When Sarah Jessica Parker says she plans to help inject a modern, fresh feeling into the New York City Ballet by marrying the worlds of fashion and ballet, it’s a wild idea that immediately makes sense. Not just because the ballet is full of spectacle and theater, but because, face it: This is Sarah Jessica Parker, fashion icon and accomplished actress.
“I wanted to think about that next generation, how we were going to reach out to new audience members,” says Parker, who started working with the ballet in 1995, when she chaired the annual Dance With the Dancers event.
Trained in ballet herself, Parker has had a lifelong admiration for dance. But anyone familiar with her public persona knows that she’s also well-versed with the fashion world — which moved its Fashion Week tents into the NYBC’s Lincoln Center back yard in 2010, right around the time when Parker joined the ballet’s board of directors.
More recently, she brought in fashion world A-listers like Valentino as well as new, young designers to create costumes for ballets in the hopes of sparking interest in that next generation.
Additionally, last November, Parker conceived and produced a documentary for AOL on Originals, “City.ballet,” a 10-part Web series that goes where cameras have never before been allowed — behind the scenes at the NYCB. “It’s about understanding a dancer’s life, and helping people who thought it was this rarefied art form understand that it’s athletic, coupled with extraordinary artistry,” she says.
Parker also gives her time to other charities, but it’s the NYCB that has captured much of her heart and attention. “Any time you can integrate arts into someone’s lives, they feel better for it,” she says. “It’s important to us as people, as Americans, to allow ourselves to appreciate the art form. We know that to be true.”