Following the company's Opening Night Benefit (November 21) and annual holiday presentation of The Nutcracker (November 24 through December 30), City Ballet begins its usual eight-week winter repertory season (January 3-February 25). The change is the creation of 11 distinct evenings of ballet, each performed three to five times over a period of about two weeks, rather than varying programs that present shorter works in different combinations from night to night.
As yesterday's report in The New York Times explains it, the NYCB has traditionally programmed its repertory seasons by mixing and matching selections from a pool of shorter ballets, with each evening being somewhat different: Balanchine's Serenade, for instance, might be performed alongside his Agon one evening and Duo Concertante or Mozartiana three days later.
The 2007 winter season, by contrast, will feature 10 set programs with such themes as "Stravinsky and Balanchine: An Eternal Partnership," "Tribute to Kirstein," "Jerome Robbins: An American Icon" and "For the Fun of It."
NYCB ballet-master-in-chief Peter Martins told the Times that the change in programming approach is "an attempt to sort of be relevant to today's market, addressing today's audiences and their needs." He explained that, according to the company's research, themed evenings would be easier to market and have more appeal to an audience pool that seems to be gradually abandoning subscriptions in favor of _-la-carte single-ticket purchases.
According to the Times, Martins stressed that the new programming approach would be particularly helpful to ballet newcomers: "It's about giving them context, the audiences, to really explain to them, 'If you buy this program, this is what you will see,' "
New York City Ballet — 2007 Winter Season
January 3-February 25 — New York State Theater, Lincoln Center
The Sleeping Beauty — Before launching its mixed programs, City Ballet will give 13 performances of Peter Martins's version of the Tchaikovsky classic from January 3-14.
"Stravinsky and Balanchine: An Eternal Partnership" — Agon, Monumentum pro Gesualdo, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, Duo Concertant and Symphony in Three Movements (five performances, January 16-28).
"Tradition and Innovation" — Balanchine's Mozartiana and Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 and Mauro Bigonzetti's 2006 work In Vento (four performances, January 17-26).
"Jerome Robbins: An American Icon" — Two- and Three-Part Inventions, A Suite of Dances, In Memory of ... and I'm Old Fashioned (three performances, January 20-24).
"Tribute to Kirstein" — A celebration of the 100th birthday of NYCB's co-founder, featuring Christopher d'Amboise's Tribute (2005) and Balanchine's Episodes and Vienna Waltzes (five performances, January 27-February 8).
"Essential Balanchine" — Square Dance, Liebeslieder Walzer and Stars and Stripes (four performances, January 30-February 10).
"Balanchine and Robbins: Masters at Work" — Robbins's Dybbuk (in its original 1974 version), Balanchine's Serenade and Stravinsky Violin Concerto (four performances, February 2-10).
"Contemporary Quartet" — Christopher Wheeldon's Carousel (A Dance) (2002), Eliot Feld's Intermezzo No. 1 (1969), Jorma Elo's Slice to Sharp (2006) and Peter Martins's Friandises (2006) (four performances February 9-21).
"Visionary Voices" — Wheeldon's Klavier (2006), Alexei Ratmansky's Russian Seasons (2006) and Balanchine's The Four Temperaments (four performances February 13-22).
"For the Fun of It" — Robbins's Circus Polka, Balanchine's Walpurgisnacht Ballet, Martins's Jeu de Cartes and the legendary Balanchine/Robbins/Stravinsky/Chagall Firebird (four performances February 14-25).
"A Banquet of Dance" — Balanchine's Raymonda Variations, Robbins's Afternoon of a Faun and Antique Epigraphs, Wheeldon's Evenfall (2006) (four performances February 16-24).