David Mead

Highlights of New York City Ballet’s 2015-6 season announced today include seven world premieres, including no fewer than four at the annual Fall Gala, plus runs of Peter Martins’ stagings of “Swan Lake” and Bournonville’s “La Sylphide”.

The Fall season (September 22-October 18) opens with a week of “Swan Lake”. The sold-out houses of 2013, when the ballet was last danced, are sure to be repeated.

The Fall Gala on September 30 will feature four world premieres by NYCB Resident Choreographer and Soloist Justin Peck, corps de ballet member Troy Schumacher, Robert Binet and Myles Thatcher.

Schumacher’s ballet will feature a commissioned score from Ellis Ludwig-Leone, who has previously collaborated with him on several works for, the dance, music, and art collective, BalletCollective, founded by Schumacher and where Ludwig-Leone serves as Composer and Music Director. Ludwig-Leone is also the frontman and composer for the baroque pop band San Fermin, whose self-titled debut album was named one of the “50 Best Albums of 2013” by National Public Radio.

Peck will work with Steve Reich’s “Variations for Vibes, Pianos and Strings” for what will be his ninth work for the company. For his first-ever ballet for NYCB, Canadian-born Binet, Choreographic Associate at The National Ballet of Canada, will work with two movements from “Miroirs” – “Oiseaux Tristes” and “Une Barque sur l’Ocean” – a piano score by Ravel.

Thatcher, a member of the San Francisco Ballet’s corps de ballet, will choreograph to the first movement of William Walton’s “Piano Quartet in d minor”, for his first-ever work for NYCB. Thatcher is currently one of seven artists participating in the 2014-15 Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative, which matches emerging artists in various disciplines with established artists working in the same fields. He was selected for the program by his mentor, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, and has spent the last year observing Ratmansky at work on various projects, including time at NYCB while Ratmansky was choreographing “Pictures at an Exhibition” for the 2014 Fall Season.

Fall also sees a world premiere ballet by Kim Brandstrup on October 8, the highly-regarded Danish-born, British-based choreographer’s first-ever work for an American dance company. It will be set to Debussy’s “Jeux”, the French composer’s last orchestral work, which was commissioned by Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes.

Brandstrup, who studied film at the University of Copenhagen, founded Arc Dance Company in Britain in 1985 where he created numerous works over a span of 20 years, since creating numerous ballets for major companies throughout Europe. In Britain he has received two Olivier Awards, for Outstanding Achievement in Dance in 1990 (“Orfeo” for London Contemporary Dance Theatre) and for Best New Dance Creation in 2010 (“Goldberg: The Rojo/Branstrup Project”).

The Fall Season will include two All-Balanchine programs, a program featuring the works of five American composers, and a program featuring Balanchine’s commedia dell’arte story ballet “Harlequinade” alongside Robbins’ “N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz”.

The annual engagement of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” commences November 27, the ballet running to January 3, 2016.

The Winter Season (January 19-February 28) with an evening designed by Martins and NYCB’s new Music Director Andrew Litton to celebrate the music of three American composers who have had a major influence on Litton’s career: Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, and George Gershwin.

The season includes a world premiere by Justin Peck (to a commissioned score by Bryce Dessner with sets and costumes designed by Marcel Dzama) as part of the annual New Combinations Evening on February 2. Peck will create his first-ever narrative ballet, based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Most Incredible Thing”, the story of a young man who creates a magnificent clock in an effort to win a contest and the incredible consequences that ensue. It will also be Peck’s largest work to date featuring more than 50 dancers, including 11 children from the School of American Ballet. The New Combinations Program will also feature the new Schumacher, Binet and Thatcher ballets, and the return of Christopher Wheeldon’s “Estancia”.

The Winter Season will include the annual celebration of George Balanchine’s birthday – “Saturday at the Ballet with George” – on January 23. The festivities will include two All-Balanchine programs, pre-performance talks and other special events.

Another winter highlight is the return of Peter Martins’ staging of August Bournonville’s “La Sylphide”, which will be performed with Balanchine’s “Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2” for eight performances from February 12-19.

The 2016 Spring Season (April 19-May 29) includes the final World premiere of 2015-16, to be created by Christopher Wheeldon, to debut at the Spring Gala on May 4. Details, including the score, will be announced nearer the time. The season also includes a number of performances of “Jewels”, while a Contemporary Choreographers program will consist of Wheeldon’s “Estancia”, Ratmansky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”, and Peck’s “Everywhere We Go”. Other highlights include an American Music program and one consisting of Bournonville’s “Bournonville Divertissements”, Robbins’ “Moves”, and Balanchine’s “Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux” and “Symphony in Three Movements”. As usual, the final week will feature Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.