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NYCB is Honoring Robbins—And Commissioning an SAB Student

PC Paul Kolnik

Imagine being a student at the School of American Ballet, looking up to the dancers at New York City Ballet and hoping to one day join their ranks. Then imagine teaching your choreography to those dancers, and watching them perform it at the company's fall fashion gala.


SAB student Gianna Reisen will have this surreal experience this fall. The company just announced that its 2017-18 season will include a new ballet from Reisen along with premieres from Lauren Lovette, Justin Peck, Troy Schumacher and Peter Walker, all current NYCB company members.

Reisen, photo by Kenneth Edwards

Reisen has previously choreographed for SAB's Student Choreography Workshop and the New York Choreographic Institute. And for ballet master in chief Peter Martins to have picked her out from the many talented NYCI participants, we're guessing she's something special. But has any major company ever commissioned mainstage work from such a young artist?

SAB students performing Reisen's work. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

The company is banking on in-house talent in an unprecedented way. But they're also celebrating a legendary in-house talent from the past: co-founding choreographer Jerome Robbins. The spring season will mark the centennial of Robbins' birth, and the company is throwing him the ultimate birthday party. Robbins 100 will include no less than 19 works by the choreographer, as well as a world premiere by Justin Peck in honor of Robbins.

Robbins' The Goldberg Variations. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

And of course, the season will include a generous number of Balanchine favorites, including Symphony in Three Movements, Agon, Concerto Barocco, Apollo and Square Dance, as well as additional works by Peck, Martins, Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Benjamin Millepied, Mauro Bigonzetti, Nicolas Blanc and Angelin Preljocaj.

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