In the summer of 1966, the Beatles launched their last US tour and released “Revolver,” Janis Joplin played her first live show, The Who and The Kinks played on TVs Shindig – and the New York City Ballet first performed at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The Philadelphia Orchestra also played in that first SPAC season.

July 9 to 13, the NYC Ballet celebrates its 58-summer SPAC residency and its 75th season overall. Its seven-performance SPAC run begins with the popular NYCB On and Off Stage. This “behind the curtain” preview, followed by a dance party in the nearby Hall of Springs, began in 2021 after the 2020 season was cancelled in the pandemic. Principal dancers will perform excerpts from the 11 ballets to be performed through July 13 in a sampler format designed to please both longtime dance fans and newcomers who might not know NYCB founder and choreographer George Balanchine from Beatle George Harrison. (Harrison was five years old when Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein founded the NYCB in 1948.)

STAN HUDY The New York CIty Ballet on the stage at SPAC Wednesday night performing Chaconne July 13, 2022 in Saratoga Springs.

NYCB Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford and Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan lead the company’s 90 dancer while Music Director Andrew Litton conducts the New York City Ballet Orchestra which performs in the pit before the stage.

“We look forward to an incredible week celebrating our shared history over the past nearly six decades, while also pointing toward our exciting future together,” said Elizabeth Sobol, president and CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center, welcoming the return of the dance company the New York Times hails as “the foremost creative ballet troupe in the world.”

As with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, the NYCB season celebrates established crowd favorites and introduces innovative works including several SPAC premieres. Reaching back across its 75-year history, they’ll dance the Balanchine-choreographed classics Jewels, which is a three-part showcase of Emeralds (music by Gabriel Faure), Rubies (Igor Stravinsky) and Diamonds (Piotr Tschaikovsky); also Coppelia (excerpted scenes, music by Leo Delibes), Swan Lake (Tschaikovsky), The Steadfast Tin Soldier (Georges Bizet) and Stars and Stripes (John Philip Sousa).

STAN HUDY The New York CIty Ballet returned to SPAC Tuesday night performing NYCB On and Off Stage, excerpts of performances to be offered during their stay, opening with a segment from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, July 12, 2022.

While these familiar pieces feature 19th and 20th century orchestral and marching-band music, the newer works incorporate innovative and adventurous musical compositions.

One offering, so new it is provisionally dubbed New Garner, is a world premiere by choreographer Amy Hall Garner. Gustave le Gray No. 1, a new work by choreographer Pam Tanowitz is danced to music of Caroline Shaw. Other modernist works include Red Angels (choreography Ulysses Dove, music: Richard Einhorn’s “Maxwell’s Demon” for solo electric violin) and The Times are Racing (danced in sneakers, choreography Justin Peck, electronic music by Dan Deacon).

“New York City Ballet is thrilled to return to Saratoga Springs as part of our historic 75th Anniversary celebration,” said New York City Ballet Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford and Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan. “We look forward to presenting a rich repertory of works for the fantastic audiences in the Capital Region who always make the SPAC engagement a highlight of our year.”

NEW YORK CITY BALLET 2024 Saratoga Performing Arts Season, July 9-13

  • Evening performances 7:30 p.m. Matinees 2 p.m. and marked as such
  • Tuesday, July 9: NYCB On and Off Stage


  • Wednesday, July 10 and Thursday, July 11 (Matinee):
  • Emeralds (Fauré/Balanchine)
  • Rubies (Stravinsky/Balanchine)
  • Diamonds (Tschaikovsky/Balanchine)

Contemporary Choreography

  • Thursday, July 11 and Saturday, July 13:
  • New Garner* (TBA/Garner)
  • Red Angels (Einhorn/Dove)
  • Gustave le Gray No. 1* (Shaw/Tanowitz)
  • The Times Are Racing (Deacon/Peck)

Swan Lake & Stars and Stripes

  • Friday, July 12 and Saturday July 13 (Matinee)
  • Swan Lake (Tschaikovsky/Balanchine)
  • Scenes from Coppélia (Delibes/Balanchine and Danilova, after Petipa)
  • The Steadfast Tin Soldier (Bizet/Balanchine)
  • Stars and Stripes (Sousa, orch. by Kay/Balanchine)

*indicates SPAC premiere

Tickets go on sale Feb. 9 at 10 a.m. for members (tiered by level) and on Feb. 22 at 10 a.m. for the general public.

Comments are closed.