New York City Ballet has announced six weeks of on-line programming that features full ballets and excerpts from more than 20 works with new repertory available on Tuesdays and Fridays from April 21, which would have been the opening night of the cancelled Spring Season, to May 29.
The season will also include a new season of City Ballet The Podcast; Wednesday With Wendy, ballet-inspired movement classes taught by Wendy Whelan; Ballet Essentials Interactive Educational Workshops; and Ballet Break Interactive Workshops for Children.
Each programme 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). Wednesday With Wendy will be on NYCB’s Instagram Live and IGTV channel.
New York City Ballet in performance
Curated by NYCB artistic director Jonathan Stafford, associate artistic director Wendy Whelan, and resident choreographer and artistic advisor Justin Peck, Tuesday ballet programming will be devoted to repertory by the company’s co-founding choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and Friday releases primarily given over to contemporary works by today’s choreographers. Each episode will also feature an introduction by one of NYCB’s artists, including artistic staff, choreographers, dancers, and musicians.
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 Tchaikovsky’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 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 co-operation of the trades unions for the company’s artists and staff, 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 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.
City Ballet The Podcast
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 Tchaikovsky’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.
Ballet Essentials movement workshops
As part of the digital spring season NYCB’s Education Department will present a series of nine Ballet Essentials movement workshops, which will launch on Thursday, April 23 at 6pm (New York). 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.
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. Although the workshops are free, registration is required. Visit balletessentials.nycballet.com for more information.
Ballet Break workshops for children
On Saturday, April 25 at 4pm (London; 11am New York) NYCB will also launch Ballet Break, a six-week series of lively 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 popular ballets. The first Ballet Break on Saturday, April 25 will be led by principal dancer Daniel Ulbricht who will explore movement inspired by Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free. Again, the workshops are free but require registration. Visit nycballet.com/balletbreaks for more information.
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 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!”
Week 1 schedule
Monday, April 20: City Ballet The Podcast
‘See the Music’ episode on Tchaikovsky’s score for Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, featuring NYCB Resident Conductor Daniel Capps and the NYCB Orchestra, with an introduction by NYCB Music Director Andrew Litton
Available at podcast.nycballet.com
Tuesday, April 21: NYCB Performance
Cast: Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette
Filmed on January 18, 2017, David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center
Introduction by Jonathan Stafford
Available at nycballet.com, facebook.com/nycballet, and youtube.com/nycballet from Wednesday April 21 at 1am (London) to Friday April 24, 1am.
Wednesday, April 22: Wednesday with Wendy
Live ballet-inspired movement class suitable for people of all ages and levels of training, taught by Wendy Whelan
Available on Instagram Live at 10pm (London) and IGTV.
Thursday, April 23: Ballet Essentials – Serenade
45-minute interactive movement workshop suitable for people of all ages and level of training consisting of a ballet warm-up and a movement combination inspired by Balanchine’s Serenade, taught by Lauren King
11pm (London). Register at balletessentials.nycballet.com.
Friday, April 24: NYCB Performance
Choreography by Justin Peck
Cast: Sara Mearns, Miriam Miller, Sara Adams, Claire Kretzschmar, Brittany Pollack, Unity Phelan, Gonzalo Garcia, Andrew Scordato, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Daniel Ulbricht, Jovani Furlan, Gilbert Bolden III
Introduction by Nico Muhly, composer
Available at nycballet.com, facebook.com/nycballet, and youtube.com/nycballet from Saturday April 25 at 1am (London) until Tuesday April 28 at 1am.
Saturday, April 25: Ballet Breaks – Fancy Free
20-minute interactive movement workshop for children ages 3-8, consisting of a warm-up and choreography inspired by Robbins’ Fancy Free, taught by Daniel Ulbricht
Workshop at 4pm (London). Register at nycballet.com/balletbreaks.
Week 2 schedule
Monday, April 27
City Ballet The Podcast: episode on Balanchine’s Apollo
Ballet Essentials – West Side Story Suite
Tuesday, April 28: NYCB Performance
Apollo by George Balanchine
Cast: Taylor Stanley, Tiler Peck, Brittany Pollack, and Indiana Woodward
Introduction by Craig Hall, NYCB Ballet Master
Wednesday, April 29: Wednesday with Wendy
Thursday, April 30: Ballet Essentials – Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes
Friday, May 1: NYCB Performance
Ballo Della Regina by George Balanchine
Cast: Megan Fairchild, Anthony Huxley
After the Rain Pas de Deux by Christopher Wheeldon
Cast: Wendy Whelan, Craig Hall
Introduced by Wendy Whelan
Saturday, May 2: Ballet Breaks – Western Symphony