Just when you thought there’d be little ballet, the New York City Ballet – one of the world’s great dance companies – has launched a digital spring season, replacing its actual engagement at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater with six weeks of performances that will continue through May 29.
The programming for the digital season will feature complete ballets and excerpts, with 8 p.m. Tuesday releases devoted to the dynamic repertory of the company’s co-founding choreographers, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and 8 p.m. Friday releases dedicated primarily to contemporary works by some of today’s hottest choreographers.
The ballets and excerpts have been curated by NYCB Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford, Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan, and Resident Choreographer and Artistic Advisor Justin Peck and will include performance footage from more than 20 ballets filmed during live performances in recent seasons at the Koch Theater. Each episode will also feature an introduction by one of NYCB’s artists, including artistic staff, choreographers, dancers and musicians.
“While it was extremely disappointing to cancel our spring season performances at Lincoln Center, we are thrilled that we can offer an online selection of works from our unparalleled repertory of ballets, performed by our incredible dancers and musicians,” Stafford said in a statement. “I know that our long-time audience members will recognize many of their favorites, and I am also excited that people from around the world who have never seen the company perform live will now be able to experience our performances through this digital season.”
Tonight’s programming will spotlight the world premiere of Peck’s “Rotunda,” which took place on Feb. 26 and is set to a commissioned score by composer Nico Muhly. NYCB’s most recent premiere, featuring 12 dancers, “Rotunda” was scheduled to be performed at Sadler’s Wells in London last month as part of a festival of choreography to music by Muhly, also cancelled due to the current coronavirus pandemic. He will introduce tonight’s episode.
Each program is 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).
Ancillary content for the digital season will include nine all-new episodes of “City Ballet The Podcast; Ballet Essentials,” interactive educational workshops; “Ballet Break” movement workshops for children; and “Wednesday With Wendy,” a weekly, open-level ballet-inspired movement class taught by Whelan on NYCB’s Instagram Live and IGTV channel.
Additional repertory for the digital season will feature performances by all of the company’s current roster of principal dancers in works by choreographers 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.
– edited by Georgette Gouveia