David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza (Columbus Ave. at 63rd St.)
Description: This witty and cheerful piece for 21 dancers opens with an explosive male variation — a series of bravura leaps performed to a trumpet solo — that is followed by rapidly shifting ensemble work for a corps of women which materializes from behind gauze panels on each side of the stage. After a quietly mesmerizing pas de deux of unfolding turns, arrested leaps and intricate lifts, the ballet ends with squadrons of dancers flying on and off the stage in ever-changing directions, patterns, and diagonals. An early reviewer compared the work's intricate geometry to the paintings of Kandinsky and Malevich. The score by Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) fell in and out of favor with the Soviet government as the composer's creative development and fortunes were often determined by political events in the Soviet Union. Shostakovich studied at the Leningrad Conservatory, where his work was encouraged by Alexander Glazounov, the Conservatory's Principal. Shostakovich's 1926 graduation piece, The First Symphony, catapulted him to prominence. During the next decade he composed a satirical opera, The Nose (based on a story by Nicolai Gogol), three full-length ballets, and the first of many film scores. Shostakovich, whose work was influenced by Gustav Mahler and Cesar Franck, wrote 15 symphonies (several of them with epic themes relating to the Russian Revolution and World War II), concertos, quartets, operas, and patriotic cantatas. Christopher Wheeldon, a former soloist with New York City Ballet, retired from dancing in May 2000. He was born in Somerset, England, and joined The Royal Ballet in 1991, the same year he won the Gold Medal at the Prix de Lausanne Competition. In 1993, he was invited to become a member of the NYCB corps de ballet. In addition to dancing, he has choreographed works for New York City Ballet's Slavonic Dances (Dvorak) (1997) and Scènes de Ballet (Stravinsky) (1999), Boston Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Ballet Inc., The Royal Ballet, the Royal Ballet School, and the School of American Ballet. His work can also be seen in the feature film Center Stage (released May 2000). In 2000, Mr. Wheeldon was selected as New York City Ballet's first Artist in Residence.
Venue Description: Founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine, New York City Ballet (NYCB) has the largest repertoire of any American ballet company and is currently the largest dance organization in America. The company stages more than 60 ballets in its winter and spring seasons at Lincoln Center each year and more than 20 in its summer season in Saratoga Springs. Balanchine's creativity influenced dance both across the United States and in Europe and The School of American Ballet (SAB), which Balanchine founded, is the official training school of New York City Ballet, where young American dancers are trained and schooled under the guidance of the world's greatest ballet masters. New York City Ballet has made numerous appearances in the world?s most influential capitals, with an active repertory of over 150 works, principally choreographed by Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins. NYCB's performances include "The Nutcracker," "Romeo and Juliet," and "A Midsummer Night's Dream," among others. The New York City Ballet also has a permanent orchestra and holds annual classical music festivals like the Stravinsky Festival, the Tchaikovsky Festival, and the American Music Festival.
The New York City Ballet's permanent performance space is located at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on 63rd Street in Manhattan, and the other at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY. The School of American Ballet is located in the Samuel B. & David Rose Building at Lincoln Center. For more information: nycballet.com.
Upcoming Events at New York City Ballet: