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 holiday season, NYTB returned for a fourth year of Keith Michael’s The Nutcracker, a delightful holiday ballet and I had the pleasure of taking my son and daughter to see it. From clockwork imps to mice dressed in polka dots and dancers dancing with huge chopsticks, this timeless, re-imagined classic burst with energy and excitement. This holiday ballet, danced to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, was set in Art Nouveau style circa 1907 with innovative choreography by long-time NYTB choreographer, Keith Michael; set design by Gillian Bradshaw-Smith; and costumes by Resident Costume Designer of the Metropolitan Opera, Sylvia Nolan.
This captivating production opened with a presentation revealing how lighting plays an important role in creating the beauty and emotional impact ballets are known for. Once the cleverly choreographed production began, we followed Clara’s adventures with the Nutcracker, listening to the familiar music and enjoying new interpretations of the dances by the Sugar Plum Fairy and other cherished characters. I was very impressed by the high caliber of talent onstage. Professional ballet dancers played the lead roles and we 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 and hip-hopping son.
The Once Upon a Ballet Series continues later this season with the following:
Cinderella – February 7-8, 2015
With a Dancing Clock, wacky Stepsisters and everyone’s favorite princess, Cinderella features choreography by Donald Mahler, costumes by Metropolitan Opera’s Resident Costume Designer, Sylvia Taalsohn Nolan and sets by Gillian Bradshaw Smith. Appropriate for girls and boys of all ages.
GOOSE! – March 7-8, 2015
The wit, wisdom, and whimsy of a lively baker’s dozen of Mother Goose characters. They literally leap from the page to the stage to stir the imagination of the young and the young-of-heart – just as they have for centuries!
Carnival of the Animals – June 6-7, 2015
In a magical forest, Queen Diana and her shaggy lion rule a charming assortment of animals who live more or less peaceably until a pair of lost children wander in, and then the fun begins!
NYTB is committed to reaching underserved audiences by performing in small cities throughout the U.S. Its professional school provides ballet training based on the Cecchetti syllabus. Classes are offered at affordable prices. Scholarships are awarded to talented homeless and underserved children along with support for well-rounded learning.
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.