Hear from New York City Ballet soloist Sara Adams

Dancers ballet

The celebrated New York City Ballet (NYCB) is set to make its highly anticipated debut at Sadler’s Wells in March 2024, showcasing an array of works that signal both a nod to its storied past and a leap into the future. Among the slated UK premieres are pieces by the creative minds of Kyle Abraham, Justin Peck, and Pam Tanowitz, alongside a revered classic from the company’s co-founder George Balanchine. This marks a historic moment, as it will be the first time the company has graced a London stage since 2008, during its landmark 75th anniversary celebrations.

NYCB stands as a beacon of contemporary ballet, distinguished by its remarkable speed, musicality, and avant-garde style. Founded in 1948 by the legendary George Balanchine and arts patron Lincoln Kirstein, the company has tirelessly pushed the boundaries of ballet into new realms, maintaining its reputation as one of the premiere institutions in the world of dance.

Justin Peck’s Rotunda, with its dynamic commissioned score by Nico Muhly and a vibrant ensemble of 12 dancers, embodies the innovative spirit at the heart of NYCB. Peck, who has amassed an impressive portfolio of over 20 works for the company alongside notable external projects, continues to solidify his role as a pivotal figure in modern choreography.

Balanchine’s Duo Concertant, a striking duet accompanied by two onstage musicians, revisits the thematic and musical brilliance of Igor Stravinsky, a highlight from the legendary Stravinsky Festival of 1972. Balanchine, a towering figure in 20th-century ballet, leaves an indelible mark on NYCB, ensuring his foundational vision endures through performances like this.

Gustave Le Gray No.1 by Pam Tanowitz, set to Caroline Shaw’s captivating piano score, offers a visually stunning experience with four dancers in fluid red costumes engaging with a live pianist. Tanowitz, having made a remarkable UK debut in 2019, continues to enchant British audiences with her innovative approach to dance.

Kyle Abraham’s Love Letter (on shuffle), featuring music by James Blake and costumes by Giles Deacon, showcases Abraham’s renowned modern dance troupe A.I.M., further highlighting the diversity and depth of talent within NYCB’s ranks.

In an exclusive Q&A, one of NYCB’s prominent dancers shared insights into the life and inner workings of the company:

Q: Tell us about your road to New York City Ballet. Where did you grow up and train, and how long have you danced with the company?

A: I started dancing at age 5 in Cape Cod and moved on to train daily at the Boston Ballet from age 10. At 13, I attended The School of American Ballet’s summer intensive and was later accepted into their year-round program. In 2008, I joined NYCB as an apprentice and was promoted to soloist in 2017. This marks my 16th year with the company.

Q: You were part of the creation of Rotunda – what is working with Justin Peck in the studio like?

A: Working with Justin, whom I’ve known since our days at SAB, is always an enriching experience. His unique ability to tailor choreography to each dancer’s strengths, while maintaining the overall vision of the piece, stands out in his work.

Q: What should audience members look out for in Rotunda?

A: The recurring circle formation signifies unity amidst individual expression, capturing the essence of Rotunda’s thematic core.

Q: Can you talk about the rest of the program? How do these other ballets relate to Rotunda, and how do they differ?

A: Each piece showcases a sense of community among performers, an aspect vividly highlighted in Rotunda. While the visual and thematic elements may vary, the underlying spirit of cohesion and artistic collaboration remains a constant thread throughout.

As NYCB prepares to enchant London audiences with its breathtaking performances, the city awaits with bated breath, ready to witness ballet history in the making.

New York City Ballet
Mixed Bill
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, EC1R 4TN
Thursday 7 – Sunday 10 March 2024   
Tickets: £15 – £85
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com