BAM - photo by JC Carbonne

Ballet Preljocaj will perform at BAM Nov 7-9                       photo credit: JC Carbonne

Seeing world class modern classical ballet companies like the New York City Ballet or American Ballet Theatre perform during their regular season at Lincoln Center is always a treat but there are other venues to see great ballet and other forms of dance around the city, sometimes at a fraction of the cost.

Brooklyn Academy of Music

Also known as BAM, this cluster of performing art centers includes opera, theatre, film and dance.  Established in 1861, it is somehow still Brooklyn’s best kept secret.  The Peter Jay Sharpe building located at 30 Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn houses the Gillman Opera House and regularly features modern dance performances while the annual Next Wave Festival features culturally diverse avant garde dance companies from around the world.  The best part is that the tickets are reasonably priced for these world-class quality works.  Many tickets start as low as $16 and often the best seats in the house can be had for around $50.  There is also a little German restaurant across the street that is great for a pre-show dinner and drinks.

TIP:  ABT performs The Nutcracker here during the holidays and tickets are much cheaper than the NYCB version.  Both are beautiful.

Joyce Theater

Every seat is good in this small 472 seat theater, located at 175 8th Ave, in the historic Chelsea neighborhood.  Once a porno movie house, the theater underwent a complete renovation and was specifically tailored to meet the needs of dance performers.   The theater features classical and modern ballet from world-renown companies as well as lesser known experimental works.  Tickets start as low as $10 to $80 for popular companies like the Houston Ballet.  It also has special family matinee pricing.

 New York City Center

All the major classical and modern dance companies perform here.  The prices are standard (i.e. pricey) but each year it hosts the Fall for Dance Festival, which features performances by over twenty acclaimed dance companies and artists from around the world.   All tickets are $15, but you have to buy them the day they go on sale because it sells out quickly so put is in your calendar for next year.

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble - Photo by Stan Obert

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble – photo credit: Stan Obert

David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln CenterNew York City Ballet

George Balanchine was without a doubt the greatest choreographer that ever lived and his company is still alive and well and performing at its home in Lincoln Center.  While good seats are generally expensive there are always special events going on that offer less expensive options.  See the calendar for information.

What you may not know is that the NYCB also has Family Saturdays where tickets are only $20 for a family-friendly one hour performances.  There are also 45 minute children’s pre-performance workshops where dancers talk with children ages 5-8 about ballet and get them up to do a little dancing (a tutu was provided when we went).  This is fun because it is usually dancers who will be appearing in the show.  Tickets for this are $12 per person for both parents (who observe) and children.

Lincoln Center –  Metropolitan Opera House – American Ballet Theater

In addition to the regular ballet season at the MET, ABTKids is a special one-hour performance that features child-friendly selections (no Giselle going mad to explain to your kids) that is recommended for children aged 4-12.  This is a great program to introduce your children to classical ballet.  Tickets are $25.  ABT also offers a pre-performance workshop to introduce them to the works that they will see in the show and try out a piece from the choreography.

The Lincoln Out of Doors Festival offers free music, dance and family events during the month of August every year.  What could be better on a beautiful summer night in NYC watching dance under the stars.