Upon approaching the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the New York City Ballet’s annual Spring Gala on May 8, well-heeled guests were greeted by the wafting scent of perfume and a multiplicity of ball gowns and dapper tuxedos. Alicia Keys, Allison Sarofim and Valentino Garavani enjoyed champagne by Ruinart prior to the evening’s program, which included performance art works from the theater’s original opening night in 1964.
Heralding the theme of legacy interwoven with a look to future innovation, the program was a mix of past and new works. Starting with a nod to the theater’s heritage, the evening kicked off with Igor Stravinsky’s “Fanfare for a New Theater,” which was composed in 1964 for the original opening of the New York State Theater. After a short video showcasing the history of the theater and its inception, Peter Martins, NYCB’s Ballet Master in Chief, saluted principal dancers who had danced on the inaugural stage in 1964. Adding range to the night, actors Kristen Bell and Aaron Lazar followed suit with a stirring rendition of a love song from Rogers and Hammerstein’s Carousel.
The first ballet of the season, George Balachine’s Allegro Brillante, which was created in 1956 to music by Tchaikovsky, was a fresh and spring-inspired affair featuring the NYCB dancers at their best. Finishing with a bang, the pièce de résistance of the night was the world premiere of NYCB soloist Justin Peck’s inspired new ballet Everywhere We Go, performed to a commissioned score by American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. As he is known to do, Mr. Peck used the corps de ballets to his advantage, creating never-before-seen moving tableaus of texture and pattern, complemented by the ever-changing geometrical backdrop designed by architect Karl Jensen.
Overall, the evening was a brilliant example of why institutions like NYCB are so important as they provide the platform and support for young talent to explore unique collaborations and continue to push the art of ballet forward.
Click through the gallery above to see photos from the evening.