, Janet Reed, and Frank Hobi join the company as Principal Dancers.
Barbara Karinska begins her long association with the Company as costume maker and designer.
Firebird premieres in November and Bourrée Fantasque premieres in December, Balanchine's first restudies of ballets that have already become classics.
British choreographer Frederick Ashton is invited to create a new ballet, Illuminations, the first of two works he creates for New York City Ballet.
Diana Adams, Hugh Laing, Harold Lang, and Patricia Wilde join the Company as Principal Dancers.
Venturing abroad for the first time, the Company presents a five-week season at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, followed by a three-week tour of the English provinces. Lew Christensen is named Ballet Master.
In February, Balanchine revives Prodigal Son, his last ballet for Diaghilev, and in the same month, Robbins' Age of Anxiety premieres.
In November, Balanchine revives The Fairy's Kiss, first done for American Ballet in 1937.
Frances Hawkins retires as General Manager. Betty Cage assumes the position that she would hold for 35 years.
The Company's first American performances outside of New York take place at the Chicago Civic Opera House from late April to early May.
Ruthanna Boris, Nora Kaye, and André Eglevsky join the Company as Principal Dancers.
Antony Tudor creates Lady of the Camellias, his first original ballet for New York City Ballet. In November, he mounts and performs in his earliest work, Lilac Garden.
Jerome Robbins choreographs The Cage, which premieres in June. In the same month, Ruthanna Boris' Cakewalk also premieres.
Balanchine creates Tyl Uienspiegel and his own version of Swan Lake (Act II), with designs by Cecil Beaton. He also revives Apollo, which he originally made for Diaghilev in 1928.
Balanchine's new version of La Valse appears on television, in CBS' first commercial color telecast.
Balanchine eliminates the sets and costumes of Concerto Barocco and The Four Temperaments, and both are now performed in practice clothes. In the future, he will continue to produce ballets on a bare stage with dancers dressed in leotards, to reveal the shape of the choreography and also for considerations of expense.
New ballets by Balanchine, Robbins, Tudor, Ashton, and Boris premiere.
Michael Maule and Roy Tobias are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
The Company makes its debut in continental Europe with a five-month tour, participating in several major festivals. Cities visited are Barcelona, Paris, Florence, Lausanne, Zurich, The Hague, London, Edinburgh, and Berlin.
After dancing in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., the Company makes the first of a continuing series of cross-country tours, performing in Red Rocks, Colorado; the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles (the first of many summer seasons there); and San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House. Under the sponsorship of the International Exchange program of the U.S. Department of State, administered through the American National Theater and Academy (ANTA), the Company appears at Milan's Teatro de la Scala and in Venice, Como, Naples, Rome, Florence, Trieste, Bologna, Genoa, Munich, Stuttgart, and Brussels.
Jacques d'Amboise and Jillana are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
Robbins creates Afternoon of a Faun and Fanfare.
Lew Christensen's Filling Station from Ballet Caravan is added to the repertory. Christensen, now director of San Francisco Ballet, restages his Con Amore for the Company, in exchange for Balanchine's Serenade.
The Rockefeller Foundation awards City Center a grant-in-aid of $100,000 to cover artistic and production costs of new works. It is the largest contribution so far to have been received for the benefit of New York City Ballet.
Balanchine choreographs Western Symphony, Ivesiana, and a full-length version of The Nutcracker. The Company's most lavish ballet to date, Balanchine's The Nutcracker is mounted in February at City Center. The large cast includes 39 children from the School of American Ballet. This is the first of a number of ballets that will employ students.
Special holiday seasons are devoted to Balanchine's The Nutcracker, thus beginning a holiday tradition that will be emulated by many ballet companies across the country. Its popularity provides major support for New York City Ballet through the coming years of growth and increasing expenses.
During the summer the Company appears for the first time in Seattle.
American National Theater and Academy sponsors a summer tour of Europe, which includes Monte Carlo, Marseilles, Lyons, Florence, Rome, Bordeaux, Lisbon, Paris, Lausanne, Zurich, Stuttgart. Amsterdam, and The Hague.
Beginning this year, City Center initiates annual three-month winter seasons running from November or December to January or February of the following year.
Robbins choreographs The Concert, which premieres in March.
Company members perform Balanchine's new Divertimento No. 15 in May at the bicentennial Mozart Festival at the American Shakespeare Festival Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut. Divertimento No. 15 then enters the New York City Ballet repertory.
A 10-week European tour beginning in August encompasses Salzburg, Vienna, Zurich, Venice, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Brussels, Antwerp, Paris, Cologne, Copenhagen, and Stockholm.
Balanchine works closely with Stravinsky on the structure of a commissioned score for Agon, which premieres in December.
Reactivated as a sponsor of new works with gifts from individuals, Ballet Society underwrites ballets by Todd Bolender, John Butler, and Francisco Moncion.
Allegra Kent is promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
In Montreal, the Canadian Broadcasting Company makes the first films of New York City Ballet works.
The Company makes its first appearance in Philadelphia.
The first full-length television version of Balanchine's The Nutcracker is broadcast on CBS-TV's Seven Lively Arts program.
Under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State and American National Theater and Academy, the Company embarks upon a five-month tour of Japan, Australia, and the Philippines.
Domestic appearances take place in Indiana and Michigan. The Swedish choreographer Birgit Cullberg restages her dramatic ballet Medea; its cast includes French ballerina Violette Verdy, a new Principal Dancer.
Lotte Lenya, who sang in the first version of Balanchine's The Seven Deadly Sins for Les Ballets 1933, appears in his new production for New York City Ballet.
Balanchine choreographs Gounod Symphony and Stars and Stripes, both of which premiere in January.
Balanchine stages a special television version of The Nutcracker for CBS-TV's Playhouse 90 in which he performs the role of Herr Drosselmeyer.
Balanchine implements alphabetical listing of Principal Dancers and Soloists.
Robert Irving, of England's Royal Ballet, assumes the post of Musical Director.
The year begins with a performance of Stars and Stripes at the inauguration of New York's Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller in Albany. At the invitation of Kirstein, the Gagaku troupe of musicians and dancers from the Imperial Household of Japan appear as guests during the Spring Season.
Episodes, the collaboration between Martha Graham and Balanchine, is presented in May.
In August, the Company makes the first of its many summer appearances at the Ravinia Festival in Illinois.
Edward Villella and Jonathan Watts are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
Danish dancer Erik Bruhn first appears as Guest Artist, which he continues to do for two seasons.
Balanchine's The Figure in the Carpet premieres in May and is performed in honor of the Fourth International Congress of Iranian Art and Archeology.
Balanchine's Liebeslieder Walzer premieres in November.
In November, John Taras choreographs Ebony Concerto, which premieres in November with three other ballets in the four-part program Jazz Concert. It is his first ballet for the Company.
A series of free Saturday matinees is inaugurated by Balanchine for New York City's public school children. Sponsored by Ballet Society, they take place at City Center during regular seasons.
United States tours include first visits to Ohio and North Carolina.
New York City Ballet makes its Canadian debut as part of the Vancouver International Festival.
The newly created New York State Council on the Arts awards its first grant to a performing arts organization in support of the Company's appearance at the Empire State Festival at Bear Mountain.
