Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC)

Exciting 2012 Season

By: - Feb 13, 2012

New York City Ballet (NYCB) will bring a dazzling, diverse repertory of 16 stunning ballets from its unparalleled repertory to its summer stage at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) July 10 - 21, including the July 14 World Premiere of a new ballet by NYCB dancer Justin Peck at the annual Ballet Gala. Other major highlights include the Saratoga premieres of new ballets by Christopher Wheeldon and Benjamin Millepied; Peter Martins’ dramatic, full-length production of Romeo + Juliet; Balanchine classics including Firebird,  Symphony in C and Kammermusik No. 2 and first-ever Saratoga performances of Peter Martins’ The Waltz Project and Wheeldon’s DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse.

“New York City Ballet’s extraordinary commitment to new choreography will take center stage at SPAC this summer as a remarkable five premieres highlight the company's Saratoga Season, including the World Premiere of a new ballet by NYCB dancer Justin Peck at our Ballet Gala. This will be the seventh work in NYCB’s history to have its world premiere at SPAC, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase this new ballet which will be Peck’s first for a major company,” said Marcia J. White, SPAC’s President & Executive Director. “The Gala program will also feature the one-time-only performances and SPAC premieres of new ballets by celebrated choreographers Christopher Wheeldon and Benjamin Millepied, making this evening a true celebration of the innovation, excellence and vitality of dance in the 21st century.”

 Gala program

The Ballet Gala on July 14 will feature three SPAC premieres of new work highlighted by a World Premiere ballet by NYCB dancerand risingchoreographer JUSTIN PECK.  The new work will be Peck’s first ballet for NYCB.   Peck’s new work will be set to composer Philip Glass’ Four Movements for Two Pianos, which was composed in 2008.  Glass, who in 1985 was SPAC’s first-ever composer in residence, celebrates his 75th birthday this year, with the music world celebrating his extraordinary body of work with performances and events around the country. 

 Peck, a member of NYCB’s corps de ballet since 2007, has been recognized for his choreographic promise since his debut as a choreographer in 2009, earning favorable notices from the New York Times, Dance Magazine and Vanity Fair among others. In 2011, Peck earned a Bessie Award nomination in the "Outstanding Emerging Choreographer" category.

 The Saratoga premiere of the new Glass/Peck ballet will be the first world premiere presented by NYCB at SPAC in more than 25 years and only the seventh SPAC premiere in NYCB history.

Also on the Gala program will be CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON’s most recent work for NYCB, Les Carillons, which premiered in New York on January 28, 2012.  The British-born choreographer’s 18th work for the company, Les Carillons is an abstract ballet for 20 dancers set toGeorge Bizet’s L’Arlesienne Suites Nos. 1 and 2.  A former NYCB soloist, Wheeldon has created works across the world for companies including the Bolshoi Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Pennsylvania Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Ballet, among others.

 The Gala will also feature the SPAC premiere of BENJAMIN MILLEPIED’s newest work for NYCB, which will have its premiere in New York in May 2012. To a commissioned score by contemporary composer Nico Muhly, one of Millepied’s frequent collaborators, this new work will be Millepied’s fourth for NYCB. A NYCB dancer for 16 years, Millepied recently retired from dancing to focus on his thriving career as a choreographer. One of the most highly sought after choreographers working today, Millepied has worked with companies across the world including the Paris Opera Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and the Metropolitan Opera among others.

Repertory highlights

Opening Night will feature an all Balanchine program of iconic works including: CONCERTO BAROCCO, a neoclassical masterpiece;the enchanting Russian fairytale FIREBIRD featuring Stravinsky’s brilliant score and lavish sets and costumes by Chagall;  KAMMERMUSIK NO. 2, a work of energy, speed and precision last seen at SPAC in 1997; and a major revival of Balanchine’s signature work SYMPHONY IN C last performed by NYCB in 2008.

 Peter Martins’ full-length production of ROMEO + JULIET returns to SPAC’s stage for the first time since 2007, the year in which it premiered. A production filled with dance, drama and movement, the work is based on Shakespeare’s classic romantic tragedy of star-crossed young lovers and their feuding families. The two-act work is set to Prokofiev’s sweeping score and features striking, abstract scenery and costumes by acclaimed Danish artist Per Kirkeby.

Peter Martins’ Romeo + Juliet is a stunning, powerful production that brings all the passion and drama of Shakespeare’s timeless love story to the ballet stage. With brilliant costumes and scenery, breathtaking choreography and Prokofiev’s lush score, this production is set to be one of the biggest events of the SPAC Season,” said SPAC President Marcia White.

Alexei Ratmansky’s masterwork, RUSSIAN SEASONS, returns to SPAC’s stage for the first time since its 2006 Saratoga debut. Created for NYCB’s Diamond Project in 2006, Russian Seasons is an inventive, compelling work set to a score for solo voice and orchestra by contemporary Russian composer Leonid Desyatnikov. Critically acclaimed at its NYCB world premiere , the work has since been performed by dance companies around the world. 

Also part of the season will be two additional SPAC premieres, Wheeldon’s DGV: DANSE Á GRANDE VITESSE and Martins’ THE WALTZ PROJECT.  Created for Britain’s The Royal Ballet in 2006, DGV: Danse â Grande Vitesse features 26 dancers and is set to a score by composer Michael Nyman, with sets and costumes by Jean-Marc Puissant and lighting designed by Jennifer Tipton.  The Waltz Project, which had its premiere in 1988, is set to a collection of music by 13 composers including John Cage, Milton Babbitt, Robert Moran and Philip Glass.

Other repertory highlights include: George Balanchine’s BRAHMS-SCHOENBERG QUARTET, set to Brahms’ luxurious score and featuring a cast of 55 dancers;  Jerome Robbins’ IN THE NIGHT, a 1970 work set to solo piano music by Frédéric Chopin, and his silent ballet MOVES;  Peter Martins’ JEU DE CARTES, featuring whimsical scenery and costume designs byIan Falconer, author and illustrator of the adored children’s book series Olivia, and SINFONIA, not seen at SPAC since 1995 and set to a score by Stravinsky.

“New York City Ballet’s Saratoga Season will be a program of brilliant contrasts, with iconic gems like Balanchine’s Symphony in C and Firebird sharing the season with contemporary works by modern masters such as Christopher Wheeldon, Benjamin Millepied and Alexei Ratmansky,” said White.  “The interplay of tradition and innovation will invigorate the season and underscore the breadth of vision that exists in this magnificent art form.”

“In conjunction with this spectacular program, audiences can look forward to the return of our popular series of Pre-Shows including American Girl Night, Family Night, Date Night and Girls Night Out, as well as engaging educational programs like NYCB’s “See the Music” and Children’s Workshops led by NYCB Dancers,” said White. “An evening at SPAC offers limitless opportunities to learn, interact and enjoy; it’s a live arts experience at its very best.”

Ticket prices for the New York City Ballet's SPAC season start at $22 for lawn seating; inside seating ranges from $30 - $75. Online ticket sales begin for SPAC members on Mon, Feb 13 and for the public on Mon, March 12 at

Located in the Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs, NY, SPAC has been the summer home of New York City Ballet since 1966. Just three hours from Boston and New York, SPAC's programming also includes the Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival, Modern Dance, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, Opera Saratoga, Live Nation concerts and the Saratoga Wine & Food and Fall Ferrari Festival.