SARATOGA SPRINGS – In a joint decision by Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) and New York City Ballet (NYCB), SPAC has announced that due to the ongoing health and safety concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic and guidelines mandated by the State of New York, NYCB will not return to its summer home in Saratoga Springs with the full company this July.
Instead, a small group of NYCB dancers and musicians will present NYCB On and Off Stage, an intimate, up-close look at selected excerpts from the company’s extraordinary repertory of ballets. This series of educational programs has never before been presented for Saratoga audiences.
NYCB On and Off Stage is slated for six shows from July 14-17 and will feature two special presentations. All shows will be hosted by a NYCB Principal Dancer who will introduce the excerpts and provide insights on each ballet.
SPAC and New York City Ballet have also confirmed that the traditional residency engagement with the full company will be presented in 2022 from July 12-16.
The NYCB On and Off Stage presentations will be offered in compliance with the current guidelines from the Governor to ensure the health and safety of artists, audience members and staff. As required by New York State, all attendees of the series will be required to show either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72-hours of the event.
NYCB On and Off Stage will showcase two distinct programs suitable for audiences of all ages including an "All Balanchine" presentation, illuminating the expansive repertory of Founding Choreographer George Balanchine with excerpts from masterworks including Apollo, The Four Temperaments, Agon, Jewels, and Who Cares?, and a program entitled "Short Stories," exploring beloved narrative ballets like Firebird, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Western Symphony, Fancy Free, and The Concert.
Both programs will feature an ensemble of 15 New York City Ballet dancers in costume performing excerpts from the Company's world-renowned repertory, with live musical accompaniment provided by pianists from NYCB.
This new format represents an innovative and safe way to bring dance to the community, while adhering to carefully mapped out, socially distanced seating and rigorous COVID protocols both in SPAC’s public spaces and backstage.
"While we will miss the big, lush productions for which City Ballet is renowned, the safety of the artists, audience members and staff is our greatest priority,” said Elizabeth Sobol, President and CEO of SPAC, in a statement.
“When thinking about SPAC and re-opening, in addition to considering the audience members in our public spaces, we also have to make certain that the backstage, dressing rooms, rehearsal spaces and stage are all safe. This would not be possible with the complete NYCB organization of nearly 100 dancers, 62 orchestra members in the pit and the many production crew members and staff members backstage, as is necessary for a full-scale NYCB engagement. Bringing this new format to SPAC for 2021 ensures that we will be able to effectively create a safe environment for all," Sobol said.
The full schedule is as follows: WEDNESDAY, JULY 14 @ 7:30 PM – Short Stories; THURSDAY, JULY 15 @ 2 PM – All Balanchine; THURSDAY, JULY 15 @ 7:30 PM – Short Stores; FRIDAY, JULY 16 @ 7:30 PM – All Balanchine; SATURDAY, JULY 17 @ 2 PM – Short Stories; SATURDAY, JULY 17 @ 7:30 PM – All Balanchine.
The presentations will all be approximately 75 minutes long with no intermission. Each program will be hosted by a beloved NYCB Principal Dancer who will be retiring from the company during the 2021-22 New York Season – Maria Kowroski will host the Short Stories presentation; and Gonzalo Garcia will host the All Balanchine presentation
SPAC Members will have early ticket access depending on membership level, beginning on May 3. Tickets for the public will be available to purchase on May 10. Designated pods of two will be allocated and reserved for ticket buyers in the amphitheater, while designed pods of two and four will be available on the SPAC lawn. Amphitheater tickets start at $80 per pod, which seats up to two people. Lawn tickets are available to purchase for $60 for a two-person pod, or $120 for a four-person pod. Single tickets will be extremely limited and available starting at $40 for the amphitheater and $30 for the lawn. Advance ticket purchases are strongly advised as ticket availability will be limited. If available, tickets will be on sale on the day of, but are subject to an additional fee.
COVID-19 Safety & Protocols:
SPAC will be adhering to all mandated NYS guidelines and therefore all attendees are required to show proof of a completed vaccination no sooner than 14 days prior to the event or a negative 72-hour COVID-19 test. In addition, attendees are required to complete a health screening questionnaire and pass a mandatory temperature check prior to entry. Guests are required to wear a face mask at all times, regardless of proof of vaccination or negative test. Guests are permitted to bring factory sealed water bottles and essential personal items only. Restrooms will be available with social distancing and enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols in place in accordance with recommended guidelines.
For proof of vaccination, either a vaccination card or NYS Excelsior Pass is acceptable, according to a SPAC spokesperson. Visit spac.org for more details.