In the 1930s ballet enthusiast Lincoln Kirstein decided to promote the idea of an American ballet company that would train its own American dancers and be on a par with celebrated European companies. He met the legendary choreographer George Balanchine in 1933 and brought him to New York to help found the company in 1948.
Balanchine's innovative, neoclassical choreography and singular vision for the ballet are at the heart of New York City Ballet. His legacy runs through the teaching methods of the School of American Ballet and through his repertory of more than 125 works. The New York City Ballet also performs works by celebrated choreographers Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins (its current director) and others.
Now half a century old, the New York City Ballet performs in the Philip Johnson-designed David H. Koch Theater, and has a season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center each summer and at venues around the world. The company is committed to adding at least four new ballets each year in order to maintain the vitality and distinction of its repertory.
New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Wendy Whelan interview:
Wendy Whelan has danced with the company since 1984. In this 2011 interview from the audio archive of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Whelan speaks frankly about the heartbreak that led to a transformation in her dancing at age 30, partnering with Jock Soto and working with choreographer and former NYCB soloist Christopher Wheeldon.
Tickets for the company's annual holiday event, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, which runs throughout December, go on sale in early fall, and sell out quickly, so order early. The company also offers the Discovery Matinee and Family Matinee series with repertory pieces and story ballets specifically chosen for children. The New Generation Series offers more contemporary repertory selections likely to appeal to young adults. Note that for performances other than family programs and The Nutcracker, children must be at least five years of age to be admitted to performances.
High school students can purchase $12 student rush tickets with valid student ID and proof of age. Rush tickets (2 per person maximum) are subject to availability and must be purchased on the day of the performance either online or at the box office. Availability is posted on Monday on the NYCB Web site and stated on the rush ticket hotline (212) 870-7766.
New York City Ballet welcomes school groups to its general performances and offers discount rates as well as educational activities to groups of 20 or more through the Group Sales Office. Student Rush tickets are available to high school and college students.The Education Department also offers a variety of presentations for audience members as well as curricular programs for schools.
Theater Tours: A behind-the-scenes look at the New York City Ballet and the New York State Theater (tours may be available in certain foreign languages).
The Nutcracker Project: A workshop and performance program for New York City public elementary schools.
Ballet Bridges: An interdisciplanary curriculum program, which includes company performances, that is offered to public elementary and middle schools.
Call the NYCB Education Department for details about these and other programs; if interested in the Nutcracker Project, contact your Regional Arts Supervisor directly.
Programs for Teachers
The New York City Ballet Workout program trains high school dance and physical education teachers who offer the workout in their classes.
- Program Location: At facility only
- Program Season: Nov-Feb and April-June
- Fees: General admission; discounts for groups of 20 or more; special programs: ticket price plus $5 per person