The American Ballet Theater (ABT) has called off its 2020 spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House, which was scheduled to take place from May 11 through July 4, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The season would have marked the company’s eightieth anniversary with performances paying tribute to its rich history. Programming was slated to include “ABT Then and Now,” the New York Premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Of Love and Rage, Natalia Makarova’s La Bayadère, and productions of Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, the Sleeping Beauty, Jane Eyre, and Swan Lake.
The announcement follows the cancelation of ABT’s spring tour engagements in Chicago, Durham, Abu Dhabi, and Detroit. Subscription ticket holders for ABT’s 2020 spring season will have the option to donate the value of their tickets to support ABT, to receive credit for future performances, or to request a refund. The company is currently projecting losses of approximately $18 million in revenue from touring fees, ticket sales, and related public programming.
“While the impossibility of proceeding with our season is deeply painful, protecting the health and well-being of our ABT artists, crew, musicians, staff, and audience members is paramount,” said Kara Medoff Barnett, ABT’s executive director. To aid performers and those who will be out of work as of result of the cancelations, the company established the ABT Crisis Relief Fund, which will provide supplemental benefits and financial support to the company’s artists.
American Ballet Theater’s spring gala, originally scheduled for May 18 is also being postponed. The fundraising event will now kick off the company’s fall season at the David H. Koch Theater, which will run from October 21–November 1. ABT’s artistic director, Kevin McKenzie, said that the gala’s program will “celebrate the diversity of ABT’s repertoire and the dynamism of our dancers.”
McKenzie added, “We look forward to honoring the company’s eight decades of artistry with highlights from our beloved classics as well as world premieres. We may be hunkering down now, but our creators are busy dreaming and planning for the future.”