CoppéliaHighlights Include 35th Anniversary of Balanchine's Coppélia; One-Act Story Ballets  Swan Lake and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue; and the Saratoga Premieres of Melissa Barak's A Simple Symphony, a New Work by NYCB Principal Dancer Benjamin Millepied and Peter Martins' Papillons

Saratoga Springs, NY (March 12, 2009) - Saratoga Performing Arts Center announced today that its 2009 Season of New York City Ballet, July 7-18, will feature 20 different ballets, including three performances of full-length story ballet Coppélia, a work partially commissioned by SPAC that had its world premiere on SPAC's stage in 1974. Other highlights include George Balanchine's Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, the centerpiece of the July 11 Ballet Gala, and the one-act Swan Lake. The season will also feature the Saratoga premieres of new works by Benjamin Millepied and Melissa Barak. New York City Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins' 1994 work Papillons will also have its first ever performance at SPAC.

"We are proud and excited to announce New York City Ballet's 2009 season today. The program the Company is bringing to Saratoga is one that will remind audiences of why New York City Ballet is the foremost dance company in the world. Especially significant is the return of COPPÉLIA to SPAC's stage - the place where it had its world premiere 35 years ago. This beloved classic is a theatrical event families and fans of all ages will enjoy. The remainder of the repertoire is tremendously rich and diverse, showcasing the full range of ballet, from classical, to neoclassical to contemporary. It's truly a season with something for everyone," said Marcia J. White, SPAC's President & Executive Director. One of the most beloved ballets in the classical repertoire, Coppélia, a 19th century comedic  classic, is an adaptation of The Sandman, a story written by the German Romanticist, E.T.A. Hoffman, almost 200 years ago. The ballet, celebrating its 35th Anniversary this year, was partially commissioned by SPAC in 1974 and choreographed by George Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova. Called one of the "happiest ballets in existence," it tells the story of an eccentric inventor and the lifelike doll he creates. The work is visually stunning, with storybook sets and a cast of 24 dancing children. The corps of child dancers for the performance will be dance students from in and around the Capital Region. Auditions for these roles will be announced at a later date. In addition to Coppélia, the New York City Ballet's SPAC season also features three one-act narrative ballets including: SWAN LAKE - Balanchine's version of the ballet is a moving work of romance and tragedy set to Tschaikovsky's famous score.  This Swan Lake incorporates many of the classic work's famous set pieces, as well as completely original choreography by Balanchine and has been called "an exceptionally rich experience."  ROMEO AND JULIET - Set to music by Sergei Prokofiev, Sean Lavery's work brings to life one of the most romantic scenes in literature -  the balcony scene between Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. SLAUGHTER ON TENTH AVENUE - Balanchine originally choreographed Slaughter on  Tenth Avenue in 1936 for the musical On Your Toes. The ballet, actually a story within a story, involves a romantic triangle between a dance hall girl, the customer who falls in love with her and her jealous boyfriend.  The ballet has not been performed at SPAC since 1991. Other works on the 2009 program that have not been performed for Saratoga audiences in several years include: SCOTCH SYMPHONY, last performed at SPAC in 1997, in a major revival featuring  a new set design by Karin von Aroldingen, a former NYCB principal dancer and current ballet master; THEME AND VARIATIONS, a Balanchine ballet, which has been said to evoke "that great period in classical dancing when Russian ballet flourished with the aid of  Tschaikovsky's music," and last performed at SPAC in 2001; and Robbins' OTHER DANCES, set to music by Chopin, this extended pas de deux originally choreographed for Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Makarova has not been seen on SPAC's stage since 1988. The season also includes the Saratoga premiere of three ballets, including Melissa Barak's new work, A SIMPLE SYMPHONY which the New York City Ballet premiered on February 17 at the David H. Koch Theater. The work is the third that Barak has created for the company. Choreographed to Benjamin Britten's Simple Symphony, the dance has a romantic and lively flavor. Barak, a former New York City Ballet dancer, is a soloist with the Los Angeles Ballet and has choreographed more than 10 ballets. Also part of the Saratoga program is a new work by New York City Ballet principal dancer Benjamin Millepied that will have its world premiere in New York this spring. Millepied joined New York City Ballet in 1995, rising to the rank of principal dancer in 2002. Although this will be his first work for New York City Ballet, he has also made ballets for American Ballet Theatre, the Paris Opera Ballet, the School of American Ballet Workshop, and Grand Théâtre de Genève, among others.   Peter Martins' PAPILLONS, which had its debut in 1994, will be performed at SPAC for the first time during the 2009 season. Set to Schumann piano pieces and performed by four dancers, prior to NYCB's 2009 winter season, Papillons was only performed on one previous occasion, at a Dancers' Emergency Fund Benefit in 1994.   Also announced were several pre-performance events that will occur during the Ballet's season.   The pre-events are free and open to all ticketholders for that evening's ballet performance. The events include: American Girl Night, July 15 - One of last year's biggest hits, this event sponsored by Emma Willard School will feature tea parties, crafts and giveaways from the American Girl Place in New York City. Lawn admission for children 12 and under is $5 this evening to benefit SPAC's educational Vivienne Anderson children's program.          Thursday Date Nights, July 9, 16 - Upscale beer and wine tastings and other events for couples. Friday Family Nights, July 10, 17 - Children and families can enjoy free Stewart's ice cream, strolling magicians, face painting and more, before the Ballet's Friday evening performances. "The silver lining in our current economic challenges is that people are refocusing on what truly matters - family, friends and special times shared together. There is no better place for creating those wonderful summer memories than SPAC. Our combination of world-class music and dance, gorgeous state park setting, and innovative pre-performance events offer families more value, enjoyment and quality time than virtually any other entertainment option. This year, more than ever, people need the magic of SPAC in their summer and in their lives," White concluded. Order forms for tickets to New York City Ballet's SPAC season are available on SPAC's website at http://www.spac.org/ or by contacting SPAC at 518-584-9330. Tickets will be available for purchase online, via phone charge at 518-584-9330 and in-person at SPAC's Route 50 Box Office beginning Sunday, May 10 at noon. 2009 New York City Ballet SPAC Season, July 7 - 18 New York City Ballet matinee performances start at 2:00 p.m. and evening performances at 8:00 p.m. in the Amphitheatre. FOUNDERS: George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein FOUNDING CHOREOGRAPHERS: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins BALLET MASTER IN CHIEF: Peter Martins

