Friday, January 07, 2011
New York City Ballet to tour the world for third week of ballet lost to Saratoga and SPAC.
City Ballet Creates A Troupe For Touring
By DANIEL J. WAKIN
Published: January 6, 2011
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CloseLinkedinDiggMixxMySpaceYahoo! BuzzPermalink New York City Ballet is creating a small and nimble touring ensemble in the hopes of broadening its appeal around the country and the world.
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While the company’s stars often perform elsewhere on their own, establishing an official spinoff is a departure for the company. Performances by the new group, called New York City Ballet Moves, will also replace work days lost when the company shortened its summer season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Centerto two weeks from three weeks several years ago.
In an interview this week the ballet master in chief, Peter Martins, said the small works that Moves will perform can easily be accommodated by more modest sites, like university auditoriums. “There’s a whole market we haven’t been exposed to,” Mr. Martins said.
He said that he envisioned the possibility of more than one small company operating at the same time, and that he saw the European summer festival circuit as fertile ground.
Without solicitation Mr. Martins took pains to emphasize that the new company would not be an apprentice or grade-B group.
“This is not a diminished product in any way,” he said. “These are not students that I’m training to get in the company. These are top-notch dancers. You’re getting the real thing when you hire this group.”
A rotating group of dancers will make up Moves, and it will include members from every level of the company. The roster for the first season consists of the principal dancers Jared Angle, Joaquin De Luz, Robert Fairchild, Sterling Hyltin, Maria Kowroski, Tiler Peck, Amar Ramasar, Daniel Ulbricht and Wendy Whelan; the soloists Adrian Danchig-Waring, Erica Pereira and Rebecca Krohn; and the corps de ballet members Chase Finlay, Anthony Huxley, Lauren Lovette, Brittany Pollack and Taylor Stanley.
Musicians will be drawn from the New York City Ballet Orchestra. Moves will have its first performances this summer at the Vail International Dance Festival, on July 31 and Aug. 1 and 2, followed by four performances, Aug. 5 to 7 at the Center for the Arts in Jackson, Wyo., where a group of City Ballet dancers performed last summer in what the company called a trial run.
They will present two programs, consisting of George Balanchine’s “Duo Concertant,” Jerome Robbins’s “Dances at a Gathering,” Mr. Martins’s “Fool for You,” “Hallelujah Junction” and “Zakouski,” and Christopher Wheeldon’s “After the Rain” pas de deux and “Polyphonia.” The musical accompaniment includes one and two pianos, piano and violin and taped voice.
A natural connection links the Vail festival to City Ballet: the festival’s artistic director is a former City Ballet star, Damian Woetzel. “Knowing that they were starting to look at this as a way to present the company differently, I looked at it and thought this would be fantastic at Vail,” Mr. Woetzel said.
In Vail the dancers will present a program that Mr. Martins called a lecture-demonstration and the festival called a “rehearsal-style romp.” It will be devoted to solos for male dancers by Balanchine, who is perceived has having focused more on female dancers. (“Ballet is woman,” went his famous line.) “The irony is he choreographed great material for men,” Mr. Martins said.
The new program is a return to City Ballet’s history of touring, especially its frequent travels in the United States in the 1950s through the early ’80s. That helped build a following and expanded the pool of potential dancers, Mr. Martins said. But when a musicians’ contract after 1986 required the orchestra to perform with the dancers in any North American engagements, traveling with large-scale works became too expensive, he said.
Most of the recent touring has thus been abroad. City Ballet also appears regularly at the Kennedy Center in Washington. While visiting companies there are required to use the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, a deal was worked out in 2002 allowing the two orchestras to alternate.
Mr. Martins said the touring would not be a source of revenue, but was expected to break even.
A version of this article appeared in print on January 7, 2011, on page C3 of the New York edition.
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