Patricia McBride and Conrad Ludlow are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
The New York State Council on the Arts sponsors the first Company tour in upstate New York, where it also presents lecture-demonstrations in 12 cities. Balanchine then establishes ongoing programs of lecture-demonstrations for New York City public schools.
Balanchine and a number of NYCB dancers travel to Hamburg, West Germany, for a celebration of Stravinsky's 80th birthday. Members also appear in Noah and the Flood, a dance-drama by Balanchine and Stravinsky created especially for television.
Arthur Mitchell is promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
New York City Ballet dances in the summer at the Seattle World's Fair.
In the fall, the Company makes a tour of Hamburg, Berlin, Zurich, Stuttgart, Cologne, Frankfurt, Vienna, and later, Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Tbilisi, and Baku. The trip marks Balanchine's first return to his native Russia since his departure in 1924.
The production of A Midsummer Night's Dream is the first original full-length ballet by Balanchine. Its premiere is also the occasion for the first annual gala to benefit the New York City Ballet.
New York City Ballet establishes its own costume shop under the direction of Karinska.
The Company participates in the Kennedy Administration's Second Anniversary Inaugural Salute in Washington, D.C.
In July the Company appears at the Long Island Festival of the Arts.
Jacques d'Amboise choreographs his first ballet, The Chase (or, The Vixen's Choice), which premieres in September.
André Prokovsky joins the Company as Principal Dancer.
The Ford Foundation, through its Humanities and the Arts program headed by W. McNeil Lowry, awards the Company a grant of $2,500,000, to be paid over a 10-year period. The School of American Ballet is awarded $2,425,000 for an equal term. Grants are given to seven recipients; it is the largest sum ever dedicated to dance from a single source.
January 26 marks the last performance of New York City Ballet at City Center.
On April 24, the Company dances at the gala opening of the New York State Theater, which is to be its new home. Built by Lincoln Center for the State of New York in time for participation in the 1964 New York World's Fair, the theater is to become the property of New York City at the fair's closing in 1966. According to terms of an enabling act of the New York State Legislature, the City is then to lease the theater to City Center of Music & Drama thereby fulfilling the acts specification of occupancy by a popularly priced non-profit organization offering a variety of cultural presentations. The City pledges to provide ongoing support for the new facility. Throughout the World's Fair, the New York City Ballet shares the theater with the Music Theater of Lincoln Center founded by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Architect Philip Johnson worked closely with Kirstein on the unique public spaces and with Balanchine on meeting the stage requirements of dance, including the development of a plan to build a stage floor of unusual resilience.
Balanchine's The Nutcracker is redesigned by Rouben Ter-Arutunian to fit the much larger stage. It is the first of a number of such readjustments.
New York City Ballet is now comprised of 66 dancers. Lincoln Kirstein is General Director, Balanchine and John Taras are Ballet Masters, Betty Cage is General Manager, Ronald Bates is Production Stage Manager, Robert Irving is Music Director and Principal Conductor, and Hugo Fiorato is Associate Conductor. Principal Dancers are Jacques d'Amboise, Melissa Hayden, Jillana, Allegra Kent, Conrad Ludlow, Nicholas Magallanes, Patricia McBride, Arthur Mitchell, Francisco Moncion, André Prokovsky, Maria Tallchief, Violette Verdy, Edward Villella, and Patricia Wilde.
In February and March, the Company makes a southwestern United States tour: Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Bloomington, St. Louis, and Urbana.
Balanchine creates the full-length Don Quixote, which premieres in May. He dances the title role in the Company's gala preview and in several performances thereafter.
Suzanne Farrell is promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
A tour of Europe and the Middle East takes the Company to Paris, Milan, Spoleto (Festival of Two Worlds), Venice, Dubrovnik, Athens, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Salzburg (Salzburg Festival), Amsterdam, and London from June to September.
The City Center of Music & Drama, of which New York City Ballet continues to be a part, assumes the lease for the New York State Theater. The theater is now to be the official home of New York City Ballet and New York City Opera. The introduction of a subscription plan significantly increases regular audience attendance.
As a constituent of Lincoln Center, City Center joins the Lincoln Center Student Program, through which the Company continues its public service programs in city schools.
On July 8, the Company makes its debut at the new Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York. Built in consultation with Balanchine and Ronald Bates, it is to be a permanent home during July of each year. The opening performance is A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The Company pays its first visits to Newark, Montreal, and Toronto.
Merce Cunningham, who had previously done choreography for Ballet Society, restages his Summerspace, earlier made for his own company.
Mimi Paul and Anthony Blum are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
Under Balanchine's direction and supervision, the Company films A Midsummer Night's Dream, the first full-length ballet movie made in the United States.
In April, Balanchine's three-part, full-length ballet Jewels premieres.
American tours include a first appearance at the new Merriweather Post Pavilion of Music in Columbia, Maryland.
During the Company's return engagement at the Edinburgh Festival, Peter Martins dances as a guest artist in Apollo.
Beginning this year, the Company presents a regular spring season at the New York State Theater, running from April or May to June or early July. The standard year is to contain a 14-week winter season, with four weeks of Balanchine's The Nutcracker, and a nine-week spring season.
Requiem Canticles, with music by Stravinsky, is staged by Balanchine for one performance in memory of Martin Luther King Jr.
As part of Monte Carlo's Diaghilev Festival, commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the founding of his Ballets Russes, the Company dances Balanchine's Apollo and Prodigal Son.
Robbins returns to the Company after a 12-year absence, assuming the title of Ballet Master, which he shares with Balanchine and Taras. He creates Dances at a Gathering, which premieres in May.
Kay Mazzo and Suki Schorer are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
The National Endowment for the Arts Dance Program makes its first grant to New York City Ballet.
Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Peter Martins, and Helgi Tomasson join the Company as Principal Dancers.
Balanchine's Who Cares? premieres in February.
Dance Theatre of Harlem, founded by former Principal Dancer Arthur Mitchell, shares the stage with the Company for a one-time-only gala performance of Concerto for Jazz Band and Orchestra, jointly choreographed by Balanchine and Mitchell.
Balanchine presents an eight-day Stravinsky Festival as a tribute to the composer, who died the previous year. Twenty-two new works are presented by Balanchine. Todd Bolender, John Clifford, Lorca Massine, Robbins, Richard Tanner, and Taras, along with repertory ballets by Balanchine and Robbins. Balanchine's new ballets include Symphony in Three Movements, Duo Concertant, and Violin Concerto. Balanchine and Robbins co-choreograph and appear in Pulcinella.
In August, New York City Ballet represents the United States in cultural presentations at the Olympic Games in Munich. Upon its return, the Company dances for the first time at the new Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia.
A second visit to the Soviet Union is followed by a first appearance in Poland, where the Company dances in Lodz and Warsaw.
Karin von Aroldingen, Gelsey Kirkland, and Sara Leland are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
Friends of the Company formalize their efforts for support by creating the New York City Ballet Guild.
The Saratoga Performing Arts Center receives a major touring grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the Company's summer performances.
Company members go to Berlin to film 15 Balanchine ballets for RM Productions.
Kirstein publishes New York City Ballet (Alfred A. Knopf) in commemoration of the Company's 25th Anniversary, with photographs by George Platt Lynes and Martha Swope.
John Clifford is promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
The New York City Ballet performs for the first time at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Balanchine and ballerina Alexandra Danilova collaborate on a new production of Coppélia which is given its premiere at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
Peter Schaufuss, an alumnus of the Royal Danish Ballet, joins the Company as Principal Dancer.
