History Of The Hippo Ballerina In Front Of NYC’s Lincoln Center

Hippo Ballerina

Hippo Ballerina – Photo: Brian Kachejian © 2017

If you recently have visited New York City and headed over to Lincoln Center you would have noticed a 15 foot hippopotamus in a ballerina outfit standing in the small park directly in front of Lincoln Center. That very small park known as Dante Park was the home of NYC’s Hippo Ballerina from February of 2017 to October 2017. You may ask why was there a hippopotamus statue in front of Lincoln Center? Well, it actually makes sense in so many ways. Lincoln Center is the home of the prestigious and world-famous New York City Ballet Company. What better place in the world is there to place a Hippo Ballerina statue in front of than the David H. Koch theater at Lincoln Center?

The sculpture labeled the Hippo Ballerina was created by Danish artist Bjorn Okholm Skaarup. The placement of the sculpture was coordinated with the New York City Art in the Park program. The sculpture was inspired by the dancing hippos in the legendary Walt Disney film Fantasia. That film was originally released in 1940 and stood as Walt Disney’s third animated feature film. Skaarup’s stature was also inspired by Edgar Degas sculpture entitled “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.” The outfit on Skaarup’s Hippo Ballerina is similar to the same as the outfit worn by Edgar Degas’s sculpture. (A picture of Degas’s sculpture is presented at the end of the article.)

The very small strip of land that was the home of the Hippo Ballerina is located at 64th street and Broadway. The small park hosts a beautiful modern clock, and a few park benches. The park is also great location to take pictures of Lincoln Center. The Hippo Ballerina only visited New York City for a short period of time in 2017. The sculpture began its run at Dante Park in February of 2017. The Hippo Ballerina was due to leave in July, but like all great Broadway productions, was granted an extended run until the end of September 2017.

In our great city, there is much to see everyday. It’s common for those who live here and tourists to miss some of the great landmarks or features of the city. However, if you happened to have been walking on Broadway this past summer past Lincoln Center, there was no way you were going to miss the Hippo Ballerina. Hopefully, one day she will be back.

Hippo Ballerina

Hippo hiding behind the clock. Photo: Brian Kachejian © 2017

Little Dancer Aged Fourteen

Photo: Edgar Degas [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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