December 15, 2023
5 Ballet-Themed Shows to Watch Over Winter Break
Now that we are well into our winter break, we figured it was the perfect time to share our own list of must-watch shows and videos to add a bit of ballet to your holiday! Grab some popcorn and get cozy while delighting in these dance-themed diversions…
Definitely our top suggestion for what-to-watch this winter break, this original documentary series, produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Documentaries in partnership with DCTV, takes you inside our School as never before. Featuring unprecedented access, the series follows the lives of students ages 8 to 18 pursuing their dreams to become ballet dancers right here at SAB. While older students from all over the country rigorously train for professional careers, younger students experience the challenges and excitement of rehearsing and performing in New York City Ballet’s holiday classic George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® onstage at Lincoln Center. All six episodes are currently available to stream on Disney+.
This streamed conversation is the perfect bonus commentary to the docuseries. Join director Larissa Bills, dancer Kai Misra-Stone, and SAB faculty member Dena Abergel for a conversation about their new Disney+ documentary series, On Pointe, with Emmy-winning host of Live with Kelly and Ryan, Kelly Ripa.
After watching the docuseries, enjoy seeing a full-length filmed performance of the very Nutcracker production captured in On Pointe! New York City Ballet and Marquee TV give viewers around the world the opportunity to revel in the magic of NYCB’s acclaimed production of the beloved masterpiece George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® in a special streaming event available through January 3, 2021 on Marquee TV. Filmed during the Company’s 2019 season at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, the broadcast features NYCB Principal Dancers Maria Kowroski as the Sugarplum Fairy, Tyler Angle as Her Cavalier, Megan Fairchild as Dewdrop, and more than 50 New York City Ballet dancers. The production also features the 62-piece New York City Ballet Orchestra under the direction of NYCB Music Director Andrew Litton, and more than 60 children from the School of American Ballet.
Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker
Every year, students at Debbie Allen Dance Academy perform a genre-busting, cutting edge rendition of The Nutcracker ballet called Hot Chocolate Nutcracker. This documentary follows legend Debbie Allen and her students as they prepare for the showstopping main event. Currently streaming on Netflix, this documentary is definitely one to watch this season!
Certainly, dancers and choreographers have had to get extra creative this year in finding ways to perform. If you’re still wanting more of a Nutcracker fix, check out BalletCollective’s new Nutcracker at Wethersfield. This exclusive production, directed and choreographed by NYCB’s Troy Schumacher and featuring a cast of mostly NYCB dancers has been performed live, for very small numbers of people, at the historic Wethersfield Estate in upstate New York since December 4. It’s a site-specific take on the holiday ballet but a filmed version will be available to stream for free beginning Dec. 23 at 5 PM through Dec. 26.
This past fall, NYCB released five world premieres as the culmination of their digital season. Unlike most of the ballets in the Company’s repertoire, these works were made specifically for the digital space and will be available to stream indefinitely. If you didn’t get a chance to watch these ballets when they premiered, now is the perfect time to enjoy them all. Featuring works choreographed by Sidra Bell, Pam Tanowitz with Russell Janzen, Andrea Miller, Jamar Roberts, and Justin Peck, each ballet is immediately followed by a panel discussion giving you a full look into the process of creating these works in the midst of the pandemic. It’s a wonderful reminder of how our artform persists and how inspiration can be found even in the most challenging of times.