World Premiere by choreographer Kyle Abraham to be filmed onstage at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for online release from 8 April 2021.
Spring Gala on 5 May to Feature a World Premiere by NYCB Resident Choreographer and Artistic Advisor Justin Peck and choreography by NYCB co-founding choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins filmed on location at the David H. Koch Theater.
New York City Ballet has announced that in advance of its planned return to live performances at the Lincoln Center in September 2021, the company plans to create several new works and special programmes. Many of these will be specially filmed onstage at the Koch Theater for online release from February through until May 2021.
Highlights will include a World Premiere by choreographer Kyle Abraham, his third collaboration with NYCB, which will be created during a residency at the Kaatsbaan Cultural Park in Tivoli, New York. For the filming of the ballet, Abraham will collaborate with Ryan Marie Helfant, an award-winning filmmaker who was one of several cinematographers who worked on the visual album Black is King, directed by Beyoncé. Abraham's new work will be released on Thursday, 8 April and will be available for streaming for two weeks.
Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan said,
Creating new work has been a hallmark of NYCB since its inception and to be able to continue that tradition, even now during the ongoing pandemic, is extremely meaningful. The ability to bring a number of our artists back to the theatre at this time to work with Justin and Kyle is very exciting, and I can't wait to see the results.
Resident Choreographer and Artistic Advisor Justin Peck will also create a new work: a solo for Principal Dancer Anthony Huxley for an online World Premiere as part of the company's virtual Spring Gala on 5 May. The Spring Gala program will also feature choreography by NYCB co- founding choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins filmed for the occasion. Following the 5 May Spring Gala virtual event, which will feature exclusive content for ticket buyers, the program will also be streamed for two weeks beginning on 6 May.
NYCB Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford said,
As the company continues to plan for our return to the Koch Theater stage in September for the start of the 2021-22 performance season, we will once again present a series of digital programs with much of the content newly filmed in our theatre at Lincoln Center. That glorious venue, NYCB's home since 1964, has been dark for nearly a year, and to see the theatre begin to reawaken with NYCB's wonderful dancers performing new works by Justin Peck and Kyle Abraham, as well as iconic masterpieces by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, is going to be a thrilling experience for all of us.
Executive Director Katherine Brown added,
We are so pleased to virtually share these performances with our donors and audience members who have been incredibly supportive of NYCB during the past year. In addition to the performances of new works and NYCB classics, the company will also present more than 30 podcasts, workshops, and ballet classes for people of all ages and abilities over the next few months. Since the pandemic began, all of our digital offerings have been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people around the world, many of whom are experiencing NYCB for the first time.
The 2021 digital season will begin with a three-part series called Three Sides of Balanchine, which will explore three works by the choreographer that demonstrate his narrative, classical, and neoclassical traditions – Prodigal Son, Theme and Variations, and Stravinsky Violin Concerto.
The series will begin on 22 February, and for the following three weeks NYCB will launch new episodes of City Ballet The Podcast; original Inside NYCB presentations, hosted by Principal Dancer Russell Janzen and featuring onstage rehearsal sessions and conversations with NYCB artists; and finally, full performance streams of the three landmark works, created over more than 40 years.
The first week of the series, starting on 22 February will explore 1929's Prodigal Son; the second week, from 1 March 1, will look at Theme and Variations from 1947; and from 8 March the final week of the series will focus on Stravinsky Violin Concerto, the neoclassical masterpiece from 1972.
On Tuesday 9 March, NYCB will present a digital version of its Annual Luncheon benefit, which will celebrate Principal Dancers Maria Kowroski, Gonzalo Garcia, and Ask la Cour. They are all scheduled to give their farewell performances with NYCB during the 2021-22 season.
This virtual programme will see conversations with each of the dancers and several short performance excerpts from each dancer's career with the company.
The digital season will also include additional all-new episodes of City Ballet The Podcast; six Ballet Essentials interactive repertory workshops for teens and adults; six Ballet Breaks movement workshops for children; six Signature Steps, one-hour ballet classes designed for intermediate and advanced level dancers; and twelve Access Workshops for people with disabilities – six for children and six for teens and adults.
Top photo: Taylor Stanley and Sara Mearns in George Balanchine's Stravinsky Violin Concerto,
which will stream as part of NYCB's 2021 Digital Season. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.