2020 Fall Ballet Connoisseurship

SAB’s Ballet Connoisseurship is an educational offering for adults providing seasoned ballet goers, patrons, students, scholars, and newcomers alike with knowledge and perspectives that will enhance their appreciation of ballet. Ballet Connoisseurship was launched in January 2019 as part of our new “SAB Open” division and featured seminars exploring ballet history, technique, and choreographic masters.

The 2019-20 season expanded upon topics introduced last year and explored new areas including ballet and the visual arts. We are pleased to present new online units for Fall 2020. Each unit consists of three 90-minute courses. In our efforts to share this exciting program with as many friends as possible, SAB is excited to announce that it is securing underwriting so that we may offer Ballet Connoisseurship classes at a reduced rate of $25 for all fall courses. Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity!

And learn more about how we transitioned our Ballet Connoisseurship courses to an online platform this past spring!

Unit I: Celebrating NYC, Jerome Robbins Style

A look at the New York City we all know and love, brought to life through Jerome Robbins’ uniquely vibrant choreographic eye. Each of the three courses will focus on one of Jerome Robbins iconic works, which capture the spirit of the streets of New York City at certain moments in time.

The following courses will be conducted online via Zoom. View meeting times, topic and speaker information below. All patrons will be notified of additional information as it becomes available. For questions about this program, please contact Alexis Branagan: abranagan@sab.org or 212-769-6612.

Photos by Paul Kolnik

Fancy Free

Wednesday, September 2, 7:00-8:30 PM
New Discounted Price: $25

Adrian Danchig-Waring, New York City Ballet principal dancer and former research fellow at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, will lead a discussion with Daniel Duell, former New York City Ballet principal dancer and Artistic Director of Ballet Chicago, about Jerome Robbins’ 1944 piece Fancy Free.

Evoking the Great White Way, Fancy Free is the precursor to Broadway’s On the Town, presenting three sailors and their escapades on shore leave in Manhattan. It was Fancy Free that put Robbins on the map as someone who had a clear eye for creating compelling movement, a deft hand at telling a story, and a creative vision that was unique in the world of theater.

N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz

Wednesday, September 9, 7:00-8:30 PM
New Discounted Price: $25

N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz was choreographed only a year after the landmark West Side Story opened on Broadway. The sneaker-donning dancers in this ballet evoke a post-war New York City with their cool jazz moves and angst-ridden beats. The program notes for the ballet’s 1958 debut stated, “N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz is a formal, abstract ballet based on the kinds of movements, complexities of rhythms, expressions of relationships, and qualities of atmospheres found in today′s dance.”

New York City Ballet principal dancer and former research fellow at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Jerome Robbins Dance Division Adrian Danchig-Waring will moderate a conversation with New York City Ballet corps de ballet dancer India Bradley.

West Side Story

Wednesday, September 16, 7:00-8:30 PM
New Discounted Price: $25

West Side Story took Broadway by storm in 1957, when it ushered in a new era in musical theater. Jerome Robbins had the idea to update Romeo and Juliet, setting it in modern-day New York, and he engaged composer Leonard Bernstein, playwright Arthur Laurents, and lyricist Stephen Sondheim as collaborators. The musical played for two years on Broadway, then toured the U.S. and ran for nearly three years in London, and has since been staged in cities around the world. The movie followed in 1961, winning 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director (for co-directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins), as well as a special award presented to Robbins for his choreography.

Actress Nancy Ticotin, one of the guest speakers for this Ballet Connoisseurship event, portrayed the role of Consuela in the 1980 Broadway revival, working with Jerome Robbins directly. In 1995, she guest-starred in the Robbins’ original staging of West Side Story Suite, the version of the work created for New York City Ballet. At the time, this event’s other guest speaker, former New York City Ballet principal dancer Jenifer Ringer, was in the corps of New York City Ballet. Ringer later went on to dance Anita in West Side Story Suite.

Unit II: Comedy in Ballet

These courses take a look at some of the most comedic ballets in history. Choreographed by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, these works and their humor have stood the test of time.

The following courses will be conducted online via Zoom. View meeting times, topic and speaker information below. All patrons will be notified of additional information as it becomes available. For questions about this program, please contact Alexis Branagan: abranagan@sab.org or 212-769-6612.

Photos by Paul Kolnik

George Balanchine's Coppélia

Wednesday, September 23, 7:00-8:30 PM
New Discounted Price: $25

Coppélia is considered one of the greatest comic ballets of the 19th Century and has remained one of the best-loved classical works in the ballet repertory. Originally choreographed by Arthur St. Léon in 1870, restaged by Petipa in 1884, and revised by Cecchetti in 1894, it has been performed regularly since then. None of St. Léon’s original choreography remains in today’s productions, and although Acts I and II have retained his ideas and story, the nature of some of the roles has changed. New York City Ballet’s version was staged by Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova — who was considered a definitive Swanilda.

In this Ballet Connoisseurship event, former NYCB dancer and dance educator and scholar Silas Farley will lead us through the history of the ballet, and Patricia McBride, Balanchine’s original Swanilda, will illuminate the staging process and the nuances of bringing the delightful characters of the ballet to life.

George Balanchine's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Bourrée Fantasque, and A Midsummer Night's Dream

Wednesday, September 30, 7:00-8:30 PM
New Discounted Price: $25

This event will explore two lesser-known Balanchine ballets, along with a fan favorite. In Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, the romantic adventures and comic misadventures of Cléonte, Moliére’s 17th century dancing master, provide the impetus for this elaborately costumed ballet set in a fashionable Parisian mansion. The ballet was created for a 1979 New York City Opera production, featuring Rudolph Nureyev alongside New York City Ballet dancers, including Patricia McBride.

With Bourrée Fantasque, Balanchine puts his wit and encyclopedic knowledge of dance forms on display. The ballet takes comic aim at many of the conventions that typify the classical dance while providing glimpses of such popular dances such as the can-can and tango.

Patricia McBride will speak about Le Bougeouis Gentilhomme, and former New York City Ballet soloist and SAB faculty member Susan Pilarre will speak about Bourrée Fantasque.

They will also discuss Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set to the beautiful music of Felix Mendelssohn, which premiered in 1962. This delightful work was the first wholly original evening-length ballet Balanchine choreographed in America.

Jerome Robbins' The Concert

Wednesday, October 7, 7:00-8:30 PM
New Discounted Price: $25

Jerome Robbins’ The Concert (Or, the Perils of Everybody) is a one-of-a-kind comedic ballet portraying a cast of quirky characters at a piano recital. Chopin’s music sets the scene for the laugh-out-loud antics as the recital attendees lose themselves in the music. New York City Ballet principal dancer and SAB faculty member Sterling Hyltin and former New York City Ballet principal Stephanie Saland will talk about portraying the “mad ballerina” in this ballet. Saland will also share insights from working with Jerome Robbins directly.

Register Now

Register now for one or more Ballet Connoisseurship courses. Single courses are available for $25 each.

REGISTER HERE