Taylor Stanley with members of NYCB in George Balanchine's Apollo

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

NYCB Launches Digital Spring Season Featuring Daily Online Programming

The opening night of a New York City Ballet season is always exciting: Audience members mill about Lincoln Center's plaza, buzzing with energy, anticipating seeing their favorite ballets and dancers back onstage. The company's spring season, scheduled to run April 21-May 29 was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. But today, NYCB announced an exciting replacement: a six-week long digital season designed to give balletomanes a taste of the company's magic, for free, from the confines of their homes.

NYCB's digital season includes new content released Monday through Saturday. Check out the weekly schedule below for a taste of the online programming to come.


Monday

Each Monday, fans can continue to tune into City Ballet The Podcast. A new nine-episode season, featuring NYCB dancers Silas Farley, Claire Kretzschmar and Aaron Sanz in conversation with their colleagues and former company dancers (including Patricia McBride on George Balanchine's "Rubies"), launches April 20. The first episode is all about music: NYCB resident conductor Daniel Capps explores Tchaikovsky's score for Allegro Brillante.

City Ballet The Podcast is available at podcast.nycballet.com and on all podcasting platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Radio Public.

Wendy Whelan, in an orange t shirt, leans against the barre and mirror in a ballet studio.

Associate artistic director Wendy Whelan teaching class

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

Tuesday

Tuesdays and Fridays are the digital season's pièce de résistance. Twice a week through May 29, the company will release a ballet performance at 8 pm EDT. Curated by Jonathan Stafford, Wendy Whelan and Justin Peck, the programs showcase footage taken during recent seasons, and will be available for free online for 72 hours. The Tuesday showings are entirely devoted to NYCB's co-founding choreographers, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.

The first installment, available April 21, is a 2017 recording of Allegro Brillante, starring Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette, with an introduction by Stafford. Next Tuesday, April 28, viewers can see Taylor Stanley, Tiler Peck, Brittany Pollack and Indiana Woodward in a 2019 performance of Apollo.

Virtual performances will be available on NYCB's website, YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Wednesday

Have you ever dreamt of taking a class taught by former NYCB prima Wendy Whelan, but felt intimidated? Then Wednesday With Wendy is for you. NYCB launches its new series of open level ballet-inspired movement classes, taught by the company's associate artistic director, on April 22. Tune in every Wednesday at 5 pm EDT.

Classes will be available on NYCB's Instagram TV channel.

Sara Mearns in a deep lunge on pointe, supported by Gilbert Bolden

Sara Mearns and Gilbert Bolden III in Justin Peck's Rotunda

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

Thursday

April 23 at 6 pm EDT marks NYCB's first Ballet Essentials movement workshop, created by the company's education department. Taught by company artists, these 45-minute workshops are designed for teenage and adult dancers, providing a chance to learn some of the company's most beloved repertoire. Each workshop will include a ballet warm-up and movement combination inspired by the choreography. First up, soloist Lauren King explores Balanchine's Serenade. Additional workshops may also be available on Mondays.

Workshops are free, but registration is required. Visit balletessentials.nycballet.com for details.

Friday

Settle into your weekend with the second virtual performance of the week, available each Friday at 8 pm EDT. While Tuesdays are devoted mostly to Balanchine and Robbins, Fridays are contemporary, exploring some of the company's most cutting-edge repertoire. The April 24 showing features Justin Peck's 2020 Rotunda, to a commissioned score by Nico Muhly. On May 1, audiences can see a 2016 performance of George Balanchine's Ballo Della Regina, danced by Megan Fairchild and Anthony Huxley, and Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain Pas de Deux, filmed in 2012 and starring Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall.

Virtual performances will be available for 72 hours on NYCB's website, YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Silas Farley leads class to a group of children in a studio. He stands with his arms in front of him.

NYCB dancer Silas Farley leads a workshop for children.

Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy NYCB

Saturday

Each Saturday morning at 11 am EDT, the company will present Ballet Breaks, a six-week series of movement activities for kiddos ages 3 to 8. Each session, taught by an NYCB dancer, will be 20 minutes long, and include a warm-up and choreography inspired by company rep. On April 25, baby bunheads can dance along with principal Daniel Ulbricht as he explores Jerome Robbins' Fancy Free.

Workshops are free, but registration is required. Visit nycballet.com/balletbreaks for details.

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Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

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Dara Holmes, Joffrey Ballet

A male dancer catches a female dancer in his right arm as she wraps her left arm around his shoulder and executes a high arabesque on pointe. Both wear white costumes and dance in front of a blue backdrop onstage.

Dara Holmes and Edson Barbosa in Myles Thatcher's Body of Your Dreams

Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

Wanyue Qiao, American Ballet Theatre

Wearing a powder blue tutu, cropped light yellow top and feather tiara, Wanyue Qiao does a piqu\u00e9 retir\u00e9 on pointe on her left leg and pulls her right arm in towards her.

Wanyue Qiao as an Odalisque in Konstantin Sergeyev's Le Corsaire

Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson, Houston Ballet

Three male dancers in tight-fitting, multicolored costumes stand in positions of ascending height from left to right. All extend their right arms out in front of them.

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson (far right) with Saul Newport and Austen Acevedo in Oliver Halkowich's Following

Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

Leah McFadden, Colorado Ballet

Wearing a white pixie wig and a short light-pink tunic costume, a female ballet dancer poses in attitude front on pointe with her left arm bent across her ribs and her right hand held below her chin.

Leah McFadden as Amour in Colorado Ballet's production of Don Quixote

Mike Watson, Courtesy Colorado Ballet

Maria Coelho, Tulsa Ballet

Maria Coelho and Sasha Chernjavsky in Andy Blankenbuehler's Remember Our Song

Kate Lubar, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

Alexander Reneff-Olson, San Francisco Ballet

A ballerina in a black feathered tutu stands triumphantly in sous-sus, holding the hand of a male dancer in a dark cloak with feathers underneath who raises his left hand in the air.

Alexander Reneff-Olson (right) as Von Rothbart with San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan in Swan Lake

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

India Bradley, New York City Ballet

Wearing a blue dance dress with rhinestone embellishments and a sparkly tiara, India Bradley finishes a move with her arms out to the side and hands slightly flexed.

India Bradley practices backstage before a performance of Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2.

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

Bella Ureta, Cincinnati Ballet

Wearing a white dress with pink corset, Bella Ureta does a first arabesque on pointe in front of an onstage stone wall.

Bella Ureta performs the Act I Pas de Trois in Kirk Peterson's Swan Lake

Hiromi Platt, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

Alejándro Gonzales, Oklahoma City Ballet

Dressed in a green bell-boy costume and hat, Alejandro Gonz\u00e1lez does a saut\u00e9 with his left leg in retir\u00e9 and his arms in a long diagonal from right to left. Other dancers in late 19-century period costumes watch him around the stage.

Alejandro González in Michael Pink's Dracula at Oklahoma City Ballet.

Kate Luber, Courtesy Oklahoma City Ballet

Nina Fernandes, Miami CIty Ballet

Wearing a long white tutu and crown, Nina Fernandes does a saut de chat in front of a wintery backdrop as snow falls from the top of the stage.

Nina Fernandes in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Miami City Ballet

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Ballet West Academy's New Director on Dream Building During COVID-19

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

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This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

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