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Despite every ballet dancer’s perfectionist tendencies, there is no such thing as “perfect technique”. But in his audition tape for the Paris Opéra Ballet School, David Hallberg proves that it just may exist—and he’s only sixteen years old. In this video you will be awestruck within the first few seconds as his turnout and tendus take your breath away. Keep watching until the end, and you’ll see the same diligence and control progress from adagio to grand allegro. It’s clear that at sixteen he was serious about his career, and the efforts have paid off.

Many summer dance festivals feature ballet companies, and many more take place in beautiful outdoor settings. However, few can boast as outstanding a combination as the Chicago Dancing Festival. Not only does this year’s edition feature Daniel Ulbricht’s Stars of American Ballet, the Joffery Ballet and the Washington Ballet, and not only does much of the festival take place in the majestic Pritzker Pavilion, but the entire festival is free!

As if Daniel Ulbricht didn’t already have enough on his plate. In addition to dazzling audiences at New York City Ballet and serving as artistic advisor for Manhattan Youth Ballet, he’s co-producing Dance Against Cancer: An Evening to Benefit the American Cancer Society.

We've been hearing the hype for months now: Starz network will air a new ballet drama "Flesh and Bone" sometime in 2015. While I'm estatic that dance is coming back to television after the fall of "Bunheads" and "Breaking Pointe," I must admit that it's hard to see some of our favorite dance stars leave their posts for the gig: Ethan Stiefel will not return next year as the championed artistic director of Royal New Zealand Ballet and beloved American Ballet Theatre soloist Sascha Radetsky will give his farewell performance on July 3.

An integral portion of Le Corsaire’s first act is the Odalisque pas de trois—a dance by three slave girls whom the audience knows little about. Choreographed to a grandiose score, the Odalisque variations act as an interlude in the ballet's larger plot. Their precise and petite steps cater to the meekness and femininity of the role. This recording from 1999 showcases Gillian Murphy taking this character to a new level as a recently promoted soloist for the American Ballet Theatre.

If you're in the Houston area next week, make sure you put this event on your calendar: May 9–11 at 8 pm, Houston Ballet will give three free performances at the Miller Outdoor Theatre. Two Stanton Welch works are on the program, Play and Sons de L'ame (Sounds of the Soul), as well as the variation-filled third act of Paquita.

 

The National Ballet of Canada has announced it’s coming to New York City this September, where they’ll perform Christopher Wheeldon’s full-length Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the David H. Koch Theater. NYC audiences haven’t seen the Toronto-based company since 2005. The stop is part of an initiative started by NBC Artistic Director Karen Kain to tour more frequently to world dance centers. Last season, the company traveled to Los Angeles (where it will return this summer), Washington DC, and Saratoga Springs.

 

Matthew Bourne has made a choreographic career out of reimagining classic ballets and giving them dark, contemporary twists. His Sleeping Beauty, described as a "gothic romance" complete with vampires and fairies, is no exception. You can see for yourself tonight: PBS will air Sleeping Beauty as part of its Great Performances series on April 25 at 9 pm EST. Check your local listings and catch a preview below.


Throughout her 18 years dancing with Boston Ballet, Larissa Ponomarenko performed classical and contemporary roles with ease and elegance. But offstage, she was just as entrancing. During my years as a student at Boston Ballet School, I remember my classmates and myself peeking into her rehearsals, gawking at the effortlessness of each step. We knew it came from her Vaganova training, but still couldn’t believe her precision. Though she is often overlooked, Ponomarenko is a cherished icon for many.