The theater district in New York City has bewitched audiences with hit musicals, dramas, and dance performances over the past century. Since the early 1900s, Broadway has made the city a hotbed for the performing arts. Hits like The Phantom of the Opera, Hamilton, Wicked, and The Lion King, all started in NYC, and have gone on tour across the country.
Beyond the historic theater district, the city is full of local dance, theater, and cultural performances that delight audiences and pay homage to the melting pot of cultures within the Five Boroughs.
Whether you're looking to get involved in the diverse performing arts scene in NYC or want to further educate yourself on the variety of cultures represented in the city, here are five NYC organizations that are making a difference in the community.
Explore Performing Arts in NYC
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Founded in 1958, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is bringing African-American culture and American modern dance to the world. Since its founding, the theater has performed 235 different works. Its membership fees have allowed them to provide scholarships for Ailey Albin students and free tickets to underprivileged youth.
To get involved with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New Yorkers can check out their membership opportunities. Depending on the level they choose, theater members will have exclusive access to rewards like passes to open rehearsals and discounted merchandise. If being a spectator isn’t your thing, the Ailey Extension offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced level-classes throughout the week that are open to the public.
With an emphasis on classical dance, Ballet Tech is an educational institution that helps prepare students from underserved communities for careers in performing arts. In fact, many Ballet Tech alumni go on to perform with some of the world’s most renowned dance companies. Because of the associated costs and commitments, the school attracts many from underserved communities with its free tuition that wouldn’t have access to classical ballet training.
Because of the generosity of financial donors, the students of Ballet Tech can receive high-quality, tuition-free classical ballet education. By supporting the school, New Yorkers provide transportation, dance apparel, and extracurricular programming for eager scholars, in addition to alleviating the cost of keeping the school state-of-the-art.
Chocolate Factory Theater
A beacon of culture in Queens, the Chocolate Factory Theater serves as a center for artistic experimentation. Fostering and showcasing disciplines in dance, music, fine art, performing arts, and more, this award-winning hub provides a community for both local and international creators, as well as offers public programs to engage the city.
To support the Chocolate Factory Theater, spread the word and attend avant-garde performances for a refreshing artistic experience. New Yorkers can also financially donate to help this arts center grow even bigger and better and support innovative artistry in Queens.
El Taller Latino Americano
Founded in 1979, El Taller Latino Americano was established to bridge the gap between Latin Americans and North Americans through the language of art, dance, and music. To promote Latin American culture in NYC, El Taller Latino Americano offers Spanish classes, live music, film events, art galleries, and custom cultural workshops.
El Taller seeks not only to educate but also to engage and gather diverse groups together culturally and linguistically on the common ground of creativity. To support them in their mission, take one of the dance or language classes, visit their gallery, or attend one of their local events.
The Magnet Theater is a performance space and training ground for improv comedy in the Chelsea area of NYC. Since 2005, Magnet Theater has been the epicenter of New York City’s growing improv movement. To encourage participants, the organization offers a free introductory class to give improv comedy a try. If they like the experience, students are encouraged to sign up for additional paid classes where participants can learn techniques of musical improv from a beginner to an advanced level.
Supporting Magnet Theater is easy - sign up for their free introductory class and join the growing improv movement in NYC! Some of Magnet Theater’s performers have gone on to showcase their talent on shows like Broad City, 30 Rock, and The Colbert Report.
The performing arts are a significant part of New York City’s culture. Between Broadway theaters and Off-Broadway productions, the city offers a cornucopia of performing arts opportunities that proudly represent the diversity of the city’s population.
For more performance arts organizations, New Yorkers can get involved with:
- Bang on a Can: Bang on a Can was established to create an international community dedicated to innovative music.
- Brooklyn Ballet: At Brooklyn Ballet, the heart of their mission is to create new ballets that challenge conventions and defy expectations.
- Calpulli Mexican Dance Company: Calpulli Mexican Dance Company proliferated Latin-American culture throughout the country with touring shows that include live music and performance.
- Irish Arts Center: The Irish Arts Center projects a dynamic image of Ireland and Irish America through performances, exhibitions, and education.
- Roundabout Theater Company: Roundabout Theatre Company is a non-profit that puts in classic plays and musicals for children and adult audiences.
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