New York City Ballet, which previously canceled its 2020 spring season due to the ongoing pandemic, will launch a digital spring season April 21, which would have been opening night of the spring season. The online season will continue for six weeks, with new releases of ballet performances Tuesday and Friday evenings at 8 PM ET, through May 29.
Each program will be available free of charge for 72 hours on NYCB’s YouTube channel.
The programming will feature complete ballets and excerpts, with Tuesday releases devoted to repertory by co-founding choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and Friday releases devoted primarily to contemporary works by current 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. Each episode will also feature an introduction by one of NYCB’s artists, including artistic staff, choreographers, dancers, and musicians.
The April 21 installment will feature a performance of Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante that was filmed January 18, 2017, featuring Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette in the principal roles, with an introduction by Stafford. The second night of programming, April 24, will feature the world-premiere performance of Justin Peck’s Rotunda, which took place February 26, set to a commissioned score by composer Nico Muhly, who will introduce the episode.
“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,” said Stafford 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.”
Originally captured for use in short excerpts for promotional purposes only, the ballet footage will be shared with the public for the first time with the cooperation of the labor unions for the Company’s artists, stagehands, and other behind-the-scenes personnel, 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,” added Stafford.
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.
Ancillary content for the digital season includes 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 the Company Associate Artistic Director Whelan on NYCB’s Instagram Live and IGTV channel.
NYCB has also created a special Relief Fund to ensure the company’s future; contributions can be made online at NYCBallet.com/donate.