Pointe Stars

A Slew of Debuts at the Joyce Ballet Festival

Jeffrey Cirio rehearses with members of Cirio Collective. Photo by Jordan Jennings.

The Joyce Theater regularly presents a summer ballet festival, showcasing the best of chamber-sized companies. Choreography ranges widely, utilizing everything from socks to pointe shoes, but this year three of the five groups have something in common: Gemma Bond Dance, Cirio Collective and Claudia Schreier and Company are all making their Joyce debuts. Catch them, along with Amy Seiwert's Imagery and Emery LeCrone DANCE, July 18–29. The Joyce Theater regularly presents a summer ballet festival, showcasing the best of chamber-sized companies. Choreography ranges widely, utilizing everything from socks to pointe shoes, but this year three of the five groups have something in common: Gemma Bond Dance, Cirio Collective and Claudia Schreier and Company are all making their Joyce debuts. Catch them, along with Amy Seiwert's Imagery and Emery LeCrone DANCE, July 18–29.

Gemma Bond Dance

American Ballet Theatre corps member Gemma Bond presented a full evening of work at Danspace project in February 2016, and Atlanta Ballet commissioned her Denouement in March 2017. Now, she's reveling in the freedom of an open-ended Joyce creation. "I want to show exactly where I'm going and what I'm doing with my work," she says. Past performances have revealed Bond's ability to craft serene, graceful pas de deux as well as a knack for coaching larger groups. Alongside the Joyce premiere, she plans to present two ballets: The Giving, a duet created through a grant from the New York Choroegraphic Institute, and an older group piece called Then and Again.


Cirio Collective

American Ballet Theatre principal Jeffrey Cirio's company, Cirio Collective, makes its first New York City appearance when the dancers step onstage at the Joyce. "It means so much to be recognized as a choreographer in New York," Cirio says. "We imagined being at the Joyce 5 or 10 years down the road." He plans to bring back two older works (one of his own and one by Boston Ballet principal Paulo Arrais) alongside a premiere by contemporary choreographer Gregory Dolbashian, whose hip-hop–inflected movement pushes the limits of "ballet." Cirio will create a trio, inspired by the idea of being in multiple places—fitting for a choreographer whose dancers hail from New York City, Boston, Kansas City, Oslo and elsewhere.

Claudia Schreier in rehearsal.Photo by Rosalie O'Connor.

Claudia Schreier and Company

Independent choreographer Claudia Schreier wrapped up her fellowship at New York University's Center for Ballet and the Arts in May 2016—perfect timing for the next steps in her career. "My fellowship showing was a work-in-progress of what will premiere at the Joyce," she says. Schreier will present five pieces in total— including Charge and Solitaire—performed by members of New York City Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem, plus other dancers. "I love that I can be in concert with fellow artists who ascribe to the 'ballet' title," she says, reflecting on the festival's variety. "It doesn't have to box us in."

Postelwaite and Pantastico's powerful reunion in "Cendrillon." Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB.

Lucien Postlewaite's Prince was anything but charming last February in Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of Cendrillon, Jean-Christophe Maillot's contemporary take on the Cinderella story. He strutted and preened, egged on by his friends. But once this prince met Cendrillon at the ball, his egotism gave way to lyrical grace, from the curve of his neck through his elegant extensions. For her part, Noelani Pantastico embodied the role of Cendrillon, taking us on her journey from a lonely, unwanted stepdaughter to a lovestruck young woman. Both dancers glided through the technically demanding choreography, infusing it with heartfelt emotion. This may be a fairy tale, but the romance felt real.

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Usually, it's the jaw-dropping moments on the stage that leave us equal parts inspired and amazed. But National Ballet of Canada principal Svetlana Lunkina has us totally in awe of her behind-the-scenes routine. A 2015 Pointe cover star (and former Bolshoi dancer), Lunkina shares as many clips on Instagram of her classes and rehearsals as she does glam stage shots. Earlier this week, she shared her floor workout—and you have to see it to believe it.

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Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy New York City Ballet.

This time of year, we're used to seeing dancers embodying the flavors of The Nutcracker's magical Land of Sweets. But the real-life equivalents of those seasonal treats are more than just holiday guilty pleasures, and have benefits that could help you get through a crazy month of performances. Here are a few reasons to indulge in the spices and flavors of the season—now, and all year long.

Peppermint

This powerhouse herb has an abundance of benefits to help you get through a busy performance season. It's been known to aid digestion and help calm anxiety, and one study found that inhaling its vapors may improve athletic performance. Smelling peppermint has also been found to increase focus. You don't just have to get it from candy canes: Try brewing a hot cup of peppermint tea between rehearsals, or to wind down after a long day.

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Richmond Ballet dancers show off two adoptable shelter dogs at its annual "Pupcracker." Photo courtesy Richmond Ballet

If you're looking to upstage Clara, there's no better way to do it than with a four-legged furry friend—especially when that furry friend is looking for its forever home. Cue Richmond Ballet: During its December 16 and 21 matinees, the company is teaming up with the Richmond SPCA to present the "Pupcracker," special Nutcracker performances featuring adoptable shelter dogs. Several pups make their stage debut during the party scene as the guests bring their family pets to and from the Silberhaus home. Audience members can then meet—and adopt—the dogs during intermission and after the performance. The SPCA even provides a crate, collar, leash and treats so that patrons can bring their new family members home after the show.


Audience members can meet and adopt featured dogs during intermission. Photo Courtesy Richmond Ballet.

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Rudolf Nureyev and Merle Park in "The Nutcracker" (1968). Photo by Donald Southern, Courtesy of the Royal Opera House Collections.

Given the thousands of incarnations The Nutcracker has undergone—from tiny-tot productions in small-town studios to grand modern classics—the ballet's Grand Pas de Deux from Act II has remained remarkably intact. With slight variations, most professional dancers have seen its familiar choreography at some point or another. Tchaikovsky's radiant score calls to mind elegant promenades, partnered penchées and slow, supported développés.

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Photo by Taylor-Ferné Morris.

I have flatter feet and want to make them look better on pointe. Are there any special pointe shoes for my foot type? —Joana

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Photo by Kyle Froman

Peek inside Devon Teuscher's pointe shoes and you'll see a discreetly placed number. "I want to see how many shoes I go through in a year," says the American Ballet Theatre principal. "Last year it was close to 200 pairs." Teuscher keeps a Sharpie handy for this season's count in a small pouch containing other shoe accessories like ribbons and elastics. It's one of a handful of carefully organized pouches stored in her red mesh bag. "I'm definitely not a pack rat," she says of her no-frills style. Teuscher's bag came from Ascot + Hart, a California boutique that her sister introduced her to. "I love that it's breathable and lightweight and it can pack quite a bit. It's also easy to wash."

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