A Treat for Travelers: The Amazing Ballet Scene in New York City
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A Treat for Travelers: The Amazing Ballet Scene in New York City

Published: June 10th, 2015

For you ballet lovers and music lovers, the ballet scene in New York is a wonderful place to be and can always keep you on your toes! With Lincoln Center being a nice walk or a short car ride away, what a great way to spend your night!

This year’s spring season, American Ballet Theatre’s 75th anniversary season, at the Metropolitan Opera House began on May 11th and will run through July 4th. Upcoming ballets to be performed are The Sleeping Beauty (June 8-13), Romeo and Juliet (June 15-20), Swan Lake (June 22-27) and Cinderella (June 29-July 4).

American Ballet Theatre is a classical ballet company in New York City and has been performing at the Metropolitan Opera House (pictured below) at Lincoln Center since 1977.


Now widely known as one of the world’s leading classical ballet companies, American Ballet Theatre was founded in 1937 by Lucia Chase and Mikhail Mordkin. Mordkin had previously been a dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet in Russia. Upon leaving Russia after the October Revolution, he settled in the United States, where, in 1924, he staged the country’s first production of Swan Lake. In 1937, formed the “Mordkin Ballet” with students from his New York school and made Lucia Chase, one of his students, one of his prima ballerinas.

By summer 1939, big ideas were made to turn the company into a full-fledged ballet company. One of the plans was to base it on many dances rather than just the vision of one choreographer. Dancers from various countries, but mainly Russia, America and England, were recruited to the company.

Chase and the manager eventually changed the name of the company to “Ballet Theatre” before 1957 when they changed its name again to “American Ballet Theatre” and continued its focus on classical ballet.


When Mikhail Baryshnikov became the Artistic Director in 1980, he staged, restaged and refurbished many classical ballets, strengthening their classical tradition.

julie_kent_ nutcracker

This year, Julie Kent (pictured above), one of ABT’s principal dancers, is retiring. Born in Bethesda, Maryland, Kent was inspired to become a ballet dancer through her mother who had been a ballet dancer and ballet teacher. Kent trained under Hortensia Fonesca at the Academy of the Maryland Youth Ballet, American Ballet Theatre II summer school and The School of American Ballet.

Kent joined ABT as an apprentice in 1985. In 1986 she became a member of the company’s corps de ballet, was promoted to soloist in 1990 and then promoted to principal dancer in 1993. Her farewell performance will be on Saturday, June 20th at 8 p.m. and she will be performing as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.


New York, however, is not the only great place to go to experience such wonderful dancing and music. The Hungarian Opera House (pictured above), which is only a short walk away from our new Aria Hotel Budapest, houses the Hungarian National Ballet, a classical ballet dance company based in Budapest. The Hungarian National Ballet‘s repertoire ranges from popular classical works to Hungarian choreographic legacy top modern pieces. Even Budapest can keep you on your toes!

Our Musical Director, Kornél Magyar, oversees all musical programming and guest experiences at the hotel. He curates the hotel’s music library collection, uses his relationships throughout the city to liaison partnerships with music venues in the neighboring area and coordinates musical experiences, including ballet, for our guests.

If you have a passion for ballet and music as we do, please feel welcome to share your recommendations for your fellow travelers and our team! If you need any assistance in exploring your passion for ballet in New York City, the concierges at the Casablanca Hotel in Times Square, the Library Hotel, the Hotel Giraffe and the Hotel Elysee will all be delighted to help you with any arrangements you need to make your stay memorable.