N.Y. City Ballet to celebrate the works of Balanchine

April 09, 1992|By Jennifer Dunning | Jennifer Dunning,New York Times News Service

NEW YORK -- George Balanchine, whose choreography helped shape the ballet of the 20th century, is to be honored with an eight-week Balanchine Celebration by the New York City Ballet in spring 1993 at the New York State Theater.

Seventy-two Balanchine ballets will be performed, ranging from the 1928 "Apollo" to the 1981 Garland Dance from "The Sleeping Beauty."

The festival will mark the 10th anniversary of Balanchine's death.

"What we want to do is to make you remember his variety and his profligate gifts," Lincoln Kirstein, who founded the City Ballet with Balanchine, said at a news conference Monday night at the State Theater in Manhattan. "We're not going to attempt to make an 'authentic' revival of anything. Balanchine changed his choreography from year to year in relation to the dancers. We're going to try to do what we consider he would have liked for himself."

The festival will open May 4.

Many of the ballets to be presented are in the City Ballet's current repertory, but the festival roster will also include the less familiar "Symphonie Concertante" (1947), "Bourree Fantasque" (1949), "Sylvia Pas de Deux" (1950), the Minkus "Pas de Trois Classique" (1951), the Glinka "Pas de Trois" (1955) and excerpts from "Don Quixote" (1965).

"I think this must be the most ambitious thing we've ever done," said Peter Martins, the director of the City Ballet. "Why are we doing this? Like Balanchine would say, 'Why not?'"

The ballets will be presented by decade, though not consecutively within each decade. There will be three performances of each ballet, and the company plans to offer subscriptions for some groups of dances, such as the Balanchine-Stravinsky collaborations.

"I can't really tell you a price tag," Martins said, "because there isn't one yet."

Additional festival events, including exhibitions, lectures and videotaping projects, are being discussed with the Dance Collection of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Society for Russian Art and Culture, New York University, Channel 13 and Elektra-Nonesuch Recordings.

This will be City Ballet's sixth such celebration since 1972, when Balanchine staged the one-week Stravinsky Festival.

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