New York City Ballet is one of the foremost dance companies in the world, with an unparalleled active repertory of more than 150 works—most of them created for NYCB—many of which are considered modern masterpieces. The Company was established in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and arts aficionado Lincoln Kirstein at the City Center of Music and Drama, and quickly became known for pure neo-classicism, which resonated with modern audiences. In 1949, Jerome Robbins joined the Company as associate artistic director and, with Balanchine and many guest choreographers, created a varied repertory that grew each season. Balanchine served as Ballet Master of NYCB from its inception until his death, in 1983, during which time he choreographed countless works and created a company of dancers known for their speed and musicality. In 1964 NYCB moved to its current home at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater (formerly the New York State Theater), where it grew into one of the world’s great dance companies. Now under the direction of Artistic Director Peter Martins and Executive Director Katherine Brown, the Company has over 90 dancers, a 62-member orchestra, an official school (the School of American Ballet), an institute for choreography (the New York Choreographic Institute), and an annual 21-week season in New York, the longest home season of any dance company in the world. Widely acknowledged for its enduring contributions to dance, NYCB is committed to promoting creative excellence and nurturing a new generation of dancers and choreographers.
This performance marks New York City Ballet MOVES’s La Jolla Music Society debut.
Peter Martins was born in Denmark and has spent more than 40 years with New York City Ballet as a dancer, choreographer, and Ballet Master in Chief. After appearing for three years as a guest artist, Martins joined the Company as a Principal Dancer in 1970. During his career as a dancer, from which he retired in 1983, he performed in a tremendous variety of ballets in the repertory, and originated roles in many works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, among others. From 1983 to 1989, he and Jerome Robbins served as co-Ballet Masters in Chief of the New York City Ballet and, in 1990, Martins assumed sole artistic directorship of the Company. Under his leadership New York City Ballet has added significantly to its repertory, while maintaining the integrity of its core works, the 20th-century masterpieces by Balanchine and Robbins. Martins has also choreographed numerous ballets, mainly for NYCB. He began his career as a choreographer in 1977 with Calcium Light Night and has since created more than 80 ballets, many of them set to scores by contemporary American composers. Martins is also Artistic Director and Chairman of the Faculty at the School of American Ballet and Founder and Artistic Director of the New York Choreographic Institute.
Justin Peck is a Soloist and the Resident Choreographer of New York City Ballet. He has created nine ballets for NYCB, and other works for a range of companies including Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, L.A. Dance Project, the New York Choreographic Institute, the School of American Ballet, the Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival, New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival, Skidmore College, and the Columbia Ballet Collaborative. Peck was born in Washington, D.C., and spent his formative years in San Diego, California, where he studied at California Ballet. In 2003, he began training at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet. He was named an apprentice in 2006, joined the NYCB corps de ballet in spring 2007, and was promoted to Soloist in February 2013. In the fall of 2009, Peck participated in the New York Choreographic Institute, an affiliate of NYCB, and in 2011, NYCB Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins designated Peck to receive NYCI’s first year-long choreographic residency. Peck was named Resident Choreographer, the second in the Company’s history, in July 2014.
Alexei Ratmansky was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow. He was a principal dancer with the Ukrainian National Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet before joining the Royal Danish Ballet in 1997. In January 2004 he returned to Russia to assume the position of Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet. In 2009, Ratmansky was named Artist in Residence at American Ballet Theatre. Among Ratmansky’s works are Cinderella and Middle Duet for the Mariinsky Ballet; The Bright Stream and Lost Illusions for the Bolshoi Ballet; Psyché for the Paris Opera Ballet; 24 Preludes for The Royal Ballet; Concerto DSCH, Namouna, A Grand Divertissement, Pictures at an Exhibition, and Russian Seasons for New York City Ballet; and The Sleeping Beauty, The Tempest, and a trilogy of works to music by Dmitri Shostakovich for ABT. Ratmansky received the Benois de la Danse award for his full-length Anna Karenina, created for the Royal Danish Ballet, in 2004. He was made a Knight of Dannebrog in Denmark in 2002, and was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow for 2013.
Christopher Wheeldon was born in Yeovil, Somerset, England. He attended The Royal Ballet School and danced with The Royal Ballet and New York City Ballet. He choreographed his first ballet for NYCB, Slavonic Dances, in 1997, and retired from dancing three years later to pursue choreography full-time. During the 2000-2001 season, he served as the Company’s first-ever Artist in Residence before being named its first Resident Choreographer, a position he held until 2008. In 2007, Wheeldon founded Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company, serving as the Company’s Artistic Director until early 2010. In addition to the 20 ballets he has created for NYCB, Wheeldon has choreographed works for The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Dutch National Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet. Outside of the ballet world, he has choreographed for The Metropolitan Opera, for the 2000 film Center Stage, and The Sweet Smell of Success for Broadway. Wheeldon is the director and choreographer of An American in Paris, which is currently running on Broadway at the Palace Theatre. Among Wheeldon’s honors are Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, the American Choreography Award, the London Critics’ Circle Award, the Olivier Award, the Dance Magazine Award, and the Benois de la Danse.