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Where, oh where, is my ballet? - A Commentary on the Construction Projects at Lincoln Center

by Marian Horosko
July 14, 2008
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023
212.875.5456

Featured Dance Companies:

American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre (office)
890 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
212-477-3030
www.abt.org

New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet (office)
New York State Theater
20 Lincoln Center
New York, NY 10023
212-870-5500
www.nycballet.com

On October 7-10, 2009, American Ballet Theatre will present five performances of repertory tailored to the Avery Fisher stage along with world and company premieres. Avery Fisher Hall, home of the New York Philharmonic is the building on the right as you face the Metropolitan Opera straight ahead, beyond the fountain at Lincoln Center Plaza. "Site-specific" means that a work has been adapted to the dimensions of the hall: no wings, no orchestra pit in this case, inadequate stage lighting, no room for drops, a curtain or scenery, but great acoustics. However, clever choreographers, not yet announced, will cope and the hall may provide some theatrical needs before the opening.

Basically, ABT needs its own home in the area.

Then, in July, $100M came from billionaire David H. Koch for the renovation of the New York State Theater, across from Fisher Hall on the other side of the fountain that never seems to work. It is the home of the New York City Opera and New York City Ballet. Originally built in 1964 with the help of Lincoln Kirstein and architect Philip Johnson, it caused considerable disruption within the NYCB company during the long building process as the dancers struggled to live on unemployment insurance until the opening of the theater. Originally, the company was composed of professional dancers with a few from the affiliated School of American Ballet. Twelve members, from the original concert group of 22 girls and 12 boys left the company before the theater was completed and the ranks were filled with students from the school, which it still is, except for a few soloists and guest artists. The unemployed dancers during the wait left for other companies and Broadway.

Hopefully, renovation will widen the aisles so patrons don't have to chassé sideways, muttering "sorry," "excuse me," or "thanks for moving" as they maneuver to their seats. Maybe a center aisle or two? And removal the rhinestone chandelier and clips on the box seats? Ah, well.

Lincoln Center has been undergoing renovation for some time now. It presents a labyrinth of paths to the Newhouse Theater and the New York Library for the Performing Arts from the Broadway approach. For the dance archive use the back entrance at Amsterdam Avenue at 65th Street.

Check your ticket before you set out for the correct location of any performance.
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