New York City Ballet Returns To SPAC With A Balanchine-Heavy Program

Saratoga may be known for its health, history and horses, but we think ballet should be added to that list. This week, the New York City Ballet (NYCB) is returning for its annual summer residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) with four different programs spread out over just five days. Lace up your ballet flats, because NYCB’s 2019 season is looking totally en pointe.

The kickoff to the NYCB’s residency will be on Tuesday, July 16 with an evening dedicated to works by George Balanchine, famed Russian choreographer/dancer and the company’s co-founder, and Romantic-era composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, who wrote several ballets, including the immensely popular The Nutcracker. (Catch a matinee performance of this program on Thursday, July 18.)

Wednesday, July 17 will feature an eclectic performance consisting exclusively of 21st-century composers. On the program are three very new works, including two SPAC premieres: Varied Trio (in four), a collection of short dances set to the music of minimalist American composer Lou Harrison; and choreographer Kyle Abraham’s The Runaway, which fuses an incredible soundtrack, featuring hip-hop artists Jay-Z and Kanye West, contemporary composer Nico Muhly and English singer-songwriter James Blake.

Then NYCB will bring the laughs (really!) with three performances of Coppélia on Thursday, July 18 and Friday, July 19. Due to the excessive heat forecast for the region this weekend, the Saturday, July 20 matinee performance has been canceled. “While we’re saddened to have to cancel the performance by our beloved New York City Ballet, the health and safety of both the performers and our audiences is of utmost importance,” says SPAC President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol. Considered one of the funniest and happiest ballets of the 19th century, this version of Coppélia revised by Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova has a close history with SPAC, which not only premiered the work in 1974, but also originally commissioned it.

Continuing as scheduled (heat or no heat), NYCB will close out its stay in the Spa City with its annual Ballet Gala—Apollo and the Muses: a Summer Celebration. The gala will start at 6pm on Saturday and include gourmet food and craft cocktail stations, as well as a lawn party featuring outdoor picnics and thematic tents (and yes, fireworks). Immediately following the gala will be the final performance of the NYCB’s 2019 residency, Balanchine’s Apollo, Christopher Wheeldon’s This Bitter Earth and a new collaboration between NYCB’s Resident Choreographer Justin Peck and Oscar-nominated indie artist Sufjan Stevens, entitled Principia.

For an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at NYCB’s annual load-in day at SPAC, click on the gallery of photos above, taken by saratoga living staff photographer Francesco D’Amico.

Saratoga Race Course Update

All track season long, saratoga living‘s Calendar will feature a special section here, where we’ll be updating you on all the stakes races and racing-related events happening at Saratoga Race Course and in and around the city.

Unfortunately, due to the incoming heatwave, all races on Saturday, July 20 at Saratoga Race Course have been canceled. However, there’s still plenty more to do at the track, and none of the other racing days have been affected.

Saratoga Visit Day – Wednesday, July 17 – During the track’s first Saratoga Visit Day in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion, guests will learn about the Spa City’s bevy of incredible cultural attractions such as the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame; Saratoga Arts District; Saratoga Spa State Park (including the Saratoga Automobile Museum); and Yaddo Gardens.

Pay a visit to The Porch at Saratoga Race Course on Thursday, July 18 for breakfast and a 30 Year Celebration of the Backstretch Employee Service Team (BEST), which provides mental health and substance abuse programming to backstretch workers. This year, BEST will be honoring retired racing announcer and long-time supporter, Tom Durkin.

Also at Saratoga Race Course every Thursday and Sunday is the Low Roller Challenge, which allows aspiring handicappers the chance to experience the thrill of a professional horseplaying tournament for just a $40 buy-in. And this Sunday only, guests are invited to Brunch and Bubbly at The Rail at track’s brand new 1863 Club.

Outside the track, don’t miss out on Saratoga Polo Association’s Veuve Clicquot Challenge Tournaments at historic Whitney Field in Greenfield Center on Friday, July 19 and Sunday, July 21.

On Saturday, July 20 the New York Sire Stakes will host a seminar for those interested in Standardbred horse ownership at the Saratoga Raceway in the Saratoga Casino Hotel.

For all of you Thoroughbred horseplayers out there, here are the stakes races on tap for the week:

Wednesday, July 17
$100,000 Rick Violette

Thursday, July 18
$100,000 Stillwater

Friday, July 19
Grade 3, $150,000 Lake George

Saturday, July 20
All races canceled due to heat

Sunday, July 21
Grade 3, $200,000 Shuvee Handicap

Think that’s everything? Think again. Summers in Saratoga are magical, and there’s always something more to do.


