Of the many world-famous things to come out of New York, its ballet company is up there with the best (and most beautiful) of them – at least in the eyes of anyone who knows anything about dance. The New York City Ballet is one of the most highly-regarded companies in the world, listed among the likes of The Royal Ballet, The Kirov, The Bolshoi, and The Paris Opera Ballet, yet distinct from all of them in its particular penchant for innovation and flair.
Founded in 1948, the company is relatively young compared to these peers, but it quickly established an individual contemporary style for which it has become renowned. The New York City Ballet owes its existence to George Balanchine, one of the 20th century’s most famous choreographers, and Lincoln Kirstein, one of the foremost figures in New York’s cultural scene. Together with Jerome Robbins, a producer, director and choreographer, they trained dancers in an innovative, athletic form of dance – an ‘unmannered classicism’ – and choreographed a hugely varied and exciting repertory of works.
Their legacy lives on in the company’s constant creativity, and boy, does the New York City Ballet pack a punch when it comes to startling and surprising contemporary productions. This season’s performances give a glimpse into the inimitable flair of the NYCB.
Firebird, part of the New York City Ballet’s Stravinsky/Balanchine: The Collaboration programme
The 2012 – 2013 season kicks off with a two week festival celebrating Stravinsky/Balanchine: The Collaboration. George constantly drew on Stravinsky’s music for inspiration, and this year for the first time, the company presents twelve Stravinsky/Balanchine ballets, spanning Greek mythology and Russian fairytales, in just two weeks.
The NYCB dancers perform Serenade
There’s also a celebration of Tschiakovsky, showcasing nine ballets including Serenade – the first original ballet Balanchine created in America – which is a sweepingly romantic and somewhat of a signature piece for the company. This celebration follows from the annual run of Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, which has been performed every year since its premiere in 1954.
But the NYCB it isn’t all about Balanchine. One of the company’s most unusual ballets is Jerome Robbin’s Moves, which forgoes scenery, elaborate costumes – and even musical accompaniment. The sole noise is produced by the dancers’ own movements.
Another must-see is Symphony in C, a classical masterpiece created by Balanchine to Bizet’s once-vanished score. It is another of the company’s signatures, and with a cast of over 50 dancers and a spectacular finale – not to mention beautiful new costumes created with thousands of crystals – Symphony in C is sure to dazzle.Google+