Metro Mama & Metro Baby

By Stephanie Ila Silver-Silberstein

New York City is a cultural epicenter from which even the youngest of children can benefit. Immersing them in a world of art, music, theatre and dance can have a lasting impact on their involvement and appreciation for the arts in the future. And now, New York Theatre Ballet’s Once Upon a Ballet Series is bringing timeless stories to life onstage in hour-long ballets perfect for the entire family.

Photo credit: Richard Termine

This past January, I had the pleasure of bringing my daughter to The Alice-in-Wonderland Follies choreographed by Keith Michael. This captivating production opened with an actual dance lesson complete with NYTB’s youngest ballerinas demonstrating ballet terms and positions onstage and audience members participating from their seats. My ballet-obsessed three-year-old was totally in her element and truly enjoyed this unexpected ‘dance class’ treat. Once the cleverly choreographed production began, we followed Alice’s adventures through Wonderland as she meets some of the most beloved characters in children’s literature. Presented in a vaudeville setting (NY circa 1915), this eclectic ballet drew on many different dance forms – from Irish step dancing to African Jubba to classical ballet. I was very impressed by the high caliber of talent onstage. Professional ballet dancers played the lead roles and I loved watching the young NYTB students perform ensemble roles with so much skill and grace. They were the perfect role models for my aspiring little prima ballerina. The Alice-in-Wonderland Follies featured sets by Gillian Bradshaw-Smith and costumes by Sylvia Taalshon Nolan, Resident Costume Designer of the Metropolitan opera.

Photo credit: Richard Termine

This March, NYTB’s Once Upon a Ballet Series continues with Cinderella, choreographed by Donald Mahler and ends in May with Carnival of Animals, choreographed by Beth Storey Taylor, and Sleeping Beauty’s Wedding, choreographed by James Sutton (see below for performance schedule and ticket information).

New York Theatre Ballet (NYTB), founded in 1978 by artistic director Diana Byer, is the most widely seen chamber ballet company in the United States and has been hailed by The New York Times as “an invaluable company.” NYTB is dedicated to inspiring a love of dance in diverse audiences through performances of chamber ballet masterpieces and bold new works, as well as innovative one-hour ballets for children, all at affordable prices. NYTB is committed to reaching underserved audiences by performing in small cities throughout the U.S. Its professional school provides ballet training at affordable prices. Scholarships are awarded to talented homeless and underserved children along with support for well-rounded learning. Visit http://www.nytb.org to learn more.

Photo credit: Richard Termine

Cinderella
March 1-2, 2014 at 11am, 1pm, and 3:30pm
Note: Cinderella’s Ball will follow the 3:30pm performance on March 2 in Gould Hall’s Tinker Auditorium. Children will get the chance to waltz with their favorite Cinderella character, play games, win prizes, try to find Cinderella’s glass slipper and eat great desserts, with wine for the parents. Children are encouraged to wear their favorite Cinderella and Prince Charming outfits. Tickets for Cinderella’s Ball are $50 and are available at reservations@nytb.org or 212-679-0401 x5.

Carnival of the Animals & Sleeping Beauty’s Wedding
Saturday, May 10 at 1pm and Sunday, May 11 at 11am, 1pm, and 3:30pm.

Performances take place at New York City’s Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street, New York City. Tickets are available at online at http://www.nytb.org, via Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787, or in-person at the Florence Gould Hall box office (212) 355-6160.

Originally published February 2014
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