Be sure to save some room for Mama Mia’s 7th Annual Hay, Oats and Spaghetti Equine Charity Benefit at the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga (July 15)

The Summerland Family Concert series will present Laurel and Hardy Shorts at the Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls (July 15)


Don’t miss a Decoda Faculty Performance of Stravinsky, Brahms and Snider at Skidmore’s Arthur Zankel Music Center in Saratoga (July 16)

Take part in iRun LOCAL’s Saratoga Running Tour, starting at 425 Broadway in Saratoga (July 16 and 18)


Stroll through the Hall of Springs in Saratoga Spa State Park to enjoy Freihofer’s Live at the Jazz Bar with the Useless Cans (July 17)

Bring the family to Whiz, Bang, Pop: Adventures in Science, a children’s STEM fair at Saratoga Springs Public Library (July 17)

Proctors Theatre in Schenectady will present a special one-night-only screening of Between Me and My Mind about Phish guitarist and vocalist Trey Anastasio (July 17)

Catch the Clifton Park’s Performing Arts Family Series: Mr. Mike and the Big Red Box of Magic at Clifton Common Stage (July 17)


The second annual REVEAL Art Fair kicks off at the Saratoga Springs City Center with a weekend full of beautiful contemporary art (July 18-21)

The Curtain Call Theatre in Latham presents the humorous and emotional Love Letters by A. R. Gurney (July 18 through August 10)

The New York City-based ensemble Decoda will perform at Skidmore’s Tang Museum as part of the college’s free Upbeat on the Roof concert series (every Thursday through August 22)

Join local favorite musician Pat Decker as he performs on the patio at Putnam Place in Saratoga every Thursday during track season (July 18 through August 29)


Don’t miss the kick-off to Grammy-winner John Mayer’s Summer Tour 2019 at Albany’s Times Union Center (July 19)

Embrace summer in Saratoga during the 65 Rose Summer Soirée at Saratoga National Golf Club (July 19)

The Linda in Albany is proud to present The Chicago Afrobeat Project (July 19)

The Aston Magna Music Festival will perform a program of Henry Purcell music at Time & Space Limited in Hudson (July 19)

Visit Lakota’s Farm in Cambridge for a Farm to Table Dinner, plus art, live music and a bonfire (July 19)

The Saratoga Shakespeare Company will launch its Shakespeare in the Parks summer season with The Tempest at Spa State Park (July 19-20)

Celebrate the summer NYC style at Pinknic, a two-day festival of live music and artists plus snazzy food, drinks and a VIP pool lounge at Randall’s Island Park (July 19-20)

Charles R. Wood Theater in Glens Falls presents Start Again, a powerful new musical about overcoming grief (July 19-20)


Dress in your best white cocktail attire for the Fifth Annual White Party to benefit the Alzheimers Association at the Saratoga Winery (July 20)

The Lyric Consort performs an a cappella concert, “Music from the Americas,” at The Sembrich Studio in Bolton Landing (July 20)

The new Women in Racing exhibit opens at the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga (July 20)

TrueSongs is a new program created by Caffè Lena that presents true stories and songs about the bridge between the arts and social services (July 20)

Enjoy barbecue, free live music and summer safety tips during the Summer Celebration & Safety Day at Albany’s Upper Lincoln Park (July 20)

New Street Fest is bringing a whole lot of entertainment to Downtown Saranac Lake (July 20)

Catch the final game of arena football season in the Capital Region with Albany Empire vs. Philadelphia Soul at Albany’s Times Union Center (July 20)

The Taj Mahal Quartet plays a 50th Anniversary Concert for their double album Giant Step/De Ole Folks at Home at The Egg in Albany (July 20)

Immerse yourself in a day of beautiful art at the first annual Summer Arts Fest at The Mansion of Saratoga (July 20)

OZY Fest in Central Park is an interactive festival, featuring an eclectic lineup, which includes Grammy-winning artist John Legend (July 20-21)


Heart brings its Love Alive Tour along with special guest Sheryl Crow to SPAC (July 21)

Stock up on honey and other goodies during the Sweet Bee’s Honey Festival at Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center (July 21)

Take the edge off the heat with the NYC Summer Ice Cream Blizzard at the Grand Bazaar in Manhattan (July 21)

Enjoy two performances (2pm and 6pm) of an Afternoon of Irish Music at the Little Theater on the Farm in Fort Edward (July 21)

Catch a day full of free music at the Lake George Beach Club with local bands Lake Effect, Glen Creek and more (July 21)

The Seventh Wave presents the Birches Lit Fest 2019 at the Art at the Birches in Rhinebeck (July 21)

Hard rockers Godsmack return to the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls (July 21)

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