Mike Jeffers

Photo © Julie Skarratt

We spoke with Mike Jeffers, NYCB contributor and member of the Serenade Society, NYCB’s planned giving group, about his connection to the Company over the past 50 years and why it matters to him.

How did you first become interested in ballet and involved with NYCB?

My first exposure to classical ballet was seeing Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn perform on the Ed Sullivan TV show when I was in high school growing up in a small town in eastern Washington. I never forgot it and, some 10 years later, after relocating to New York City in 1969, my first live ballet was seeing Nureyev and Fonteyn perform Swan Lake at the Met. I then discovered New York City Ballet and have been hooked and enthralled for life. To me, the athleticism and pure artistry of ballet combine to make it the most beautiful of human art forms.

How would you describe your experience with NYCB over the years?

I became a First Ring NYCB subscriber and attended as many performances as I could in New York and even at Saratoga in July. My timing couldn’t have been more fortunate as it was during the height of the Balanchine-Robbins collaboration era at NYCB. Every season featured a host of newly-created ballets, many or most now recognized as masterpieces, made on the greatest dancers in the world at all levels of the Company. Over the years, it has been great fun to identify with and witness individual dancers progress through the ranks from apprentice, to corps, to soloist, and watch many become principal dancers. Today, I believe NYCB has progressed to even higher levels of creativity, excellence, and dance artistry through the addition of new contemporary pieces (many created by the Company dancers), while preserving the best of its classical traditions.

What would you recommend to those who attend NYCB performances?

I urge everyone to go beyond just attending performances and become a member at some level and to participate in the host of excellent outreach programs NYCB has developed. They are educational, fun, and give you an opportunity to meet and get to know the individual dancers, and will greatly add to your enjoyment of the performances.

Why do you support NYCB?

I am proud to have been a NYCB supporter for the past 50 years. The epitome of my appreciation and affection for NYCB is that my daughter Farrell (now 36) is named after ballerina Suzanne Farrell. Becoming an active supporter and joining the Serenade Society is my small way of saying thank you for providing me with so many years of beauty, pure enjoyment, and appreciation of the world of classical ballet. I want this wonderful legacy and tradition to continue in perpetuity for the enjoyment of future generations.