• 01.09.13

New York City Ballet Makes Arty Move For Millennials

New York City Ballet pirouettes into the hearts of young, hip New Yorkers with an art project that can be seen all around the city.

The New York City Ballet is speculating that, much like Billy Elliot, most young city-dwellers would love ballet if they just gave it a chance. In order to entice these folks to make that initial jeté into ballet, the NYCB is starting an annual collaboration with some contemporary artists, the fruits of which will be on display all around the city.


Developed with DDB New York, the New York City Ballet Art Series was created to present ballet to those drawn to the myriad other artistic and cultural attributes of the Big Apple, but who may not have yet been exposed to this one. Each year, a new artist will create original works inspired by NYCB productions, which will be shown at Lincoln Center–and advertised through print, digital, and creative outdoor means.

For the series’ inaugural year, DDB and NYCB tapped the acclaimed artistic twosome FAILE (Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller) to bring their contemporary Urban Art stylings to the ballet. The results look like panels in a delightfully retro French comic book. The campaign to spread awareness of the project will extend to billboards, panels above the subway, night video projections, and other executions, discreetly located in New York areas that are a world away from Lincoln Center–perhaps chosen by the location scout for Lena Dunham’s Girls.

View some images from the New York City Ballet Art Series above, and watch a behind-the-scenes video of FAILE working on it below.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.