Welcome to City Ballet The Podcast, an exploration of New York City Ballet where we'll journey through our history, delve into our new and existing repertory, and reveal insider tidbits. Each season of City Ballet The Podcast features episodes that span three topics: New Combinations hosted by Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan, Hear the Dance hosted by dance educator and former NYCB dancer Silas Farley, and See the Music hosted by Music Director Andrew Litton.
Episode 45: See the Music: La Valse
26:41In this new See the Music episode, host and NYCB Orchestra Music Director Andrew Litton leads us through the history and multi-faceted movements of the music for George Balanchine's La Valse. Choreographed in 1951, the score combines two of Maurice Ravel's compositions: Valses Nobles et Sentimentales and La Valse—a "genius" merging of two interrelated works by Balanchine. Litton is joined by Solo Pianist Alan Moverman, whose piano renditions of excerpts from the score capture its by turns beguiling, bittersweet, and bombastic approaches to the waltz. (26:40) Edited by Emilie Silvestri Music: Valses Nobles et Sentimentales (1911, orchestrated 1912) and La Valse (1920) by Maurice Ravel Symphony in Three Movements (1945) by Igor Stravinsky
Episode 44: Hear the Dance: Chaconne
1:13:54Host Silas Farley is back with another Hear the Dance episode of City Ballet The Podcast exploring Balanchine’s Chaconne. Farley is joined by legendary former Principal Dancer Suzanne Farrell, who originated the lead role in the 1976 premiere, and current Principal Dancer Maria Kowroski, who inherited many of Farrell’s signature roles during her more than 25 years with the Company—ending this fall, when she retires from performing with NYCB. Farrell describes the fast-paced creation of Chaconne and working with Balanchine, and the two dancers share memories from their iconic careers and treasured moments in both Chaconne and the repertory. (1:13:54) Written by Silas Farley Edited by Emilie Silvestri Reading List: Balanchine: A Biography by Bernard Taper Balanchine and Kirstein's American Enterprise by James Steichen Balanchine Ballerinas: Conversations with the Muses by Robert Tracy Following Balanchine by Robert Garis Balanchine's Mozartiana: The Making of a Masterpiece by Robert Mairoano and Valerie Brooks Holding On to the Air: An Autobiography by Suzanne Farrell with Toni Bentley Gluck and the Birth of Modern Opera by Patricia Howard Christoph Willibald Gluck: A Guide to Research by Patricia Howard "Motherhood Reshaped Ballet Dancer Maria Kowroski's Career in a Touching Way," Elle Decor Article by Parker Bowie Larson and Vanessa Lawrence "Like a Prayer" The New York Times #SpeakinginDance Piece by Gia Kourlas Music: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major (1931) by Igor Stravinsky Ballet music from the opera Orfeo ed Euridice (Vienna, 1762 and Paris, 1774) by Christoph Willibald von Gluck All music performed by the New York City Ballet Orchestra.
Episode 43: New Combinations: Andrea Miller
45:19New Combinations is back with host Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan in a wide-ranging conversation with choreographer Andrea Miller, whose first onstage work for NYCB premieres this Thursday at the annual Fall Gala. They discuss Miller’s journey from modern dance training in Utah, to studying at Juilliard, to learning the “gaga” movement language of the Batsheva Dance Company, and how these all inform her current approach to choreography. Miller shares the decision-making that informed the creation of her work with the Company, which she describes as a story about “a seed that fell in love with a cloud”—inspired by composer Lido Pimienta’s conception of the score. (45:18) Edited by Emilie Silvestri Music: "Sisyphus" by Andrew Wegman Bird Wixen Music Publishing, Inc. as agent for Muffet Music Co
Episode 42.2: Hear the Dance: Glass Pieces (Part 2)
30:08Host Silas Farley delves deep into the creation of Jerome Robbins’ Glass Pieces in part two of this new Hear the Dance episode. Former NYCB Principal Dancers and husband and wife duo Maria Calegari and Bart Cook share intimate details about the second movement pas de deux, the development of which marked the beginning of their relationship; Corps de Ballet Member Gretchen Smith remarks on the shared legacy of performing these roles and knowing that “Everything we’re taught now is learned through those that were in the room”; and former Principal Dancer Helene Alexopoulos reflects on the importance of Glass Pieces as a celebration of the Company through its focus on the corps de ballet—and an important statement from Robbins, as the work premiered just two weeks after George Balanchine’s death. (30:07) Written by Silas Farley Edited by Emilie Silvestri Reading List: Somewhere: The Life of Jerome Robbins by Amanda Vaill Words Without Music by Philip Glass Jerome Robbins: By Himself by Amanda Vaill Music: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major (1931) by Igor Stravinsky Rubric and Façades from Glassworks, excerpts from the opera Akhnaten by Philip Glass All music performed by the New York City Ballet Orchestra.
Episode 42.1: Hear the Dance: Glass Pieces (Part 1)
44:38Just like the Company itself, City Ballet The Podcast is back, with a brand new Hear the Dance episode on Jerome Robbins’ Glass Pieces. Returning host Silas Farley is joined by former Principal Dancers and original cast members Helene Alexopoulos, Maria Calegari, and Bart Cook, and current Corps de Ballet Member Gretchen Smith, for a conversation about this galvanizing masterwork. The originating dancers provide rare behind-the-scenes insights into Robbins’ process, from his use of “guinea pigs” to the multiple iterations that reflected the choreographer’s shifting mood and sense of the work in progress, and commiserate with Smith about the challenges the various corps roles in Glass Pieces present. (44:37) Written by Silas Farley Edited by Emilie Silvestri Reading List: Somewhere: The Life of Jerome Robbins by Amanda Vaill Words Without Music by Philip Glass Jerome Robbins: By Himself by Amanda Vaill Music: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major (1931) by Igor Stravinsky Rubric and Façades from Glassworks, excerpts from the opera Akhnaten by Philip Glass All music performed by the New York City Ballet Orchestra.
