Diana Byer: The Art Nouveau style inspired the design of the production.
Dance Mogul: With this type of production it would seem like the dancers have alot more responsibility , for example, things like wardrobe changes . How does one prepare for such a role on this level?
Diana Byer: The dancers help each other and we have someone backstage who also helps with quick costume changes. Quick changes are staged just as the choreography is staged. This way nothing is left to chance and each dancer knows who is helping them and each person helping with a fast change knows exactly what to do and how much time they have before the dancer needs to go on stage.
Dance Mogul: How do you continue to get your vision across to the next generation?
Diana Byer: With ballets that inspire, excite and educate. NYTB presents ballets in intimate theaters so the theatrical experience is up close and personal. Therefore children become a part of the story being told. At each performance the Artistic Director introduces someone from behind the scenes, including the lighting designer, Stage Manager, music director, costume designer etc. and discusses what they contribute to the performance.
Dance Mogul: Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping on the production?
Diana Byer: Thank you to Macy’s, State Street and The Department of Cultural Affairs for making Once Upon A Ballet possible.
New York Theatre Ballet presents the 2014-15 series of Once Upon a Ballet, which will includes four, hour-long family ballets: Keith Michael’s The Nutcracker (December 19-21, 2015), Cinderella (February 6-8, 2015), GOOSE! (March 6-8, 2015), and Carnival of the Animals (June 5-7, 2015). All performances take place at Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street, NYC. Tickets are $35 for Children and $40 Adults; Subscriptions run from $90 to $140. Tickets and series subscriptions are available online www.nytb.org or via email at [email protected], or by mailing an order form (available online) with check or credit card information to New York Theatre Ballet, 131 East 10th Street, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10003.
“For all their childlike wonder, most story ballets don’t cater to the average kid’s attention span. With its long-running Once Upon a Ballet Series, New York Theater Ballet consolidates the classics into hour-long productions for the under-10 crowd and puts parents’ minds at ease.”
– The New York Times
Keith Michael’s The Nutcracker – December 19-21, 2014
New York Theatre Ballet (NYTB) returns for a fourth year of Keith Michael’s The Nutcracker, an enchanting holiday ballet. From clockwork imps to a luminous owl that flies above the audience, mice dressed in polka dots and dancers dancing with huge chopsticks, this timeless, re-imagined classic bursts with energy and excitement. This holiday ballet, danced to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, is set in Art Nouveau style circa 1907 with innovative choreography by long-time NYTB choreographer, Keith Michael, and costumes by Resident Costume Designer of the Metropolitan Opera, Sylvia Nolan.
“One of the most kid-friendly around!” – The New York Times
Cinderella – February 7-8, 2015
With a Dancing Clock, wacky Stepsisters and everyone’s favorite princess, Cinderella features choreography by Donald Mahler, costumes by Metropolitan Opera’s Resident Costume Designer, Sylvia Taalsohn Nolan and sets by Gillian Bradshaw Smith. Appropriate for girls and boys of all ages.
GOOSE! – March 7-8, 2015
The wit, wisdom, and whimsy of a lively baker’s dozen of Mother Goose characters. They literally leap from the page to the stage to stir the imagination of the young and the young-at-heart, just as they have for centuries!
Carnival of the Animals – June 6-7, 2015
In a magical forest, Queen Diana and her shaggy lion rule a charming assortment of animals who live more or less peaceably until a pair of lost children wander in, and then the fun begins! Choreography by Beth Storey Taylor.
“The most endearing and engaging part of the show happened … during a prelude led by the company’s artistic director, Diana Byer. In an effort to acquaint young audiences with the behind-the-scenes work of putting on a ballet, Ms. Byer invited her animated production manager, Pepper Fajans, to demonstrate the meticulous art of marking the stage to indicate where props and dancers should go. This also served as a basic math lesson, as Mr. Fajans divided the floor into halves and quarters with bits of colored tape. Ms. Byer then ushered out five “dancing examples” (children from New York Theater Ballet’s school) to show how this task helps to organize bodies in a given space. My 8-year-old companion never seemed more enthralled than when other kids her age arrived onstage, dutifully arranging themselves into a diagonal, a triangle, a square. Their simple, swift and spirited performance, more relatable than any fairy tale, was hard to top.” – The New York Times
ABOUT NEW YORK THEATRE BALLET
New York Theatre Ballet (NYTB), founded in 1978 by artistic director Diana Byer, is the most widely seen chamber ballet company in the United States and has been hailed by The New York Times as “an invaluable company.” NYTB is dedicated to inspiring a love of dance in diverse audiences through performances of chamber ballet masterpieces and bold new works, as well as innovative one-hour ballets for children, all at affordable prices.
By pairing the ballets of legendary creators with those of contemporary visionaries, NYTB brings a new understanding and appreciation of dance. The approach to live performance for children is groundbreaking and unique. New York Theatre Ballet offers an annual series of hour-long ballets tailored to the attention span of young audience members, while offering high production values and clever choreography sophisticated enough for discerning parents.
NYTB is committed to reaching underserved audiences by performing in small cities throughout the U.S. Its professional school provides ballet training based on the Cecchetti syllabus. Classes are offered at affordable prices. Scholarships are awarded to talented homeless and underserved children along with support for well-rounded learning.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
Additional support provided by Macy’s and State Street.