|NEW YORK CITY BALLET
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
balletsBalanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, George Balanchine's
The Nutcracker, Coppélia, and Jewels, and Peter Martins'
The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lakeas well as signature works
such as Serenade, Symphony in C, Agon, and Vienna Waltzes, among
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.