Founder of NY Theatre Ballet Helps Homeless Children Succeed
Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Diana Byer, Founder and Artistic Director of the New York Theatre Ballet, who explains why she founded NY Theatre Ballet, what people can expect from a show, and how the LIFT Scholarship Program helps at-risk and homeless children succeed in life.
"Hi, I'm Steve Adubato. That was from the New York Theatre Ballet. We're joined by Diana Byer, Founder and Artistic Director of the New York Theatre Ballet. How you doing? I'm doing great. What were we looking at? Describe that for us. We we're looking at the company, the company of dancers. Our principals, Steven Melendez, Elena Zahlmann, Amanda Treiber, and one of the great... for me the great ballet's Antony Tudor's Dark Elegies. Hmm. When did you get into, and become fascinated by, ballet? I was three years old. Come on, stop! Don't make stuff up! Yep. I was three years old. We don't lie on public television. Seriously. But when... no, this is what happened. I was this very chubby child, and the pediatrician said... Prove it! I need a picture! [laughter] But go ahead. The pediatrician told my mother if I didn't do something active, I'd be an obese adult. So she took me to modern interpretive dance. That's what it was called in those days. And then I fell in love. This is... dare, can I say where...? This was in New Jersey? Trenton, New Jersey. Trenton, New Jersey? Right. Trenton makes? The world takes! [laughter] I just wanted to make sure. So you do this at three? And what happens? I just loved dancing, and you know, I was one of those kids that, as soon as I started, I knew that's what I would do with my life. I knew when I was three years old that I was going to dance. What did you love about it? I loved moving, I loved the music, I loved jumping and turning, and... Hmm. ...and a lot with the music. I adored the music. So starting the ballet, the starting itself, how does that happen, Theatre Ballet? Well Theatre Ballet happened in 1978. I was three. You know! [laughter] Of course you were! You were thr... [laughter] And it was because there were a group of us studying with the great Margaret Craske, and we had all come back from other jobs outside of New York, and we really wanted to work in New York. And some of the boys decided they wanted to choreograph. And of course, they wanted to choreograph a whole evening just of their work. And I thought, "This is ridiculous. You're going to use the same dancers. Why don't you each choreograph one piece, and we'll try and put on a show?" And I said, "I'll do the work. I'll do the administration work." And the first one was successful. And I said, "Okay, I'll do it for three months, but then..."