New York Theatre Ballet: It all fits

New York Theatre Ballet: It all fits

By Jerry Hochman, Critical Dance
Thursday March 14, 2019

The venerable New York Theatre Ballet began its 40th Anniversary year with a program designed by company Founder and Artistic Director Diana Byer to be representative of the NYTB “family tree.” By presenting pieces choreographed by Merce Cunningham, Matthew Nash, and Sir Richard Alston (NYTB’s Resident Choreographer for the next two years), each of whom has contributed, directly or indirectly, to the company’s success over the years, Byer accomplished her goal. And the sense of “family” was augmented by the overarching presence of David Vaughan, Cunningham Company archivist (as well as dancer, author, and dance historian, among a host of other accomplishments), who died in 2017, and who was in large part NYTB’s Cunningham connection.

It takes a lot for a company, particularly one as understated as NYTB is, to be described as “venerable.” When I first became acquainted with it, a mere five or six years ago, I wrote that if NYTB didn’t exist, it would have to be invented. What the company does so well, based on many of its past programs, is to present dances that may have been overlooked by major companies, to provide a showcase for emerging choreographers, and to make ballet and contemporary dance accessible. 

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