Episode 41: Bonus: Digital Season Wrap-Up
39:41For this season’s final episode, Artistic Director Jonathon Stafford and Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan sat down to reflect on the concluding Digital Season, and to look forward to our return to the stage this fall. From the technical challenges of curating footage to the emotional heights of revisiting these performances, this unprecedented time in the Company’s history has inspired the Artistic team’s ambitious approach to the coming season’s programming, with special repertory revivals, our most diverse cast of choreographers, and the 50th anniversary Stravinsky Festival in the spring to look forward to—and, bridging the two seasons, a final stream of Balanchine’s Vienna Waltzes, a work with special memories for both. (39:40) Music: Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48 (1880) by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky
Episode 40: New Combinations: Justin Peck
40:37With just days to go before the world premiere of his newest work for the Company, Resident Choreographer Justin Peck joins host and Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan for the latest episode of New Combinations. Beginning with his early years as a tap dancer and his invitation to enroll at the School of American Ballet by lasting mentor Peter Boal, Peck discusses his unique—and uniquely American—approach to choreography. Between reflecting on his work as the choreographer for the Stephen Spielberg-helmed West Side Story and collaborating with director Sofia Coppola on NYCB’s Spring Gala film, Peck shares what he values most about the Company and the cross-pollination inherent to the art of ballet. (40:37) Music: "Sisyphus" by Andrew Wegman Bird Wixen Music Publishing, Inc. as agent for Muffet Music Co
Episode 39: New Combinations: Kyle Abraham
29:23This season of City Ballet The Podcast continues with a fresh edition of New Combinations. Host and Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan is joined by choreographer Kyle Abraham in the lead up to the premiere of his latest work for NYCB, When We Fell, a dance film choreographed on eight NYCB dancers during a COVID-compliant residency. Abraham describes the benefits of this unique situation, from the increased focus and productivity afforded by quarantining with the dancers, to the invaluable support from Repertory Director Rebecca Krohn, to the ways limitations can ultimately be helpful. Reflecting on the challenges of the past year, Abraham shares how last June’s Ces noms que nous portons, created on Principal Dancer Taylor Stanley, was the impetus to his return to the studio. (29:23) Music: "Sisyphus" by Andrew Wegman Bird Wixen Music Publishing, Inc. as agent for Muffet Music Co
Episode 38.2: Hear the Dance: Stravinsky Violin Concerto (Part 2)
45:39Host Silas Farley and guest Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s discussion of the 1972 Stravinsky Festival continues in this second part of a special Hear the Dance episode dedicated to Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto. Bonnefoux recalls the excitement of performing in the premiere of this seminal neoclassical work in the same week as a revival of Balanchine’s Orpheus, and the sense of historical tradition and musical pulse at the heart of every Balanchine/Stravinsky ballet. They then talk about Bonnefoux’s extensive work as a coach and mentor, and the legacy of kindness and generosity he’s taken on from Pushkin, Balanchine, and all of his own teachers; as he says, “It’s more about what you need—what are you worried about?” (45:49) Music: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major (1931) by Igor Stravinsky Theme with Four Variations [According to the Four Temperaments], for string orchestra and piano (1940) by Igor Stravinsky Sonatine (1906) by Maurice Ravel Final movement of Suite No. 3 for Orchestra in G major (1884) by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky Written by Silas Farley Edited by Laura Snow
Episode 38.1: Hear the Dance: Stravinsky Violin Concerto (Part 1)
46:49Hear the Dance host and former NYCB dancer Silas Farley is back for the newest two-part episode of City Ballet The Podcast. Farley is joined by former Principal Dancer Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux for a lively discussion of Balanchine’s neoclassical masterpiece, Stravinsky Violin Concerto. In this first half of their conversation, Bonnefoux describes joining the Paris Opera Ballet at the age of 14, achieving the rank of principal dancer at 21, and relinquishing his position there just a year short of earning his pension to move to the US and work with Balanchine. The episode includes a short excerpt from legendary Russian teacher Alexander Pushkin’s class as well as Bonnefoux’s retelling of his last-minute lifesaving intercession on behalf of fellow Pushkin student, Rudolf Nureyev. (47:13) Music Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major (1931) by Igor Stravinsky Concerto in D minor for Two Violins, B.W.V. 1043 by Johan Sebastian Bach Orpheus (1947) by Igor Stravinsky Reading List: Dance is a Contact Sport by Joseph H. Mazo Striking a Balance: Dancers Talk About Dancing by Barbara Newman The Stravinsky Festival of The New York City Ballet by Nancy Goldner Igor Stravinsky: An Autobiography by Igor Stravinsky The Dance Element in Stravinsky's Music by George Balanchine Balanchine's Fourth Dimension by Lincoln Kirstein Alexander Pushkin: Master Teacher of Dance by Gennady Albert Vera Volkova: A Biography by Alexander Meinertz Classes in Classical Ballet: A Book for Teachers and Dancers by Asaf Messerer Rudolph Nureyev: The Life by Julie Kavanaugh Alonzo King Lines Ballet by Alonzo King and RJ Muna Balanchine & the Lost Muse: Revolution & the Making of a Choreographer by Elizabeth Kendall Written by Silas Farley Edited by Laura Snow