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New York City Ballet's Spring 2014 Gala to Feature Sufjan Stevens, CAROUSEL and Kristen Bell, 5/8; Spring Season Announced!

New York City Ballet's Spring 2014 Gala to Feature Sufjan Stevens, CAROUSEL and Kristen Bell, 5/8; Spring Season Announced!

New York City Ballet's 2014 Spring Season will open on Tuesday, April 29, with a one-week Festival of 21st Century Choreographers featuring 11 ballets by 10 different choreographers - Mauro Bigonzetti, William Forsythe, Peter Martins, Benjamin Millepied, Justin Peck, Angelin Preljocaj, Alexei Ratmansky, Liam Scarlett, Richard Tanner, and Christopher Wheeldon - as well the world premiere of a pièce d'occasion by the artist JR, which will debut on opening night.

The Spring Season will also pay tribute to the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Company's home at Lincoln Center, the David H. Koch Theater (originally named the New York State Theater), which opened its doors in 1964. In addition to special events and programs throughout the season, NYCB's 2014 Spring Gala on May 8 will celebrate the anniversary year with a one-time-only program both honoring the theater's history and celebrating its future, highlighted by a world premiere collaboration from choreographer and NYCB Soloist Justin Peck and the acclaimed American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens, who NYCB has commissioned to write a new score for the ballet.

The season will also feature the return of Benjamin Millepied's most recent work for the Company, Neverwhere, on May 27. Neverwhere is set to a score by Nico Muhly, one of Millepied's frequent collaborators, and features costumes designed by the Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen. The work has not been seen since its premiere at the Company's one-time-only Fall Gala performance in September 2013.

Other highlights of the season include two all-Balanchine repertory programs; the first, debuting on May 6, will feature Raymonda Variations, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Le Tombeau de Couperin, and Symphony in C; the second, debuting on May 14, will feature Robert Schumann's "Davidsbu?ndlerta?nze" and Union Jack. The spring will also include an all-Robbins program, consisting of Glass Pieces, Opus 19/The Dreamer, and The Concert, which will debut on May 9. Balanchine's Jewels will also be performed, as well as his full-length production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which will close the spring with a week of performances from June 3 through 8.

Festival of 21st Century Choreographers, April 29-May 4, 2014

The 2014 Spring Season will open with a special week of performances dedicated to the work of 21st century choreographers, featuring 11 ballets by 10 different choreographers as well as an original theatrical work conceived and directed by JR, the prize-winning artist and creator of NYCB's 2014 Art Series installation, The Eye of New York City Ballet.

The Festival of 21st Century Choreographers will feature performances of Peter Martins' Barber Violin Concerto, Christopher Wheeldon's This Bitter Earth, William Forsythe's Herman Schmerman Pas de Deux, and Alexei Ratmansky's Namouna, A Grand Divertissement on April 29 at 7:30 pm, May 2 at 8 pm, and May 4 at 2 pm; Justin Peck's Year of the Rabbit, Angelin Preljocaj's La Stravaganza and Christopher Wheeldon's DGV: Danse a? Grande Vitesse on April 30 at 7:30 pm and May 3 at 2 pm; and Mauro Bigonzetti's Vespro, Richard Tanner's Sonatas and Interludes, Benjamin Millepied's Two Hearts and Liam Scarlett's Acheron on May 1 at 7:30 pm, and May 3 at 8 pm.

World Premiere by Artist JR, April 29, 2014

JR's new work titled Les Bosquets will premiere on Tuesday, April 29, the opening night of the spring season, and will be performed at all performances during the opening week, Tuesday, April 29 through Sunday, May 4, with the exception of the 2 pm matinee on Saturday, May 3.

An eight-minute pièce d'occasion set to an original score composed for the New York City Ballet Orchestra by acclaimed musical artist Woodkid, the work will feature more than 40 NYCB dancers as well as Guest Artist Lil Buck, the Memphis jookin dancer who has worked with such diverse artists as Madonna and Yo-Yo Ma. The work will also feature video projections and costumes by JR (created in collaboration with Marc Happel, NYCB's Director of Costumes), and lighting by Mark Stanley, NYCB's Resident Lighting Director. The premiere will mark JR's debut as a theatrical director, and he is working with NYCB Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins to translate his ideas for the stage.

