Magazine article Pointe

Stories for the Road

Magazine article Pointe

Stories for the Road

Article excerpt

Dancers Working

Meet New York Theater Ballet, a company that specializes in portable story ballets.

Almost 25 years ago, when Diana Byer founded New York Theatre Ballet, she knew that New York City did not need another enormous ballet company. She decided she would keep her company small to pursue a particular kind of ballet and a unique performance schedule.

Today, the company's 14 dancers and two actors study and perform Cecchetti ballet technique, developed by the Italian master Enrico Cecchetti in the late 19th century. "It is nonacrobatic and nonathletic," says Byer. "It is about technique, style and musicality. It's not about the tricks. It is about what makes dancing an art form."

The focus on artistry shapes NYTB's repertoire. Byer chooses dramatic story ballets such as Cinderella and The Alice In Wonder/and Follies. In the spring the company will perform an evening of Tudor ballets and offer in-studio performances.

Than, as it does each year, the company will tour for nearly three months. "We've been to every single state except Alaska and Hawaii. We've been to Portugal, Guatemala, the Virgin Islands and Canada," says Byer. "We average about 2,000 miles a week, going from place to place, every day a different theater. It is the kind of touring only a small company could do. And the communities are so appreciative. [Our shows are] always packed."

While NYTB does some new choreography, it is most widely revered for its true-to-the-original revivals. "We try to make the revival as much the way it was as we possibly can," Byer says. "Especially if the choreographer is not living, you can't disrespect them by changing the ballet. …

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