The Ford Foundation awards the Company a seven-year challenge grant of $2,700,000 intended to stabilize its financial position.
Balanchine pays homage to composer Maurice Ravel and to France with a two-week Ravel Festival. It includes 16 new ballets by Jacques d'Amboise, Balanchine, Robbins, and Taras as well as repertory ballets. Highlights include Le Tombeau de Couperin by Balanchine and Robbins' Mother Goose.
Adam Lüders, a Principal Dancer with the Royal Danish Ballet, joins the Company as Principal Dancer.
There are now 85 members of the Company.
While remaining under the purview of City Center, New York City Ballet establishes its own board of directors.
The Company celebrates the United States Bicentennial with Balanchine's Union Jack, a tribute to America's British heritage, underwritten by The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.
The Company also participates in the International Festival de Danse in Paris as part of a French salute to the United States Bicentennial.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation inaugurates a renewable three-year cycle of significant support to be used at the discretion of the artistic director. Important individual gifts continue to be made for commissioning of new works.
In Nashville, Tennessee, the Company films the first two of a number of Dance in America programs for the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), featuring works by Balanchine: Tzigane, Andante from Divertimenento No. 15, and The Four Temperaments.
The Canadian Broadcasting System also films Balanchine's Bugaku and Chaconne.
Merrill Ashley and Robert Weiss are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
Karinska retires after designing and making the costumes for Balanchine's Vienna Waltzes.
Stanley Williams stages Bournonville Divertissements, using a selection of works by August Bournonville.
A first visit is made to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
The Company is awarded its first $1,000,000 Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Peter Martins' first ballet, Calcium Light Night, premieres in January.
The year's engagements include first visits to West Palm Beach, Florida, and Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens.
Mikhail Baryshnikov makes his debut as a member of the Company at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center after dancing in Prodigal Son for a Dance in America program with New York City Ballet.
The television series Live from Lincoln Center presents Coppélia.
Sean Lavery is promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
Grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and local presenters enable performances in the upstate New York cities of Rochester, Syracuse, and Buffalo.
Robbins creates Opus 19/The Dreamer, which premieres in June.
The Company returns to London for the first time in 14 years, for two weeks of performances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in September.
Baryshnikov dances for the last time as an NYCB Principal Dancer at Kennedy Center on October 12 in La Sonnambula.
A New York City Ballet Education Department is established.
Organized by Balanchine, the Company inaugurates its annual "Ballet for Young People" matinees at the New York State Theater.
Bart Cook, Daniel Duell, Kyra Nichols, and Heather Watts are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
The Company participates in Stravinsky festivals in Berlin and Paris.
Ib Andersen, formerly of the Royal Danish Ballet, joins as Principal Dancer.
New ballets include Robbins' Suite of Dances and Rondo, Martins' Eight Easy Pieces and Lille Suite, and Balanchine's Robert Schumann's Davidsbündlertänze.
At the instigation of Balanchine, New York City Ballet donates the proceeds of its April 29 benefit performance to assist in the purchase of protective vests for New York City police officers.
Balanchine, Bates, and Perry Silvey, with financial assistance from the Kresge Foundation, develop an innovative, widely copied portable dance floor for touring.
The Company makes its first visit to Fort Worth, Texas.
In June, New York City Ballet honors Russian composer Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky with a two-week Tschaikovsky Festival, which, in addition to repertory ballets, includes 12 new works by Balanchine, Jacques d'Amboise, Joseph Duell, Martins, Robbins, and Taras. The stage setting for the entire festival is made of translucent tubing designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee to be hung and lit in different architectural configurations.
For the Tschaikovsky Festival, Balanchine re-choreographs his 1933 Mozartzana.
For a Dance in America telecast, Balanchine, in collaboration with Kermit Love, re-conceives L'Enfant et les Sortileges, which he had set as his first commission from Diaghilev (1925), for the opening of Ballet Society (1946), and again for the Ravel Festival (1975).
Peter Martins is named Ballet Master, joining George Balanchine, Jerome Robhins, and John Taras.
The 100th Anniversary of Stravinsky's birth inspires Balanchine to present a Stravinsky Centennial Celebration. It comprises 10 evenings of past masterworks as well as new ballets by Balanchine, Lew Christensen, Jacques d'Amboise, Peter Martins, Jerome Robbins, and John Taras. The Philip Johnson-John Burgee tubing created for the Tschaikovsky Festival is used again. Noah and the Flood is given its first stage presentation by Balanchine, assisted by Jacques d'Amboise. The ballerina Vera Zorina collaborates with Balanchine and Taras on Persephone, in which she also plays the title role.
Live from Lincoln Center telecasts Apollo and Orpheus.
Darci Kistler is promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
The New York State Theater undergoes a major acoustical renovation made possible by The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.
Balanchine dies on April 30 in New York at the age of 79, following a long illness.
Robbins and Martins assume positions of Co-Ballet Masters in Chief.
The Company dances in London, Copenhagen, and Paris.
Robbins' Glass Pieces premieres in May.
December 6 marks the 1,000th performance of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, and Martins dances his final performance.
Maria Calegari is promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer. Valentina Kozlova and Leonid Kozlov, both formerly with the Bolshoi Ballet, join the Company as Principal Dancers.
The National Endowment for the Arts awards the Company a Challenge Grant of $1,000,000, to be matched in the ensuing three years.
The Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Fund for Lincoln Center, established by the co-founders of Reader's Digest, makes the first of its annual leadership grants to the Company in support of new productions.
Liebeslieder Walzer, absent for some time, is reintroduced on May 24. New designs by David Mitchell follow ideas discussed by Balanchine and Kirstein many years earlier; Karinska's costumes are retained. It is the first of five productions of Balanchine ballets to be restudied at the behest of Kirstein. Others are Gounod Symphony, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Swan Lake, and La Sonnambula.
A special two-part Dance in America telecast commemorates Balanchine's life and achievements. Works by Martins (Concerto for Two Solo Pianos, Eight Easy Pieces, and The Magic Flute) are also televised.
Robbins choreographs Antique Epigraphs, which premieres in February.
Twyla Tharp collaborates with Robbins on Brahms/Handel, which premieres in June.
Helgi Tomasson choreographs Menuetto for New York City Ballet.
Joseph Duell, Lourdes Lopez, and Stephanie Saland are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
The Company pays its first visit to Minneapolis.
This year marks the anniversary of Serenade, which has been in continuous performance for 50 years.
Never before seen at the New York State Theater, Balanchine's Gounod Symphony is reconstructed for revival by former ballet mistress Vida Brown. Robin Wagner designs the new set, and the original Karinska costumes are reproduced.
New ballets are created by Martins (Poulenc Sonata, Valse Triste, Eight More, and Eight Miniatures), Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux (Shadows), and Robbins (Eight Lines and In Memory of...)
Christopher d'Amboise and Jock Soto are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
At Robbins' initiative, New York City Ballet establishes a Dancers' Emergency Fund, for which there is to be a closing night benefit at the end of the winter season.
In April, Martins stages a special performance of We Are the World in support of USA for Africa.
Settings for two ballets by Balanchine are redesigned: Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet by David Mitchell, and Swan Lake by Alain Vaës, who works closely with Kirstein, again following ideas projected by Balanchine.
