Diana Byer

Diana Byer

Artistic Director Emerita, Director NYTB School

Diana Byer has performed as a principal with the company and as a guest artist with ballet companies throughout the U.S. Before establishing the company and school, she performed as a soloist with Les Grandes Ballets Canadiens, Manhattan Festival Ballet, New York City Opera Ballet, and the Juilliard Ensemble. Ms. Byer received her principal dance training from Margaret Craske and Antony Tudor.

Under Byer’s leadership, NYTB stages works that are intimate in scale and able to touch audiences in deeply personal ways. Hailed by Dance Magazine as “a miniature American treasure,” NYTB is known for its theatrical inventiveness, high production quality, excellent technique, and accessibility to its audiences. To achieve authenticity in classic restorations, Ms. Byer brings in original dancers and set designers whenever possible and researches all details of costuming, set construction, and other production values to try and faithfully restore and recreate the original artists’ vision. Ms. Byer has also developed NYTB to serve as a center for the creation and performance of new choreography suitable to its distinctive role as a national chamber ballet company.
Ms. Byer teaches adult professional through beginner ballet, pointe technique, and children’s classes at Ballet School NY. She has taught at the Manhattan School of Dance and abroad at Compagnie de Michel Hallet (Lyon, France) and Cascina Bela (Milan, Italy). In the United States, she has been a guest instructor of the Cecchetti Society of America, the Cecchetti Society of Canada (Toronto), Cornell and New York Universities, State University of New York at Purchase, Martha Graham School, and other centers of dance. In 2003 she gave master classes in the Ballet School of Pecs, Hungary, and she regularly provides master classes in schools and performance settings across the U.S. 

Ms. Byer received extensive media attention for her ongoing work with homeless and at-risk children, winning special citations from President George Bush, First Lady Hillary Clinton, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the President’s Committee on the Arts & the Humanities. The LIFT Community Service program, which provides dance classes, performance opportunities, scholarships and services for the homeless and at-risk children of New York City, was initiated at NYTB through her vision and commitment. In 1988, 1990, and 1993, Ms. Byer received the Helen Wieselberg Award of the National Arts Club in recognition for her ongoing work with LIFT. In 1992, Lincoln Center produced at Alice Tully Hall a one-hour presentation for children called Dreams On A Shoestring, featuring an original script based on Ms. Byer and LIFT. 

In December 1996, she was again spotlighted in two features in Dance Magazine. Ms. Byer coached the principals in the Columbia Pictures film, Center Stage. She was a member of the Antony Tudor Centennial Celebration Committee and in 2008 staged Tudor’s Judgment of Paris for the American Ballet Theatre Gala at The Metropolitan Opera House. She is a repetiteur for the Antony Tudor Trust and a member of the Board of Directors of the Dance Notation Bureau. In 2010 she assisted Kevin McKenzie in ABT’s restaging of Antony Tudor’s Jardin Aux Lilas (Lilac Garden) and staged Agnes de Mille’s Three Virgins and a Devil for the Alabama Ballet. In 2011 Ms. Byer restaged Antony Tudor’s Soiree Musicale and the dances from Agnes deMille’s Carousel, Oklahoma and Brigadoon.

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