Less than a month after canceling its spring season because of the coronavirus pandemic, New York City Ballet is back with a six-week slate of online programing. The company announced on Monday that it would broadcast full ballets and excerpts twice a week, from Tuesday through May 29, for free on its YouTube channel, Facebook page and website.
“We wanted to carefully curate the digital season so that it wasn’t just us slapping together whatever we had footage of and throwing it out there,” Jonathan Stafford, the City Ballet artistic director, said in an interview.
A performance of George Balanchine’s “Allegro Brillante” from 2017 featuring Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette will be the first online offering, on Tuesday. On Friday the company will stream Justin Peck’s “Rotunda,” in its world premiere performance from February. Nico Muhly, who wrote the ballet’s score, will introduce it. The programs are to go online at 8 p.m. and remain available for three days.
This pattern will recur throughout the season. Tuesdays will be focused on the work of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and Fridays will feature ballets by contemporary choreographers, including Kyle Abraham, Pam Tanowitz and Alexei Ratmansky.
“It felt natural to open the weeks with some of our legacy repertory,” said Mr. Stafford, who made the selections with Wendy Whelan, the company’s associate artistic director, and Mr. Peck, its resident choreographer and artistic adviser. “Fridays felt like a good time to show some of the fresh young voices in the dance world today that we are so fortunate to work with.”
The online season will go beyond performance footage. Ms. Whelan will lead a ballet-inspired movement class each Wednesday at 5 p.m. on Instagram, starting this week. And the company’s twice-a-week “Ballet Essentials” movement workshop series will make its digital debut on Thursday at 6 p.m. and also appear on Mondays. In the first of nine installments, Lauren King, a company soloist, will guide viewers through a warm up and a movement combination inspired by Balanchine’s choreography for “Serenade.”
Children will be able to get in on the act, too. On Saturday mornings, the company will offer 20-minute interactive workshops for kids ages 3 to 8. (The “Ballet Essentials” and children’s workshops require advance registration and will take place on Zoom.)
For Mr. Stafford the experience of putting together an online season was bittersweet. “The joy of it was looking at all the footage,” he said. “But in some cases, I got choked up a little bit thinking, ‘My God, I miss these dancers and working with them on a daily basis.’”