Martins creates Songs of the Auvergne, which premieres in February.
Judith Fugate is promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer. Robert La Fosse, formerly with American Ballet Theatre, joins the Company as a Principal Dancer.
Special grants from AT&T, corporate sponsor of the tour, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Lawrence A. Wien enable New York City Ballet to travel to the West Coast for the first time in 14 years. The Company appears in Berkeley and Costa Mesa, California, and Seattle, Washington.
Dance in America produces "Choreography by Jerome Robbins with the New York City Ballet", which is broadcast in May.
On May 18, New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet join in celebrating Kirstein's 80th birthday with a special performance at the New York State Theater.
Martins choreographs Ecstatic Orange. Balanchine's La Sonnambula is revived and given a new production by Alain Vaës, who also provides new decor for Bournonville Divertissements.
On October 4 the Company participates in Dancing for Life, a benefit to help victims of AIDS.
Peter Frame is promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer. Lindsay Fischer, formerly a member of the Dutch National Ballet, joins the Company as a Principal Dancer.
Following a three-year sponsorship of "Ballet for Young People" matinee performances New York Telephone becomes the corporate sponsor of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, ensuring preservation of this work and allowing its presentation to 1,000 New York City schoolchildren each year. It is the largest corporate contribution the Company has received.
Bolshoi Ballet Principal Dancers Nina Ananiashvili and Andris Liepa perform as Guest Artists in February, in the first such collaboration between the Soviet Union and the United States.
Under the direction of Martins, a three-week American Music Festival in honor of New York City Ballet's 40th Anniversary is presented during the Spring Season, from April 26 to May 15. Twenty-two world premieres are offered, including five ballets to newly commissioned scores, along with ballets in repertory, among them Robbins' Ives, Songs, presented earlier in the year. Choreographers represented are Christopher d'Amboise, Ib Andersen, Balanchine, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Bart Cook, Laura Dean, Joseph Duell, Eliot Feld, William Forsythe, Robert La Fosse, Lar Lubovitch, Miriam Mahdaviani, Martins, Robbins, Tanner, Paul Taylor, Violette Verdy, and Robert Weiss. Composers are drawn from the entire spectrum of 19th- and 20th-century music. Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., is the corporate sponsor of the Company's 40th Anniversary American Music Festival.
The National Endowment for the Arts, the Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Fund for Lincoln Center, and The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation award leadership grants to the festival; other major contributions are made to the festival.
As New York City Ballet celebrates 40 years of existence, it begins its 89th New York season on November 22, 1988, with the original opening night program, consisting of Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, Orpheus, and Symphony in C. It numbers 104 dancers.
On July 15, American Music Festival ballets premiere at Saratoga, along with Robbins' Ives, Songs.
In September, the Company departs for its first tour to Asia since 1958, two weeks and 13 performances at Tokyo Bay N.K. Hall in Japan.
For the 1988-1989 Winter Season, the Company initiates the NYCB Discovery Series to encourage children and their parents to explore the world of ballet.
Two new Martins ballets premiere in February: Beethoven Romance and Mozart Serenade.
Also in February, New York City Ballet holds the fifth Dancers Emergency Fund Benefit. The 40th Anniversary program, "Forty Carats," is comprised of excerpts from 12 ballets spanning the Company's 40-year history.
May marks the 10th Anniversary of Ballet for Young People, celebrated with a free matinee for 2,500 students from all 32 New York school districts.
Ray Charles and the Raelettes return to New York City Ballet to perform Martins' American Music Festival ballet A Fool for You. The live performance was telecast on Live from Lincoln Center and was viewed by over 2.7 million households.
In June, Patricia McBride dances her farewell performance at the New York State Theater.
The Spring Gala performance honors Robbins' 70th birthday. The all-Robbins program includes The Concert, with six Principals in the "Mistake Waltz," and a special version of Circus Polka that concludes with 48 students forming the initials "J.R." in a floor pattern.
Echo, a new work by Martins, premieres in June, with music by composer Michael Torke. The Saratoga season features local premieres of Martins' Beethoven Romance, Mozart Serenade, and Echo.
Patricia McBride gives her farewell performance at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Valse Triste.
In August, the Company embarks on a European tour, with one week in each of the following cities: Copenhagen, Glasgow, The Hague (Holland Dance Festival), and Paris (Festival International de Danse de Paris). After completing the tour, members of the Company return to Denmark for the filming of two Dance in America (PBS) segments, including Balanchine's Serenade and Western Symphony, and Martins' Sophisticated Lady and Valse Triste.
Peter Boal, Helene Alexopoulos, Damian Woetzel, and Gen Horiuchi are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer. Robert Hill, formerly of American Ballet Theatre, joins the Company as Principal Dancer.
In November, Suzanne Farrell dances her final performance with New York City Ballet in Sophisticated Lady and Vienna Waltzes.
The Dance in America segments taped in 1989 are broadcast in January.
Tanner's Prague Symphony premieres in February.
Also in February, the annual Dancers' Emergency Fund Benefit closes the Season featuring the premiere of Martins' Four Gnossiennes, with music by Erik Satie.
In June, West 63rd Street between Broadway and Columbus Avenue is named "Balanchine Way."
Nichol Hlinka is promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
In June, the Company celebrates the work of Robbins with A Festival of Jerome Robbins' Ballets, three weeks of performances of 27 of the 54 works Robbins has made for New York City Ballet. The program includes two major revivals, Mother Goose and Watermill, and a special closing night features guest artists from the Paris Opera Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.
At the Spring Gala in May, Martins' Fearful Symmetries premieres, with music by John Adams.
In late June and early July, Martins and La Fosse stage performances of A Mass (Missa Sicca), performed by 50 Company members and 50 students from the School of American Ballet. The score, commissioned by Kirstein, is by Michael Torke. The chapel architecture, by Philip Johnson, is rendered for the stage by Alain Vaës.
In June, Ib Andersen dances his final performance with New York City Ballet in Apollo.
This summer marks the 25th Anniversary season of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
In September, the Company departs for one week of performances at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.
In honor of the 150th Anniversary of the composer's birth, opening night of the winter season features Balanchine/Tschaikovsky ballets: Serenade, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux and Diamonds.
In February, La Fosse's Waltz Trilogy premieres. In the same month, Soloist Shaun O'Brien retires after a final performance as Dr. Coppélius in Coppélia.
The annual Dancers' Emergency Fund Benefit, on closing night of the winter season, features four pas de deux premieres by Miriam Mahdaviani, Robert La Fosse, Alexandre Proia, and Sean Lavery.
In April, The Sleeping Beauty premieres. The full-length production features choreography by Martins (after Marius Petipa), with Balanchine's Garland Dance, music by Tschaikovsky, costume design by Patricia Zipprodt, and sets by David Mitchell.
In June, Martins' Ash premieres, with music by Michael Torke.
The summer season features Saratoga premieres of The Sleeping Beauty, Ash, Waltz Trilogy, and Lavery's Romeo and Juliet.
Robert Irving, Principal Conductor and Music Director of New York City Ballet for more than 30 years, dies in England on September 13. This year, underwriting from The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc., establishes the Robert Irving Guest Conductor's Chair. The three-year gift enables the Company to engage such artists as Maurice Kaplow and Donald York to perform with the New York City Ballet Orchestra.
