New York City Ballet has announced that filmmaker Sofia Coppola will direct a film for the Company's current digital season, which will premiere at NYCB's 2021 Spring Gala – the Company's first-ever virtual gala event – on Wednesday 5 May.
The film will be shot at the David H Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, NYCB's home since 1964, by Coppola and the cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd, and will feature choreography by NYCB's co-founding choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and current Resident Choreographer and Artistic Advisor Justin Peck.
Coppola's film for New York City Ballet will feature members of the Company performing five works. There will be a World Premiere by Peck featuring NYCB Principal Dancer Anthony Huxley set to Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. Also in the programme are excerpts from three works by Balanchine – Duo Concertant, featuring NYCB Principal Dancers Ashley Bouder and Russell Janzen; Liebeslieder Walzer, featuring NYCB Principal Dancers Maria Kowroski and Ask la Cour; and the finale of Divertimento No. 15, featuring NYCB Principal Dancers Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette, Soloists Emilie Gerrity, Lauren King, Ashley Laracey, Unity Phelan, and Daniel Applebaum, and corps de ballet member Andrew Scordato. The fifth work is a solo from Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering, featuring NYCB Principal Dancer Gonzalo Garcia. The music will be performed by New York City Ballet Orchestra members and pianists under the direction of company Music Director Andrew Litton.
Coppola made her feature-length directorial debut in 1999 with The Virgin Suicides and in 2004, she received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Lost in Translation. In 2010 she became the first American woman to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for her film Somewhere, and in 2017 she became just the second woman to win the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival for The Beguiled. Other films written and directed by Coppola include Marie Antoinette (2006), The Bling Ring (2013), and On the Rocks (2020). In 2016 Coppola made her debut as an opera director, collaborating with Valentino on Verdi's La Traviata for Teatro dell'Opera di Roma.
NYCB Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford said:
We are thrilled to have Sofia Coppola bring her extraordinary artistic vision to New York City Ballet for this special film premiere for our 2021 virtual Spring Gala and digital season, and grateful to CHANEL for their generous underwriting of Ms Coppola's film, and to Emily and Len Blavatnik, Lead Benefactors, for their extraordinary support.
After more than a year off the stage, this project has been conceived as a celebration of our wonderful artists, unparalleled repertory, and magnificent theatre as we begin to look to a return to live performances at Lincoln Center in September.
Additional digital content to be released by NYCB this spring will include: a World Premiere by choreographer Kyle Abraham, available 8-22 April; a stream of a 2013 performance of Balanchine's Vienna Waltzesavailable 3-17 June; and all-new Episodes of City Ballet The Podcast and Interactive Educational Workshops.
Tickets for the 5 May virtual Spring Gala, which will include exclusive content and other special perks in a virtual venue created by Broadway Unlocked, are available at nycballet.com/springgala.
Following the Spring Gala premiere, the Coppola film will be available online for two weeks, Thursday 6 May until Thursday 20 May.
2021 DIGITAL SEASON
Kyle Abraham World Premiere
On Thursday, April 8 New York City Ballet will present the World Premiere of a new work by choreographer Kyle Abraham, which was filmed at the David H. Koch Theater in February, and co-directed by Abraham and Ryan Marie Helfant, who has also contributed cinematography to the visual albums Black is King (directed by Beyoncé) and When I Get Home (directed by Solange).
Titled When We Fell, the Abraham work features eight NYCB dancers – Principal Dancers Lauren Lovette and Taylor Stanley, Soloists Claire Kretschmar and Sebastian Villarini-Velez, corps de ballet members India Bradley, Jonathan Fahoury, and Christopher Grant, and apprentice KJ Takahashi – and was created during a three-week residency at the Kaatsbaan Cultural Park in Tivoli, New York. In addition to the film of Abraham's new work, NYCB will also release a short documentary film that will provide a glimpse inside of the Kaatsbaan residency when Abraham and the dancers were creating the piece. Both films will be available from Thursday, April 8 through Thursday, April 22; for more information visit nycballet.com/digitalseason.
For the finale of NYCB's current digital season, the Company will stream a complete performance of Balanchine's Vienna Waltzes from June 3 through 17. Created in 1977 and set to waltzes by Johann Strauss II, Franz Lehár, and Richard Strauss, this work of grand scale featuring more than 50 dancers is only performed by New York City Ballet.
Through Rouben Ter-Arutunian's evolving scenery, Ronald Bates' lighting, and Karinska's costumes, the last that the famed designer created for the Company, the ballet transforms from a sylvan forest glen to a dance hall to a glittering society café to, at last, a majestic mirrored ballroom.
This performance of Vienna Waltzes was filmed in 2013 and features Rebecca Krohn, Tyler Angle, Megan Fairchild, Anthony Huxley, Erica Pereira, Sean Suozzi, Teresa Reichlen, Ask la Cour, Maria Kowroski, and Jared Angle in the principal roles. Visit nycballet.com/digitalseason for more information.
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.