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About the Company
Nikolaj Hübbe in <i>Apollo</i>
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In 1934, Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine started their historic partnership by opening the School of American Ballet. Kirstein was a rich young Bostonian, while Balanchine was a young, acclaimed choreographer from the Georgian region of Russia. At the School, Balanchine trained dancers in an innovative style and technique that matched his idea of a new, unmannered classicism. The two then started and ran several short-lived ballet companies, before founding Ballet Society in 1946, which became New York City Ballet (NYCB) two years later.

The Company, which was based at City Center, quickly became known for its linear purity, sharpness of attack, and overall speed and musicality. Jerome Robbins joined the Company as associate director in 1949 and, with Balanchine, choreographed a varied repertory that grew with each season. In 1964, NYCB moved to its permanent home at Lincoln Center's 2,779-seat New York State Theater, designed by Philip Johnson in collaboration with Balanchine specifically for the presentation of ballet. With this move, NYCB achieved an institutional stability and financial health that has enabled the Company to focus on heightening its artistic excellence and ensuring that classical ballet endures as a modern art form.

Today, New York City Ballet is one of the largest and most highly esteemed classical ballet companies in the world, with a permanent repertory of more than 150 works, many of which are considered dance masterpieces. There are approximately 90 dancers in the Company, making it the largest dance organization in the country. Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins is committed to the Balanchine tradition of choreographic exploration; in addition to maintaining and presenting the Company's rich repertory, NYCB continues to present new work though such initiatives as The Diamond Project, a showcase for new ballets by both established and emerging choreographers. In 2001, Christopher Wheeldon was named the Company's first Resident Choreographer. Its repertory is unparalleled in its excellence and includes several full-length ballets—Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, Coppélia, and Jewels, and Peter Martins' The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake—as well as signature works such as Serenade, Symphony in C, Agon, and Vienna Waltzes, among many others.

Balanchine and Kirstein's School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of NYCB, continues to this day. The school is housed at Lincoln Center and has an enrollment of over 350 aspiring dancers from all over the U.S. and around the world. Most of the dancers at NYCB trained at SAB in the Balanchine style, giving the Company a consistency of style and technique that helps to put it ahead of many other companies.

Balanchine said, "The music is always first." To uphold this dedication, the Company's performances are all accompanied by the 72-member NYCB Orchestra. In addition, the Company regularly commissions new compositions, which serve as the inspiration for new ballets.

NYCB performs 23 weeks of the year at the New York State Theater for an audience of nearly 875,000 people, presenting on average 60 to 70 ballets. During its 14-week winter season, the Company performs six weeks of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker from late November into January, followed by eight weeks of mixed repertory programming. The nine-week spring season follows during May and June. In addition, the Company performs each summer in upstate New York at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs. NYCB schedules a minimum of six weeks of working rehearsals prior to each season to ensure that dancers have adequate time to learn and perfect the scheduled ballets. The Company also rehearses on every performance day throughout the two seasons.

The Company is strongly committed to expanding the general public's interest and understanding of the art form through education and outreach programs designed for adults and young people, and offers a range of programs that serve schools, families, and current and potential audiences.

In its more than half century of existence, New York City Ballet has had a profound impact on dance and on the cultural landscape of New York City. Under the leadership of Mr. Martins, the Company remains committed to maintaining its legendary repertory, creating new choreography, and developing new generations of dancers.


Additional Resources
Official website of New York City Ballet

About New York City Ballet

The Dancers of New York City Ballet: Full roster and biographies of all the NYCB dancers.

Cast and Company
Jerome Robbins - Choreographer
George Balanchine - Founder
Lincoln Kirstein - Founder

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