Margaret Tracey and Wendy Whelan are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
The November Opening Night Gala features the premiere of Martins' A Musical Offering, with music by Johann Sebastian Bach.
In January, Martins' Delight of the Muses premieres, with music by Charles Wuorinen.
In February, the eighth annual Dancers' Emergency Fund Benefit closes the season. This one-time-only program features excerpts from "story ballets," including A Midsummer Night's Dream, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, Apollo, and Prodigal Son.
May 27 marks the inaugural Diamond Project performances made possible by the Aaron Diamond Foundation. Created to foster works by new choreographers, the project features a total of 11 new ballets. The choreographers are: David Allan, John Alleyne, Bart Cook, William Forsythe, Robert La Fosse, Miriam Mahdaviani, Peter Martins, Toni Pimble, Alexandre Proia, Richard Tanner, and Lynne Taylor-Corbett.
In June, New York City Ballet presents three performances of Duo Concertant, danced by Baryshnikov and Yvonne Borree. Baryshnikov also dances the New York premiere of Three Preludes, choreographed by Mark Morris with music by George Gershwin.
The premiere of Martins' Zakouski opens the 1992-93 Winter Season in November. On this occasion, Nikolaj Hübbe, former Principal Dancer with the Royal Danish Ballet, makes his debut with the Company as a Principal Dancer.
In January, New York City Ballet presents the world premiere of Martins' Jazz (Six Syncopated Movements), to a commissioned score by Wynton Marsalis, who performs with his ensemble at each performance.
Nilas Martins and Philip Neal are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
In May, an eight-week Balanchine Celebration opens on Kirstein's 86th birthday. The celebration marks 10 years since Balanchine's death in April 1983 and offers an unprecedented overview of his works in chronological order. The Company presents several refurbished productions, including Serenade, Firebird, Union Jack, Bourrée Fantasque, and Harlequinade. In total, 73 ballets are performed.
In June, the Company hosts Dinner with Balanchine, a performance that lasts nearly six hours, with guest artists from American and European companies. During the three intermissions, hors d'oeuvres, entrée, and dessert are served. The evening finishes with a toast to Mr. B with Absolut vodka.
The Balanchine Celebration is featured on the PBS Dance in America series and airs on December 25.
In early September, the Company returns to Copenhagen for seven performances during the 150th Anniversary of Tivoli Gardens.
In October, the Company performs for a two-week engagement at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.
On November 24, the film version of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker opens in movie theaters across the country.
Martins' Symphonic Dances premieres in February, with music by Rachmaninoff. Tanner's A Schubert Sonata premieres.
The second Diamond Project takes place during the spring season, and provides the Company with 12 new works by David Allan, John Alleyne, Ulysses Dove, Anna Laerkesen, Robert La Fosse, Miriam Mahdaviani, Trey McIntyre, Kevin O'Day, Peter Martins, Richard Tanner, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, and Damien Woetzel.
For selected performances in May, Baryshnikov appears as a Guest Artist in Robbins' A Suite of Dances.
In June, Adam Lüders and Gen Horiuchi dance their farewell performances.
In July, Woetzel's Glazounov Pas de Deux premieres, with costumes designed by Heather Watts.
For 10 days in August, the Company travels to Italy, performing at Teatro di Verdura in Palermo.
November 22, opening night, marks the premiere of two Martins ballets: Untitled, with music by Charles Wuorinen, and X-Ray, with music by John Adams. November also sees the Company premiere of 2 & 3 Part Inventions, previously created for School of American Ballet students by Robbins with music by Johann Sebastian Bach.
In January, Heather Watts dances her final performance with New York City Ballet, in Bugaku and Valse Triste.
In February, Tanner's Operetta Affezionata and Kevin O'Day's Huoah premiere.
Albert Evans and Ethan Stiefel are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
In May, Robbins' West Side Story Suite premieres, with music from the Broadway show by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, set designs by Oliver Smith, costume designs by Irene Sharaff, and lighting designs by Jennifer Tipton. The conductor is Paul Gemignani.
In June, Martins' Adams Violin Concerto premieres.
From late September to early October, the Company dances for two weeks at the Theatre du Châtelet in Paris as part of the International Festival de Danse de Paris.
At the November Opening Night Gala, Kevin O'Day's Dvorak Bagatelles premieres.
In January, Martins' Reliquary premieres, with music by Charles Wuorinen. The ballet is a tribute to Balanchine's choreography, and the score is based on fragments of Stravinsky's compositions that were given to Wuorinen by the late composer's wife. David Parsons' Touch, set to a commissioned score by composer Richard Peaslee, also premieres in January.
On January 5, Kirstein dies at the age of 88.
On February 18, a memorial service for Kirstein is held at the New York State Theater. Excerpts of Mozartiana and Orpheus are performed by Kyra Nichols and Peter Boal. Speakers include Paul Cadmus, Philip Johnson, Beverly Sills, and Jamie Wyeth.
Miranda Weese is promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
During the spring season, Ulysses Dove's Twilight, Martins' Tschaikovsky Pas de Quatre, and Kevin O'Day's Badchonim (Merry-Makers) premiere.
On January 22, Robbins' Brandenburg premieres, with music by Johann Sebastian Bach. With this performance the New Combinations Evening is inaugurated: from this year forward, New York City Ballet will celebrate the anniversary of Balanchine's birthday with a new choreographic work.
Judith Fugate retires from the Company.
The third Diamond Project ushers in the Spring Season, with six new works by Christopher d'Amboise, Robert La Fosse, Miriam Mahdaviani, Kevin O'Day, Angelin Preljocaj, and Christopher Wheeldon.
In July, three Diamond Project ballets premiere at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center: La Stravaganza, Open Strings, and Slavonic Dances.
In September and October, the Company is divided for the first time into two touring groups: one group departs for Brazil for two weeks of performances in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador. The second group spends three weeks in the Pacific Rim, with performances in Seoul, Taipei, and Melbourne.
On opening night of the 1997-1998 Winter Season, Merrill Ashley dances in her final performance with New York City Ballet.
Marking the start of NYCB's 50th Anniversary year, William Morrow and Company publishes Tributes: Celebrating 50 Years of New York City Ballet in October. The New-York Historical Society mounts a major exhibition documenting the Company's first half century.
In July 1998 Jerome Robbins dies.
NYCB's 50th Anniversary tour takes it to California, Texas and stops across New York State for 26 performances in October.
In November, Charles Askegard and Monique Meunier are promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
The Opening Night Gala Benefit on November 24 opens New York City Ballet's 50th Anniversary celebrations with a recreation of the Company's first performance and includes Concerto Barocco, Orpheus and Symphony in C. Prior to the formal start of the season, 1,000 former dancers and Company members are invited to a reunion celebration on the Promenade of the New York State Theater.
During the 1998-1999 50th Anniversary season, NYCB presents 100 different ballets. At January's New Combinations Evening, Martins' Walton Cello Concerto receives its world premiere.
In May, NYCB dances the American premiere of Martins' full-length Swan Lake. On May 5, Swan Lake is broadcast to the country on the Public Broadcasting System as part of the Live from Lincoln Center series.
As part of the 50th Anniversary Spring Season Stravinsky Festival, Wheeldon creates his second work for NYCB, Scènes de Ballet. A large work, this ballet employs a cast of 62 students from the School of American Ballet.
Maria Kowroski is named a Principal Dancer in June.
