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Ballet company of Baryshnikov inks deal with BAM

Move over Lincoln Center, the ballet company of Baryshnikov is coming to Brooklyn.

The American Ballet Theater (ABT) announced last week a five-year partnership with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), in which it will present the Tchaikovsky’s classic, The Nutcracker, in a world premiere starting Dec. 23, 2010.

Under the agreement, the ABT will perform the holiday classic each December through 2014 with an inaugural two-week engagement next year followed by three and four-week engagements in the following seasons.

“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 broaden our reach and engage new audiences in this vibrant community is immeasurably important to ABT and its mission.”

Moore said this mission is to carry on ABT’s tradition with public schools in Brooklyn through its program, ABT at School.

The program, tailored for grades 2-5, sponsors classroom visits by ABT teaching artists to introduce ballet, foster an appreciation for the performing arts and develop and educate future audiences.

Additionally, ABT hosts a series of master classes led by its artistic staff geared specifically toward aspiring young dancers in Brooklyn.

The Nutcracker brings arguably the world’s top ballet troupe to the borough, and it will be choreographed by award winning dancer and choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, who was trained at, and is the former artistic director of The Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow.

The ABT boasts having the world renowned ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov as its artistic director for ten years from 1980-90, shortly after he defected to the United States from Russia.

Underwriting the production is billionaire David H. Koch, who is on the ABT Board of Governing Trustees, and who donated $2.5 million for the Brooklyn Nutcracker production.

BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins called the initiative a win-win-win for the ABT, BAM and the borough.

“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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