Attend New York City Ballet — in a sensitive way 1


On a day when five highly sensitive creatures — a cluster of the British monarchy’s beautifully bred military horses — got “spooked” (an actual term for when horses react and skitter and scamper) and proceeded to throw their riders and gallop around London causing havoc, it’s time for human beings face the limits of our own sensory overload. The horses reacted to the shattering sound of a humongous load of cement being dumped on a construction site. Certainly, you’d imagine, there would be no such aural or visual stress or strain at the ballet. But you might be surprised.

New York City Ballet is responding to the segment of our population that suffers from this overload. The company will present a specially curated performance, designed to provide a friendly and inclusive theater-going environment for audiences with sensory processing challenges, including autism. Parents often notice “auditory hypersensitivities” when children are quite young – even before a child is diagnosed with autism. Indicators include:

  • Covering one’s ears in situations that don’t seem particularly noisy to most people
  • Humming in response to chatter or other noises
  • Feeling distressed when surrounded by a lot of chatter or other noise

The morning program, Sunday May 19 at eleven a.m., features two ballets from NYCB’s expansive repertory: Christopher Wheeldon’s Scènes de Ballet, depicting young dancers honing their artistry, and Jerome Robbins’ dynamic Glass Pieces.

Slight modifications in the theater-going experience will include:

  • relaxed entry/exit policy,
  • adjustments to lighting and sound levels,
  • designated break areas throughout the Theater,
  • additional event staffing to assist with audience needs, and
  • pre-visit resources, including a visual schedule.

For anyone in your life who would benefit from a relaxed experience at the Ballet, don’t miss the one-time-only performance as part of NYCB’s 75th Anniversary Season this spring. Here’s guessing this new performance modality — reaching a specialized audience — will be nice for the dancers, too.

New York City Ballet’s ‘Sensory-Friendly’ Performance | David H. Koch Theater | May 19, 11 am

One comment on “Attend New York City Ballet — in a sensitive way

  1. Marilyn Klaus Apr 27,2024 7:36 am

    Lovely dancer and faculty member, Mackenzie Fey teaches an Adaptive Dance program at Ballet Academy East for children “who flourish best in a sensory-friendly environment”.

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