Two works, both with scores by Wynton Marsalis, are features of the 1999 Spring Season. Duke!, in three sections, is choreographed by Robert La Fosse, Garth Fagan, and Susan Stroman. Them Twos, comprised entirely of pas de deux, is by Martins.
A strike action by NYCB Orchestra musicians forces the presentation of several performances of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™ to be accompanied by recorded music. Contract resolution is achieved within two weeks.
Silja Schandorff, a Principal Dancer with the Royal Danish Ballet, performs Swan Lake with the Company as a Guest Artist for several performances.
During the Winter Season, the Company announces the start of The Campaign for New York City Ballet. With a goal of $50 million, it is the largest endowment campaign in dance history.
Twyla Tharp creates The Beethoven Seventh, and Mercurial Manoeuvres by Wheeldon takes to the stage for the first time.
Jenifer Ringer is elevated to the rank of Principal Dancer.
The 2000 Diamond Project features eight new works in the Spring Season.
Andrea Quinn is appointed Music Director of New York City Ballet.
The Company's summer tour takes it to Scotland's Edinburgh Festival and Japan.
Svetlana Zakharova and Igor Zelensky, Principal Dancers at Russia's Kirov Ballet, dance as Guest Artists in performances of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker.
Jennie Somogyi is promoted to Principal Dancer in December.
Tanaquil Le Clercq, a longtime NYCB Principal Dancer and former wife of Balanchine, dies on December 31, 2000.
Polyphonia by Wheeldon debuts in January.
March sees the nationwide and international release of the New York City Ballet Workout in video and DVD format.
A memorial service is held honoring Tanaquil Le Clercq at the New York State Theater in May.
In May, Christopher Wheeldon is named Resident Choreographer.
Highlights of the 2001 Spring Gala are the premieres of Martins' Morgen and Wheeldon's Variations Sérieuses.
Soirée by Tanner debuts as part of the Spring 2001 Season.
In August and September, NYCB tours Europe for performances at the Edinburgh Festival, in Athens and, as part of the Verdi Centennial celebrations, in Parma, Italy.
In November, the Company dances a special performance for families of victims of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack.
In January, NYCB performs the New York premiere of Martins' Hallelujah Junction with Guest Artists Gitte Lindstrom and Andrew Bowman from the Royal Danish Ballet.
For the first time, the Company names six designers as Artists-in-Residence. Catherine Barinas, Rebecca Baygents-Turk, Tom Gold, Julius Lumsden, Alysia Raycraft, and Emilio Sosa will spend a year at NYCB working on and exploring costume design for the dance.
The Spring 2002 Season marks the 10th Anniversary of the Diamond Project and is the occasion for eight world premiere ballets by Melissa Barak, Stephen Baynes, Mauro Bigonzetti, Albert Evans, Miriam Mahdaviani, Martins and Wheeldon.
NYCB Principal Dancer Helene Alexopoulos retires in May 2002.
May 30th is the occasion of an all-Diamond Project national PBS broadcast as part of the Live from Lincoln Center series.
May 2002 sees the promotions of James Fayette, Benjamin Millepied, and Sébastien Marcovici to the rank of Principal Dancer.
During the fall, Principal Dancer Robert La Fosse ends his 16-year tenure with the Company. He continues to appear with NYCB on an ongoing basis as a Guest Artist.
The November 26 Opening Night Gala Performance is a centennial tribute to composer Richard Rodgers. The program includes three world premiere ballets, all set to Rodgers' music: Land of Nod (La Fosse), Carousel (A Dance) (Wheeldon), and Thou Swell (Martins). Bernadette Peters appears as a surprise guest artist in the final movement of Thou Swell.
In December, Robert Tewsley joins the roster as a Principal Dancer.
Sofiane Sylve of Het Nationale Ballet dances her first performance as a 2003-2004 Winter Season Guest Artist as the Sugarplum Fairy in a December performance of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker.
Guest Artist Sofiane Sylve performs a number of repertory ballets throughout January and February, including Kammermusik No. 2, Western Symphony and Serenade (Balanchine).
After 27 years with the Company, Soloist Kipling Houston retires on January 8.
The May 14 Spring Gala unveils two new works. The benefit audience witnesses a preview performance of Peter Martins' Guide to Strange Places, which is set to a John Adams' score of the same title, and the world premiere performance of Christopher
Wheeldon's Carnival of the Animals. Mr. Adams conducts the first and second performances of Martins' new work. Narration for Carnival of the Animals was written by John Lithgow, who both narrates and performs in the ballet's first performances.
In May, Alexandra Ansanelli is named a Principal Dancer.
Liturgy, a new pas de deux for Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto, set to the music of Arvo Part and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, has its world premiere on May 31. The work receives two more performances as part of the Spring 2003 season.
On June 27, the Company holds a press conference on the Promenade of the New York State Theater to announce plans for a year-long celebration of the centennial of George Balanchine's birth during the 2003-2004 performance seasons.
On July 29, NYCB begins a week-long visit to St. Petersburg's Maryinsky Theatre with an All-Balanchine program. Maestro Valery Gergiev is on the podium for the start of opening night.
From September 2-7, the Company makes its seventh visit to Copenhagen when it performs at the Tivoli Concert Hall.
In fall 2003, Sofiane Sylve returns to NYCB as a Principal Dancer. Ms. Sylve first danced with the Company as a Guest Artist in the 2002-2003 Winter Season.
Opening Night of Balanchine 100: The Centennial Celebration is November 25. The Company performs Serenade, Symphony in C and gives the sole performance of Bugaku for the 2003-2004 year. The program ends with a glittering confetti shower in honor of the Balanchine Centenary.
In 2004, NYCB welcomes two young conductors, Carolyn Chi-An Kuan and Daniel Alfred Wachs, to the Company's Artists in Residence program. They will observe and work with the music staff throughout the Balanchine 100: Centennial Celebration seasons.
Principal Dancers Gudrun Bojesen and Thomas Lund of the Royal Danish Ballet are the first guest artists of Balanchine 100: The Centennial Celebration when they join NYCB for a performance of Flower Festival in Genzano pas de deux on January 11.
On January 22, 2004, a sold-out audience fills the New York State Theater as NYCB dances Serenade, Apollo and Prodigal Son in honor of George Balanchine’s 100th birthday. The evening’s celebration concludes as members of the Company join Peter Martins, Barbara Horgan, Trustee & General Director of The George Balanchine Trust, and a giant cake on stage for a toast as balloons and confetti rain down from above as the NYCB Orchestra plays “Happy Birthday.”
January 23 marks the world premiere of Susan Stroman’s first, evening-long ballet, Double Feature. Comprised of two acts, The Blue Necklace is set to the music of Irving Berlin and Makin’ Whoopee features the music of Walter Donaldson. The work, requiring nearly 60 dancers, represents the second time that Susan Stroman has created a ballet on NYCB.
Royal Danish Ballet Principal Dancer Caroline Cavallo debuts with NYCB on January 29 as Odette/Odile in Martins’ Swan Lake and performs the ballet again on February 1. Ms. Cavallo dances one performance of Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 on January 31.
On February 6, NYCB unveils new sets for Jewels created by the ballet's original designer, Peter Harvey.
On March 3, NYCB returns to The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for a week of performances after an absence of 17 years.
