“God creates, I do not create. I assemble and I steal everywhere to do it — from what I see, from what the dancers can do, from what others do.”
—George Balanchine (1904-1983)
In 1940 George Balanchine, widely recognized as the most influential choreographer of the 20th century, and dance impresario Lincoln Kirstein founded a new dance company called Ballet Society, which gave its first performance in 1946. Two years later Ballet Society officially became known as the New York City Ballet, with its home at New York’s City Center. In 1964 the company moved to the New York State Theater, designed by architect Philip Johnson. The theater was part of the New York City’s newly established Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Recently I attended a performance of “Coppélia” by the New York City Ballet at the company’s renamed home, the David H. Koch Theater. In addition to the brilliant dancing I got to see a unique art installation.
The 6,500-square foot promenade level floor has been covered with a site-specific and company-specific “wrap” by the 30-year-old French artist, JR. Part of New York City Ballet’s 2014 Art Series, dancers from the ballet company are shown, at almost life size, laying amongst crumpled paper. The entire image forms an eye.
This composite whole is created from many photographs, taken by JR. He was inspired when he attended a performance by the company, but remarked that he could not see the dancers’ eyes.
This is yet another example of what I like to call ephemeral New York. It is a sight that is here for a short time; and then it is gone. Not to fret; another will be along soon, perhaps when you visit the Big Apple.