Baryshnikov’s ballet company inks deal with BAM

Councilwoman Letitia James clowns around with a mouse at Monday’s announcement of a partnership between the American Ballet Theater and BAM.
Gene Schiavone

Move over Lincoln Center, Baryshnikov’s old ballet company is coming to Brooklyn.

The American Ballet Theater announced last Monday that it had entered into a five-year pas de deux with the Brooklyn Academy of Music — and borough dance lovers will get their first sugarplum from the deal when ABT presents Tchaikovsky’s classic, “The Nutcracker,” next December.

“BAM is an extraordinary institution, committed to artistic excellence, and we cannot think of a better collaborator for our performances in Brooklyn,” said ABT Executive Director Rachel Moore. “The opportunity to engage new audiences in this vibrant community is immeasurably important to ABT and its mission.”

That mission includes programs in public schools that are tailored for grades 2–5 and foster an appreciation for the performing arts (and, not coincidentally, create the next generation of paying audiences).

ABT’s “Nutcracker” is choreographed by former Bolshoi bigwig Alexei Ratmansky. Decades ago, ABT’s calling card was its artistic director, the high-stepping Soviet defector Mikhail Baryshnikov, who ran ABT from 1980 to 90.

On Monday, BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins gushed about the new alliance with one of the world’s best-loved ballet troupes.

“These performances will thrill audiences of all ages and provide residual benefits to business establishments in the BAM neighborhood at large,” she said.

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