In November, Lincoln Center announced that three of the world's biggest companies—New York City Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet—would present a collaborative performance of George Balanchine's Jewels July 20–23 in honor of the ballet's 50th anniversary. Each company will take an act, with the Paris Opéra performing "Emeralds" and NYCB and the Bolshoi alternating performances of "Rubies" and "Diamonds." Yesterday, Lincoln Center finally announced what we've all been waiting for: the all-star cast list. (As well as rising stars–Alena Kovaleva and Jacopo Tissi, two young Bolshoi corps members, are slated to dance the leads in "Diamonds" for one performance.) Check out the list below this trailer!
The 11 facets of the Lincoln Center campus are an enormous cultural asset to New York City, and the world. Taken individually, New York City Ballet, School of American Ballet, The Juilliard School, The Chamber Music Society, Film Society, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Lincoln Center Theater, The Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts offer incredible programming and advancement for the arts, appreciated by approximately six million people annually. But it's unusual for all 11 organizations to work together for a specific cause, and today they did just that.
In an open letter, these leading arts organizations laid out their case for continued funding through the National Endowment for the Arts. The Trump administration has recently threatened to dismantle government funding for the arts, including the NEA. They point to the fact that art not only touches people's souls in an essential, yet unquantifiable way, but also offers concrete, measurable benefits—such as art therapy for veterans and new business investment in neighborhoods. The letter reiterates that the NEA costs each American tax payer less than one dollar per year, a statistic backed up by multiple sources.
Interestingly, Lincoln Center organizations receive far more funding from private donors than from public funding, yet the institution still feels that it's important to preserve the NEA. The letter states:
"Government helps in targeted ways at pivotal moments, for example, by providing early funding to get projects off the ground or helping to create or expand promising initiatives to achieve greater reach and impact. [...] But because it is so successful and its imprimatur so prestigious, every dollar the NEA contributes leads to nine additional dollars being donated from other sources." [Emphasis ours.]
It's heartening to see major institutions, which don't lack in donor support, point out that smaller groups live and die by small grants from the NEA. While Lincoln Center certainly won't fold due to government budget cuts, thousands of smaller organizations very well could—including regional dance companies, new choreography projects and funding for residencies. And the 11 organizations at Lincoln Center think American society will be worse off for such a loss.
No matter how jaded us New Yorkers get, visiting Lincoln Center can be downright magical. The stunning fountain, the lights on the balcony of the Koch Theater—it all adds up to let you know you're in a place where art is important. If you've always wanted to peel back the proverbial curtain on one of the city's art meccas, now's your chance. You can follow New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild, or watch a class at the School of American Ballet, during Lincoln Center's first ever Day in the Life broadcast. The live stream will happen on October 7 via Facebook Live, giving us just enough time to recover from World Ballet Day before we binge again.
The program will feature all 11 performing arts organizations that complete the Lincoln Center campus. Balletomanes will of course be familiar with The Metropolitan Opera (where American Ballet Theatre performs), New York City Ballet at the Koch Theater and School of American Ballet. But Lincoln Center also includes The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School, Lincoln Center Theater, Lincoln Ristorante, New York Philharmonic and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts! This incredible lineup will be featured through a series of interviews and day-in-the-life episodes.
We can't wait!
For so many dancers, The Nutcracker is how they get their first glimpse of the ballet world. And for audiences who flock to the theater year after year to see their favorite version, it always somehow manages to keep its magical quality.
Today, Lincoln Center will bring a little of that holiday magic to approximately 400,000 members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, with a broadcast of New York City Ballet's George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. The production was originally released as part of the new Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance series (which also brought performances by San Francisco Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ballet Hispanico to the big screen this year).
Now, it will be broadcast via the American Forces Network to military bases all over the world—everywhere from Afghanistan and Iraq to the Philippines and Japan—and on Naval ships outside U.S. waters. The film will feature a behind-the-scenes segment and online interactive guide in addition to the performance, and will bring some comfort and seasonal spirit to those who are far away from home.
Sometimes we forget how much our performances mean to people. Next time you feel like you can’t possibly dance the snow scene one more time, it's worth thinking about the people you're bringing joy to every time you step onstage. Happy holidays!