It was a historic event. The New York City Ballet performed at the David H. Koch Theater on Tuesday, September 21st for the first time in 18 months. The audience was entirely vaccinated, entirely masked, and even more revved up than a Fall for Dance crowd. Dance legends were scattered all around, Edward Villella sat prominently in the first row. It was a cathartic evening. The outpouring of love for the dancers and the musicians was immense. Each ballet received three curtain calls and a standing ovation. Confetti fell from the rafters at the end. It was wondrous to behold. Was it the best performance? Not by a long shot. But how could it be? The dancers had spent a year doing ballet barres in their kitchens. There’s a reason “work from home” has never been an option for a ballet dancer in the history of the art form. But it was a show I felt lucky to bear witness to, and one that will stay with me.
New York City Ballet in “Symphony in C” by George Balanchine. Photograph by Erin Baiano