As NYCB dances to the music of Hindemith and Brahms in a tribute to German music on May 1, more than 200 NYCB alumni return to the New York State Theater to be part of the Balanchine 100: Centennial Celebration festivities. Many of the dancers who originated roles in the evening's works join Peter Martins on stage before the start of the program.
George Balanchine is one of four choreographers honored by the U.S. Postal Service which issues stamps recognizing their contributions to American culture. The first-day-of-issue ceremony takes place at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on May 4, where students from the School of American Ballet perform.
On May 5, Live from Lincoln Center broadcasts "Lincoln Center Celebrates Balanchine 100 New York City Ballet's 2004 Spring Gala" on PBS as guest performers from around Lincoln Center join NYCB at the New York State Theater in a salute to the Company's founder. The program is also simulcast to fans on Lincoln Center Plaza, who watch as the program inside unfolds, a first for NYCB. The evening is hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker.
The year's second premiere takes place on May 8 when the curtain rises on Shambards, Christopher Wheeldon's 10th ballet for NYCB and his first to a commissioned score. Composer James MacMillan leads the NYCB Orchestra in the first performance.
On May 18, at NYCB's Italian Tribute evening, the Company honors Principal Conductor Hugo Fiorato with the title Conductor Emeritus. He is the first person to hold this position. Mr. Fiorato joined NYCB in 1948 and had worked previously with Ballet Society, NYCB's precursor. Peter Martins, orchestra members and dancers join the maestro on stage amid a shower of flowers as the audience acknowledges Maestro Fiorato's lifetime of service to NYCB.
On June 2, Peter Martins premieres two new works Chichester Psalms (Bernstein) and Eros Piano (Adams) as part of the Balanchine Centennial American Music Festival. The Juilliard Choral Union appears on stage as an integral element of Chichester Psalms.
New York City Ballet gives the world premiere of Musagète (Bach/Tschaikovsky) on June 18. It is the first ballet to be made on an American ballet company by St. Petersburg-based choreographer Boris Eifman.
Throughout the Balanchine 100 Centennial Spring Season guest artists from around the world perform in the Balanchine repertory. The Company hosts artists from American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, New York City Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet.
The Georgian State Dance Company accepts Peter Martins’ invitation to perform three times in the last days of June bringing the Balanchine 100 Celebration to a rousing conclusion on June 27.
In September Kenneth Tabachnick joins NYCB as General Manager.
A Fall tour takes the Company to Tokyo, Japan (September 22-26), Orange County Performing Arts Center (September 29-October 3) and to the Dorothy Chandler Music Center of Los Angeles (October 6-10).
On November 23, 2004, NYCB’s Opening Night Gala Benefit features the U.S. Premiere of Peter Martins’ Octet.
November 26, 2004–January 2, 2005 NYCB celebrates the 50th Anniversary of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™.
On December 17 Peter Boal, who first performed as a “Party Guest” in 1975, while a student of the School of American, debuts as “Herr Drosselmeier.”
A 50th Anniversary performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker on December 30 features 15 NYCB Principal Dancers in a special staging of Act II “The Kingdom of Sweets.”
The Winter 2005 Repertory Season (January 4–February 27) features a new version of Peter Martins’ Todo Buenos Aires with Guest Artist Julio Bocca, which premieres on January 8. January 22, the New Combinations Evening celebrating Balanchine’s birthday, features Martins’ Octet and Wheeldon’s world premiere of After the Rain. Immediately following the performance Ashley Bouder, Megan Fairchild, Janie Taylor, Joaquin De Luz and Stephen Hanna are promoted to Principal Dancer.
NYCB returns to Kennedy Center (March 2-6) for the second consecutive year.
The 2005 Spring Season (April 26–June 26) features the NYCB premiere of Jerome Robbins’ N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz on April 29. The Annual Spring Gala, May 4, presents three World Premieres: Martins’ Tala Gaisma, Albert Evans’ Broken Promise, and Wheeldon’s An American in Paris, as well as two NYCB premieres: Benjamin Millepied’s Double Aria and Edwaard Liang’s Distant Cries.
The Spring season also sees the retirement of two long-time NYCB Principal Dancers, Peter Boal on June 5 and Jock Soto on June 19.
On June 20, the intersection of West 62nd Street and Columbus Avenue in New York City is christened "Jerome Robbins Place."
Gordon Boelzner, NYCB's Music Adviser, dies on August 17. He joined NYCB as a rehearsal pianist in 1959 and began to accompany performances soon after. Mr. Boelzner became Music Director in 1990. He retired from the post in 1999, when he was named Music Adviser.
On November 11, in Copenhagen, Jared Angle is named a Principal Dancer.
Opening Night on November 22 starts the season with an All-American program.
On December 31, 2005, NYCB brings to a successful conclusion The Campaign for New York City Ballet—the largest capital campaign ever conducted on behalf of a dance company—with the announcement that $58 million in endowment funds has been raised in the past five years.
Klavier, a new work for 10 dancers by Wheeldon, has its world premiere as part of January's New Combinations evening.
Bright Sheng is named the first NYCB Composer in Residence for a tenure of two years during which he will compose two scores among other responsibilities.
February welcomes Friandises by Peter Martins set to a commissioned score by American composer Christopher Rouse. The score is unusual in that it is commisioned for NYCB and the Juillliard School on the occasion of Juilliard's 100th Anniversary and will receive the attention of a second choreographer, from Juilliard, with those performances taking place later in the year.
In March, NYCB makes a third consecutive tour visit to the Kennedy Center for a week of performances.
During the 2006 Spring Season, NYCB devotes two performances to the work of choreographer Eliot Feld. Six of the choreographer’s works are on view including Étoile Polaire, created for the 2006 Diamond Project. Feld is the first choreographer, with the exception of Balanchine and Robbins, to have an entire program devoted to his ballets.
The 2006 Diamond Project features new ballets by Mauro Bigonzetti, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Jorma Elo, Eliot Feld, Peter Martins, Alexei Ratmansky, and Christopher Wheeldon. It is the first time Elo and Ratmansky have created work for NYCB.
The summer finds the Company in Saratoga Springs for 18 performances which open with the full-length Swan Lake (Martins)
In July, French conductor Fayçal Karoui is named NYCB Music Director. Maestro Karoui first conducted the NYCB Orchestra in January 2006 in a performance of Swan Lake (Martins). He succeeds Andrea Quinn and becomes the Company’s fifth Music Director.
October finds the Company in Chicago for its first visit since 1979. The widely-acclaimed visit to the Harris Theater includes seven performances and opens with a tribute to Maria Tallchief.
On November 21, 2006, NYCB opens its 125th New York season with a gala program that includes the only performance of the year of "Purple" from Martins' Ecstatic Orange and the NYCB premiere of Middle Duet by Alexei Ratmansky, Artistic Director of Russia's Bolshoi Ballet.
With the return of repertory in January 2007, the Company introduces "bloc programming" for the first time with 11 programs that present 38 ballets in a fixed format.
January 27 sees the NYCB premiere of Christopher d'Amboise's Tribute as part of a "Tribute to Kirstein" program. The ballet, set to a score by J.S. Bach, was first presented in 2005 as part of a School of American Ballet Annual Workshop program.
The Company presents a Robbins' revival on February 2 when Dybbuk, with a score of Leonard Bernstein, returns to the stage of the New York State Theater after a long absence.
