It’s hard to explain the School of American Ballet’s annual Workshop performances to outsiders. Workshop is a year-end ballet recital, but when the students’ families gather in the lobby afterwards to shower their children with flowers and tell them that they were wonderful—and just like real ballerinas—they are speaking the truth. This year, the advanced levels at SAB danced the Fourth Movement and Finale from George Balanchine’s “Symphony in C,” a feat that many professional companies cannot pull off. It is a technically demanding piece that requires at least forty bodies, including twelve men who can do triple pirouettes. Many troupes don’t have that depth. SAB had it even though the New York City Ballet siphoned off nine dancers from the top class over the course of this year to bolster its Covid-depleted ranks. SAB also presented a world premiere by alumna Gianna Reisen, an in-demand choreographer to major companies.
Students of the School of American Ballet in “Signs” by Gianna Reisen for SAB Workshop. Photograph by Rosalie O'Connor