New York Theatre Ballet for Family Audiences - Once Upon a Ballet

New York Theater Ballet (NYTB) presents "Once Upon a Ballet" - a delightful season of ballets specifically designed for family audiences. Its annual series of hour-long ballets is unique among ballet companies, perfectly suited for children, but entertaining and clever enough for the most discerning parent. NYTB founder Diana Byer created these charming ballets in the early 1980's with the encouragement of Muppets creator Jim Henson.

For 2016-2017, NYTB presents innovative versions of four storybook classics. With stunning costumes, enchanting sets and ingenius choreography, these performances are ideal for family audiences. 

The Alice-in-Wonderland Follies - Follow Alice's adventures through Wonderland as she meets some of the most beloved characters in children's literature.  Presented in a vaudeville setting, this eclectic ballet draws on many different dance forms - from Irish Step Dancing to African Juba to classical ballet - all of which combine to make a highly entertaining show.

Cinderella – With a Dancing Clock, wacky Stepsisters and everyone’s favorite princess, Cinderella features choreography by Donald Mahler, costumes by Metropolitan Opera’s Resident Costume Designer, Sylvia Taalsohn Nolan and sets by Gillian Bradshaw Smith.

Keith Michael's The Nutcracker - From clockwork imps to a luminous owl that flies above the audience, mice dressed in polka dots and dancers dancing with huge chopsticks, this timeless, re-imagined classic bursts with energy and excitement.  This holiday ballet, danced to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, is set in Art Nouveau style circa 1907 with innovative choreography by long-time NYTB choreographer, Keith Michael; set design by Gillian Bradshaw-Smith; and costumes by Resident Costume Designer of the Metropolitan Opera, Sylvia Taalsohn Nolan.

 **Any of NYTB’s one-hour programs can be combined with additional repertory to make a full two-hour performance.

**NYTB is a unique company that brings unique experiences to your local community:

- Special performances targeted to family audiences, together with adult repertory evenings showcasing the best in new contemporary choreography alongside revivals of great masterpieces.

- One-hour programming for local schools. In-school classes which can be geared to current curriculum and classes in all dance disciplines at local dance schools.      

- Lectures, meet & greets, talk backs and other activities tailored to local tastes.

- Residencies for college dance programs including teaching repertory and coaching.

- NYTB’s Artistic Director Diana Byer will do a pre-show introduction for all shows and, following each performance, the Company will be available for Q&A sessions. Diana Byer is also available for lecture and Q&A sessions for parents called “Help! My Child Wants To Be A Dancer.”

New York Theatre Ballet was founded in 1978 by its artistic director, Diana Byer. NYTB performs chamber ballet masterpieces and new works by emerging choreographers and innovative one-hour ballets for children. The Company has a strong commitment to reach underserved children and families through its pioneering LIFT Community Service Program and to tour to smaller cities and venues where dance is infrequently performed. NYTB has toured from coast to coast and internationally for over 35 years. Its performances often introduce audiences for the first time to ballets created by the great masters, as well as to its popular one-hour story ballets. NYTB has been hailed by the New York Times’ Alastair Macaulay as “an invaluable company.” Its performances, often to live music and in small venues, allow audiences to experience dance in an intimate, highly personal way. Its roster includes classic ballets by Frederick Ashton, Merce Cunningham, Agnes de Mille, José Limón, Jerome Robbins, Antony Tudor, James Waring and bold new works by Richard Alston, Nicolo Fonte, Antonia Franceschi and Pam Tanowitz.


About NYTB


New York Theatre Ballet’s mission is to perform small classic masterpieces and new contemporary works for adults and innovative hour-long ballets for young children, all at affordable prices. The mission is carried out in the work of the Professional Company, its Ballet School NY and its LIFT Community Service Program. Together these divisions reach adults and family audiences across the country building a love for dance and diverse audiences for the future.


New York Theatre Ballet was founded in 1978 by its artistic director, Diana Byer. It is the most widely seen chamber ballet company in the United States. “New York Theatre ballet confirms its status as an invaluable company,” says Alastair Macaulay of The New York Times.NYTB has earned national acclaim for its restoration and revival of small masterworks by great choreographers and for its innovative hour-long ballets based on children’s literature.

NYTB tours family and adult programs both nationally and abroad. Its audiences know the Company for its theatrical expressiveness, high production quality, and intimate accessibility to every audience member.


For 35 years, NYTB has produced, for adult and family audiences, dozens of classic masterpieces and contemporary ballets. Its roster includes dances by Frederick Ashton, Merce Cunningham, Agnes de Mille, José Limón and Antony Tudor. NYTB has appeared with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall to sold out audiences and has performed at dance venues such as Jacob’s Pillow, Kaatsbaan and New York’s City Center.


Public Audiences: Ages 3 and up

Schools: Pre-K through 5th grade

Through the performance and specially tailored pre-show presentation, young audience members should expect to engage with:

• Performing Arts and Theater: dance vocabulary and history, set and costume design, stage lighting and visual effects, thinking symbolically, nonverbal communication, attention to detail, awareness of careers behind the scenes as well as on stage

• Music: classical and contemporary compositions, how characters, ideas, and states of mind can be represented in a score and reflected in dance

• Literature and Storytelling: classic fairytales and modern reinventions, relating empathetically to characters

• Imagination and Creativity: recognizing his or her own innate ability to communicate through movement and tell stories creatively

• Interdisciplinary Awareness: knowledge that different artistic disciplines work together to create meaning

• Fitness and Health: recognizing that movement is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle


The New York Times calls NYTB's production of The Nutcracker a "charming production that sheds light on what constitutes 'kid friendly': bright colors, quick scene changes, lots of props and an atmosphere tolerant of chattering, squealing audience members..." Read the full review here.

Broadway World calls Goose! "another enchanting jewel in the crown of witty and wonderful ballets by [NYTB choreographer] Keith Michael." Read the full review here.