The original work has been inspired by JR's own experiences during the 2005 riots in the Parisian suburbs, where his photographs of young people from the neighborhood were illegally pasted on the streets of the housing projects where they lived. These streets, in the eastern suburbs of Paris, later became the epicenter of the riots, with one of JR's images, which took up the entire width of an apartment building, providing an unexpected visual backdrop as the outbreak of the riots was documented by media outlets around the world.

JR, who is best known for his grand-scale public photography projects, was the recipient of the prestigious TED Prize in 2011, and most recently created a site-specific art installation for NYCB's 2014 Art Series. The centerpiece of the installation was a 6,500 square foot image featuring photographs of more than 80 NYCB dancers, called The Eye of New York City Ballet, which blanketed the Promenade of the David H. Koch Theater throughout the Company's 2014 winter season.

Special 50th Anniversary Programming and Events

Spring 2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Company's home at Lincoln Center, the David H. Koch Theater (originally named the New York State Theater), which opened its doors in 1964. In honor of the anniversary year, NYCB will host a series of special programs, performances and events during the Company's spring season, highlighting the history and future of the iconic building as well as the dancers and repertory that have been integral to the Company's tenure at Lincoln Center. For more information about programs celebrating the Company's 50th Anniversary at Lincoln Center visit nycballet.com.

2014 Spring Gala, May 8, 2014

The Company's 2014 Spring Gala on May 8, sponsored by Vacheron Constantin, will feature a special one-time-only performance designed by NYCB Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins, to pay tribute to the theater's Anniversary as well as celebrate the Company and theater's future with a World Premiere ballet by choreographer Justin Peck and composer Sufjan Stevens. The first half of the evening will feature works that were performed at the theater's inaugural performances in April 1964, including George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante (created in 1956 to music by Tschaikovsky), Igor Stravinsky's Fanfare for a New Theater (composed in 1964 for the opening of the theater), and an excerpt from Rodgers and Hammerstein's beloved 1945 Broadway Carousel (performed at the 1964 inaugural performance by The Music Theater of Lincoln Center, one of the original resident companies of the New York State Theater). The Carousel musical performance will be performed by actress and singer Kristen Bell.

Bell, whose studied musical theater at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, recently voiced the starring role of Princess Anna in Disney's Oscar-winning animated film Frozen. She made her Broadway debut as Becky Thatcher in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 2001, and is best known as the title character Veronica Mars in both the television series and feature film. Bell has also appeared in numerous films and television projects, including Showtime's House of Lies, When in Rome, and the title character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Everywhere We Go - World Premiere Ballet by Justin Peck and Sufjan Stevens, May 8, 2014

The second half of the Spring Gala program on May 8 will feature a world premiere ballet by choreographer and NYCB Soloist Justin Peck, set to a commissioned score by the acclaimed American singer- songwriter Sufjan Stevens, which will be performed by the New York City Ballet Orchestra. Peck and Stevens previously collaborated on Year of the Rabbit, which was created for NYCB in 2012. This will be the sixth work that Peck has choreographed for NYCB in the past two years.

The new Peck/Stevens ballet, Everywhere We Go, is being created for 25 dancers and will feature costumes designed by Janie Taylor, the former NYCB Principal Dancer who retired from dancing with the Company at the end of the 2013 Winter Season. The ballet will also feature a set designed by Karl Jensen, a Brooklyn-based sculptor and architect, with lighting design by Brandon Baker, who also created the lighting for Year of the Rabbit.

Single tickets for the spring repertory performances start at $29. Tickets for all performances and events can be obtained at the theater's box office, at nycballet.com and by phone at 212-496-0600. All performances take place at the David H. Koch Theater, which is located on the Lincoln Center Plaza at Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street. For general information on tickets for any New York City Ballet performances, call 212-496-0600, or visit nycballet.com.

Pictured: Kristen Bell. Photo by Picture Perfect/Rob LaTour/REX USA.

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