On May 3, 2010, Marie-Cecile van Boxtel and Marliene Pille, who were visiting New York City from the Netherlands, were given a behind-the-scenes tour of two of New York City’s most important cultural institutions, The Metropolitan Opera and the American Ballet Theatre (ABT). American Ballet Theatre Soloist Craig Salstein, who joined ABT in 2000 and became a Soloist in March 2007, hosted this special Greeter for a Day event. Greeter Bobbie Gold, volunteer photographer Paul Margolis, and ABT Press Associate Rebecca Kim accompanied them.
The visit began at Lincoln Center, home of The Metropolitan Opera House since 1966. The visitors were welcomed by Big Apple Greeter Founder Lynn Brooks at the Lincoln Center Fountain and then Mr. Salstein escorted them through the opera house, which has been a vibrant residence for the most creative and talented artists, including singers, conductors, composers, orchestra musicians, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers, and dancers from around the world. After viewing the opera’s majestic auditorium and stage complex, the visitors had an opportunity to see backstage production areas not usually open to the public, where the opera’s mammoth sets and ornate costumes are crafted.
They then made their way downtown to American Ballet Theater’s headquarters, located at 890 Broadway, for a unique opportunity to view ABT’s offices and see ballet students practice in the rehearsal studios. Founded in 1940, American Ballet Theatre is recognized as one of the great dance companies in the world and it annually tours the United States, performing for more than 600,000 people.
When asked what they enjoyed about the Greeter for a Day event, Greeter Bobbie Gold said, “We all enjoyed Mr. Salstein’s humor, warmth and great knowledge of the opera world. How fortunate we were to be able to be backstage during a rehearsal. Visiting the ABT office and rehearsal rooms, physical therapy room was also a treat for us.”
Story by Elizabeth Holmes
Photo by Paul Margolis