New York City Center has played a defining role in the cultural life of the city for more than 60 years. It was Manhattan's first performing arts center, dedicated by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in 1943 with a mission to make the best in music, theater and dance accessible to all audiences. The New York City Ballet and New York City Opera were both born at New York City Center, and Leonard Bernstein led the short-lived New York Symphony here.

Today, City Center is home to many distinguished companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club and the Pearl Theatre Company; a roster of renowned national and international visiting artists; and its own programs, such as the Tony-honored Encores! musical theater series, now in its 18th season.

Dance has been integral to the theater's mission from the start, and dance programs—including the annual Fall for Dance Festival and a partnership with London's Sadler's Wells Theatre—remain central to City Center's identity.

City Center is dedicated to providing educational opportunities to New York City students and teachers with programs such as Encores! in Schools and the Young People's Dance Series. Special workshops cater to families, seniors and other groups, while events such as the Fall for Dance DanceTalk series offer learning opportunities to the general public.

Constructed in the 1920s as a Shriners' auditorium, the building was designed by Harry P. Knowles and the firm of Clinton & Russell. New York City Center has a mosque-like exterior dome and neo-Moorish designs both inside and out. Equilateral arches on its façade are clad in glazed tiles. It was designated a historical landmark in the 1970s.

Programs for Seniors
Innovative workshops can be crafted for seniors and other special groups that express an interest in collaborating with City Center.



New York City Center hosts many engagements throughout the season, from international and domestic dance companies to theatrical events and musical theater. Family attendance is highly encouraged at most performances. For a current performance schedule and more specific family-oriented programming information, call CityTix at (212) 581-1212 or visit


Education at New York City Center utilizes the performing arts as a resource to ignite the imagination and promote deep engagement in the teaching and learning processes. World-renowned artists who perform on our mainstage communicate their unique aesthetic and cultural contributions to stimulate knowledge, appreciation and creativity.

Each year City Center reaches nearly 6,000 students, Kindergarten to grade 12, through dance and musical theater performances and in-school performance workshops. In-depth residencies engage young people in building technical and expressive skills, personal voice, and collaborative spirit. Residencies culminate with student showcases of works-in-progress, in the schools and at the City Center studios. Master classes and open rehearsals are offered to high school and university students. Innovative workshops are crafted for families, seniors and other special groups that express an interest in collaborating with City Center.

City Center’s education programs address the NYC Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts, as well as the New York State Standards in the Arts, English Language Arts and Social Studies. Diverse professional development opportunities enable classroom teachers, arts specialists, administrators, and teaching artists to focus on the styles, genres and cultures of a particular work of art from the current New York City Center season. For more information about our programs, please contact New York City Center's Education Department. Please e-mail our Development Office to find out how your contribution can help make these programs possible.