July 7 - 8:00 p.m.

RUSSIAN MUSIC MASTERS

Mercurial Manoeuvres (Shostakovich/Wheeldon) Romeo and Juliet pas de deux (Prokofiev/Lavery) Symphony in Three Movements (Stravinsky/Balanchine) Theme and Variations (Tschaikovsky/Balanchine)

July 14 - 8:00 p.m.

MIXED REP, BALANCHINE, MILLEPIED

Swan Lake (Tschaikovsky/Balanchine) New Millepied Ballet (Gorecki/Millepied) The Four Temperaments (Hindemith/Balanchine)

 

July 8 - 8:00 p.m.

FOUNDING CHOREOGRAPHERS, BALANCHINE & ROBBINS Concerto Barocco (Bach/Balanchine) The Cage (Stravinsky/Robbins) Other Dances (Chopin/Robbins) Firebird (Stravinsky/Balanchine and Robbins)

July 15 - 8:00 p.m.

COPPÉLIA - 35TH ANNIVERSARY

Coppélia (Delibes/Balanchine and Danilova, after Petipa)

American Girl Night

July 9 - 2:00 p.m.

RUSSIAN MUSIC MASTERS

Mercurial Manoeuvres (Shostakovich/Wheeldon) Romeo and Juliet pas de deux (Prokofiev/Lavery) Symphony in Three Movements (Stravinsky/Balanchine) Theme and Variations (Tschaikovsky/Balanchine)

July 16 - 2:00 p.m.

MIXED REP, BALANCHINE, MARTINS, BARAK Scotch Symphony (Mendelssohn/Balanchine) Hallelujah Junction (Adams/Martins) A Simple Symphony (Britten/Barak) The Four Temperaments (Hindemith/Balanchine)

 

July 9 - 8:00 p.m.

MIXED REP, BALANCHINE, ROBBINS, MARTINS

Concerto Barocco (Bach/Balanchine) The Cage (Stravinsky/Robbins) Papillons (Schumann/Martins) Theme and Variations (Tschaikovsky/Balanchine)

Thursday Date Night

July 16 - 8:00 p.m.

MIXED REP, BALANCHINE, MILLEPIED

Swan Lake (Tschaikovsky/Balanchine) New Millepied Ballet (Gorecki/Millepied) The Four Temperaments (Hindemith/Balanchine)

Thursday Date Night

 

July 10 - 8:00 p.m.

FOUNDING CHOREOGRAPHERS, BALANCHINE & ROBBINS Donizetti Variations (Donizetti/Balanchine) The Cage (Stravinsky/Robbins) Other Dances (Chopin/Robbins) Firebird (Stravinsky/Balanchine and Robbins)

Friday Family Night

 

July 17 - 8:00 p.m.

COPPÉLIA - 35th ANNIVERSARY

Coppélia (Delibes/Balanchine and Danilova, after Petipa)

Friday Family Night

July 11 - 2:00 p.m.

MIXED REP, BALANCHINE, LAVERY, MARTINS

Donizetti Variations (Donizetti/Balanchine) Romeo and Juliet pas de deux (Prokofiev/Lavery) Papillons (Schumann/Martins) Symphony in Three Movements (Stravinsky/Balanchine)

 

July 18 - 2:00 p.m.

COPPÉLIA - 35th ANNIVERSARY

Coppélia (Delibes/Balanchine and Danilova, after Petipa)

 

July 11 - 8:00 p.m.

THE BALLET GALA - AMERICANA

Stars and Stripes (Sousa/Balanchine) Hallelujah Junction (Adams/Martins) Tarantella (Gottschalk, reconstructed and orchestrated by Kay/Balanchine) Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (Rodgers/Balanchine)

Fireworks after the performance

 

July 18 - 8:00 p.m.

MIXED REP, BALANCHINE, BARAK, ROBBINS

Scotch Symphony (Mendelssohn/Balanchine) A Simple Symphony (Britten/Barak) Other Dances (Chopin/Robbins) Symphony in Three Movements (Stravinsky/Balanchine)

Fireworks after the performance

Contact: Shane Williams-Ness, 518.584.9330 ext. 116, shane@spac.org or Lisa Hill, 518.584.9330 ext. 119, lhill@spac.org