Dance: A Perfect Chamber Ballet CompanyBy Dawn Lille, Art Times Journal
Saturday April 21, 2018
The pleasures of dance are many and take different forms, whether as a performer or a member of the audience. For the latter, some moments are exceptional. This happened recently at a concert by the New York Theatre Ballet at the 92nd Street Y, part of this year’s Jerome Robbins Centennial celebration.
Diana Byer founded this gem of a chamber ballet company, now in its 39th year, and still heads the troupe and school. With its nine carefully trained and impeccably rehearsed dancers, who perform without any stylistic mannerisms, it has given the dance world the gift of still relevant revivals (among them works of Antony Tudor, Agnes DeMille and Vaslav Nijinsky) as well as works by outstanding contemporary creators such as the English Richard Alston.
Byer, who bravely faces the challenge of running a small arts organization in a major arts capitol, chose three short and rarely performed Robbins works because she found them charming and capable of adding a different feeling to the well known Robbins repertory. She points out that the entire dance world knows his work, but only through eight longer pieces. Her own teachers, Tudor and Margaret Craske, spoke often of these “little ballets,” and she strongly feels they should be danced in order to add to our knowledge of Robbins.
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Photos by Julie Lemberger