Live From Lincoln Center Features School of American Ballet Performance Tonight

For the first time on Live From Lincoln Center, the curtain will be drawn back on one of the world's premier ballet academies - the School of American Ballet - with the presentation of the School's 50th Annual Workshop Performance. Taped during a live event in May 2014, this coming broadcast will feature performances and rare behind-the-scenes footage, demonstrating the legacy and continuing tradition of the excellence fostered at this prestigious academy and showcasing the talented dancers of the future. Live From Lincoln Center's 40th anniversary season presentation of the "Curtain Up: The School of American Ballet Workshop Performances" will air tonight, December 12, 2014 at 9:00 p.m. on PBS (*check local listings), hosted by Audra McDonald.

This past Spring, the 50th Annual Workshop featured a program specially chosen to recognize the School's co-founder George Balanchine and former faculty member Alexandra Danilova, who together launched SAB's first year-end student showcase in 1965. The all-Balanchine program, which was presented at Lincoln Center's Peter Jay Sharp Theater, included the seminal Serenade as well as excerpts from such famous works as Coppélia, Swan Lake, and Western Symphony. These excerpts were taught by some of the world's most-acclaimed instructors and foremost stagers of Balanchine's work, including Peter Martins and Darci Kistler, who also appear in this broadcast, talking about the school and its history, the works, and the dancers to be featured. This broadcast represents the first-ever School of American Ballet presentation on Live From Lincoln Center.

The School of American Ballet (SAB), the official training academy of the New York City Ballet, was founded by Lincoln Kirstein and legendary choreographer George Balanchine in 1934 as the first and most essential step in their mission to establish a uniquely American classical ballet company. Since its founding, SAB has elevated the quality of American dance and is today the premier ballet academy in the United States, training more students who go on to become professional dancers than any other institution. At the end of each school year, advanced students are selected to perform in the School's Spring Workshop, which is presented in this broadcast, providing audiences a unique opportunity to witness the pre-professional debuts of the nation's most talented ballet students as they prepare to embark on professional ballet careers with notable companies in the U.S. and abroad.

This episode of Live From Lincoln Center is directed for television by Matthew Diamond, who also directed The Nance which aired earlier in this anniversary season as well as Dance in America, as well as documentary segments contributed by Elliot Caplan, the filmmaker in residence at the Cunningham Dance Company from 1983-1998). The executive producer of the Live From Lincoln Center series is Andrew C. Wilk.

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