A highlight of the closing week is the appearance of Maestro Valery Gergiev who conducts the February 23 performance of Circus Polka, Walpurgisnacht Ballet, Jeu de Cartes, and Firebird. It is only the second time that Maestro Gergiev has conducted the NYCB Orchestra.
NYCB returns to the Kennedy Center with a week of A Midsummer Night's Dream performances as part of Kennedy Center's 2007 Shakespeare Festival.
The 2007 Spring Season Kirstein 100: A Tribute celebration begins on April 24. The season is filled with performances, exhibitions, seminars, ticket policies, publications and museum shows that honor the Company's co-founder. Kirstein's actual centennial falls on May 4, 2007.
Gonzalo Garcia joined the Company as a Principal Dancer and Sterling Hyltin, Jonathan Stafford, Daniel Ulbricht, Andrew Veyette were promoted to Principal Dancer.
On April 30, for the first time in NYCB's history, the Company welcomes 2,500 members of the public to a free, open dress rehearsal of a work in process–Peter Martins' Romeo + Juliet.
The world premiere of Peter Martins' Romeo + Juliet takes place on May 1, 2007 at the annual Spring Gala before a sold-out audience. The original cast includes NYCB dancers and students and faculty from the School of American Ballet.
On May 4, 2007 at the evening performance of Martins' Romeo + Juliet, the NYCB Orchestra salutes Lincoln Kirstein on the centennary of his birth as it plays "Happy Birthday" and the entire audience joins in an intermission vodka toast to NYCB's co-founder.
June 8 sees the premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's The Nightingale and the Rose. The ballet is inspired by the Oscar Wilde story of the same name and is danced to a commissioned score by Composer in Residence Bright Sheng.
On June 22, amid a shower of pink flowers, Principal Dancer Kyra Nichols retires from the stage following a 33-year career at New York City Ballet. Her final program includes performances of Serenade, Robert Schumann's "Davidsbündlertänze" and the "Der Rosenkavalier" section of 'Vienna Waltzes. She leaves the Company having served longer than any other NYCB ballerina.
Dancing for Lincoln: A Centennial Celebration is the theme of the 2007-2008 Opening Night Gala on November 20, 2007. The festivities mark the conclusion of New York City Ballet's yearlong commemoration of Kristein's centenary. Program highlights include an excerpt of a film-in-progress by Company members Ellen Bar and Sean Suozzi of Jerome Robbins' N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz, a film tribute to Lincoln Kirstein, a world premiere ballet, Grazioso, by Peter Martins, and A Life for the Tsar–originally choreographed in 1993 for the opening of the Balanchine Celebration which took place on May 4, 1993, the occasion of Kirstein's 86th birthday. The evening concludes with a chorus of Happy Birthday and a gold confetti shower.
Abi Stafford was promoted to Principal Dancer.
December 19 marks NYCB's 2,000th performance of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. The celebratory performance features five Sugarplum Fairies, seven Cavaliers, and three Dewdrops in Act II.
Oltremare, the third ballet created by Mauro Bigonzetti on NYCB has its world premeire performance on January 23, 2008. The commissioned score is by Bigonzetti's frequent collaborator, Bruno Moretti. The title translates as "beyond the sea."
February 7 sees the debut of Resident Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon's 16th work for the Company, Rococo Variations.
Principal Dancer Nikolaj Hübbe marks his retirement from the stage at the matinee performance of February 10, 2008. The celebration performance includes Apollo, Flower Festival in Genzano pas de deux, Zakouski, "Cool" from West Side Story Suite, and Western Symphony. The program ends with cascades of red, orange and yellow blooms. In 2008 Mr. Hübbe becomes artistic director of the Royal Danish Ballet.
NYCB makes its fifth consecutive return visit to the Kennedy Center.
The 2008 Spring Season featuring the Jerome Robbins Celebration marked the 90th Anniversary of the choreographer's birth in 1918 and the 10th Anniversary of his passing. The celebration featured 33 ballets that Robbins created over a span of more than 50 years. Highlights included a historic recreation of his original 1965 staging of Les Noces, Brahms/Handel choreographed by Robbins and Twyla Tharp, Watermill, Other Dances, and Four Bagatelles.
The celebration also included guest artists from American Ballet Theatre and Paris Opera Ballet, and the premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's second ballet created for NYCB, Concerto DSCH, on May 29, 2008.
Sara Mearns was promoted to Principal Dancer in June.
Principal dancer Damian Woetzel retired on June 18, 2008 after 23 years with the Company.
On June 27 NYCB rejuvenated the "Dancers' Emergency Fund" program with a new format entitled "Dancers' Choice." The program was completely created by dancers from NYCB, and featured a new ballet, Flit of Fury/The Monarch, with choreography by Adam Hendrickson and music by Aaron Severini
This Fall's tour took the Company to the Tivoli Theater in Copenhagen, Denmark (September 1-6) and to the Opéra Bastille in Paris, France (September 9-21).
On Tuesday, November 25, 2008 New York City Ballet’s annual Opening Night Benefit featured an evening of ballets set to American music marking the first performance in the newly named David H. Koch Theater (previously known as the New York State Theater). Home to both New York City Ballet and New York City Opera, the re-naming acknowledges the extraordinary generosity of Mr. Koch, whose support of the joint capital campaign for the theater benefits both companies.
January 22 saw the premiere of Douglas Lee’s ballet Lifecasting, his first ballet for NYCB. Melissa Barak’s third ballet for NYCB, A Simple Symphony, had its premiere on February 17.
In March NYCB made it’s sixth consecutive return to the Kennedy Center.
On May 9, NYCB presented a major revival of George Balanchine’s Scotch Symphony, which featured sets designed by Karin von Aroldingen, a former principal dancer and current ballet master with NYCB.
The Annual Spring Gala on May 13 featured two world premiere ballets by European-born principal dancers; Jurí Bubenicek, a Czech citizen who dances with Dresden’s SemperOper Ballet, and Benjamin Millepied, a native of Bordeaux, a longtime member of NYCB. Mr. Bubenícek’s Toccata and Mr. Millepied’s Quasi Una Fantasia were both choreographers’ first works for NYCB.
The 2009 Saratoga season celebrated the 35th anniversary of Coppélia, which premiered at the 1974 SPAC season.
In summer, beginning in June and lasting through October, the David H. Koch Theater underwent major renovations. New aisles were added to the orchestra; all new seating was installed; a number of acoustical enhancements including the construction of a new orchestra pit with hydraulics were completed; wheelchair locations were added in the orchestra, first ring, and fourth ring; and new carpeting and wall coverings were installed through the theater. A new audio/visual system was installed, including a complete onsite media suite to capture and distribute high-definition video and digital sound for performances, rehearsals and any other activities taking place in the theater.
In early October the Company returned to Tokyo, Japan. On October 27 Tyler Angle, Robert Fairchild, Tiler Peck, Amar Ramasar, and Teresa Reichlen were promoted to principal dancer.
On November 16 Katherine E. Brown was appointed Executive Director of NYCB, a position created to oversee the administrative management of the Company. She assumed the position on December 14.
The November 24 Opening Night Benefit featured a World Premiere by Peter Martins to John Adams’ music, Naïve and Sentimental Music, this was the tenth collaboration between Mr. Martins and Mr. Adams. Guest artists from the Paris Opera Ballet, Étoiles Aurélie Dupont and Mathias Heymann, performed the Rubies pas de deux.