The New York City Ballet is a world-class ballet company with performances in Europe, Taiwan, Sicily, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, Australia, Russia, and major American and Canadian cities. The company was founded Lincoln Kirstein, who wanted to create a school where American dancers could be taught the best ballet teachers in the world. Instead of relying on touring groups of foreign dance stars, he aspired to form a company that would perform contemporary works.
In 1933, Kirstein enlisted the help of George Balanchine, a Russian choreographer, to open a school for American dancers. They formed a short-lived company called American Ballet two years later. Kirstein fought in World War II after the demise of American Ballet, while Balanchine worked as a choreographer for the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.
The two men returned to their dream of forming an American dance company after the war. They founded The Ballet Society in 1946. The name of the company was changed to the New York City Ballet in 1948. Despite early setbacks, the school and company thrived and continue to exist today.
The company developed an undeniably American style under George Balanchine’s influence. This style blended Russian, Italian, and French ballet traditions with the austerity of emotions and musicality associated with the United States. As a result, the New York City Ballet has become one of the world’s most renowned dance companies.
Every year, the New York City Ballet performs for 23 weeks. The New York State Theater, which first opened its doors on April 24, 1964, hosts the ballet performances. The Saratoga Performing Arts Center, also in New York, has been its summer theater since 1966.
The company has about 90 dancers and is the largest dance company in the United States. It has about 150 ballets in its repertoire, the majority of which were choreographed George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Martins. Maria Tallchief, André Eglevsky, Melissa Hayden, Todd Bolender, Suzanne Farrell, Edward Villella, and Jacques d’Amboise are just a few of the famous former New York City Ballet dancers. Balanchine’s ideals and groundbreaking ballets are both preserved the company.
The School of American Ballet is the official school of the New York City Ballet, and it is dedicated to training dancers in the NYCB style. The Samuel B. and David Rose Building at Lincoln Center houses the school. The prestigious ballet academy enrolls about 350 students from all over the United States and the world.
Balanchine was the company’s president until his death in 1983. His successors, Peter Martins and Jerome Robbins, were named co-ballet masters in chief. By 1990, Robbins had stepped down as ballet master in chief, leaving Martins as the sole ballet master in chief.