Pointe Stars
P.O. Alienz in Lavender Leotard; Paulina Waski modelling a Kreature Kulture t-shirt. Photos Courtesy Paulina Waski.

Walk into any ballet class and you're bound to see a row of dancers clad in leotards patterned with dainty flowers and lace. But nearly three years ago, American Ballet Theatre corps dancer Paulina Waski wore a very different kind of leotard to class—and her colleagues loved it. Now an average day at ABT includes any number of dancers in leotards featuring angry aliens, detached eyeballs and grinning monsters.

"My dad, John, is an artist, and he draws all these crazy creatures," Waski explains. "One year he did what he called his paper plate project; he drew a new creature onto a paper plate every single day for 365 days. I thought, 'he should put one on a leotard!' He screen printed one onto one of my old leotards himself, and when I wore it to class everyone was wowed." And so, Kreature Kulture was born.


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Houston Ballet's Jared Matthews and Sara Webb in"The Sleeping Beauty." Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

Despite the devastation and pain that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have left in their wake this fall, it's been encouraging to see dancers step up in aid of their communities: When the future of Houston Ballet's Nutcracker seemed uncertain, venues around the city pulled together to allow the company to produce the show on a "hometown tour." And when Florida ballet companies had to evacuate, Atlanta Ballet and Charlotte Ballet welcomed them with open arms. In addition, New York City-based studio Broadway Dance Center offered community classes in September with proceeds donated to the American Red Cross.

The next in this series of good deeds is Hearts for Houston, a benefit performance bringing dancers from seven major companies together at New York City's Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater to raise money for the United Way of Greater Houston's Harvey Relief Fund. Scheduled for Sunday, October 22, the evening will feature members of the Houston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater, The Washington Ballet and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Hearts for Houston is imagined and produced by Houston Ballet principal dancers Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews (both formerly of ABT) and funded by patrons Phoebe and Bobby Tudor and sponsor Neiman Marcus.


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Your Career
Members of San Francisco Ballet in company class as part of World Ballet Day LIVE 2017. Photo by Erik Tomasson via San Francisco Ballet on Instagram.

Last Thursday was World Ballet Day LIVE, the official 22-hour live-stream relay showcasing companies across the globe. If you were busy (we know that you don't always have the luxury to spend an entire day watching ballet), don't fret. Many of the companies involved recorded their classes, rehearsals and interviews from the day of, and we rounded them up for you to watch at your leisure. Careful, though; there are more than twenty hours of footage included here... make sure you take a break to, you know, sleep.


First up is San Francisco Ballet with a full five hours, including rehearsal for Balanchine's timeless classic, Serenade.


The Royal Ballet's WBD stream is split into three parts. Here's the first chunk, featuring company rehearsals of a few Sir Kenneth MacMillan ballets as well as Christopher Wheeldon's Alice in Wonderland (a measly two hours and 45 minutes). You can find part 2 here and the full company class here. The video also features a quick aerial tour of London from the balcony of the Royal Opera House.

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Roy Kaiser with Pennsylvania Ballet Dancers. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Nevada Ballet Theatre.

In 2014 the dance world was surprised when longtime Pennsylvania Ballet artistic director Roy Kaiser stepped down. It was announced yesterday that Kaiser will be rising to the helm again as the Las Vegas-based Nevada Ballet Theatre's new artistic director, replacing James Canfield. Kaiser will be the fourth artistic director in NBT's 46 year history.

The company will be gaining a highly experienced leader. Following his rise through the ranks to principal dancer at Pennsylvania Ballet, Kaiser worked as a ballet master and eventually took the reigns as the company's artistic director in 1995. Pennsylvania Ballet added 90 new ballets and 35 world premieres to their repertoire under his leadership.


Roy Kaiser with Pennsylvania Ballet Dancers. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Nevada Ballet Theatre.

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Pointe Stars
Krohn in Robbins' "Dancers at a Gathering." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

New York City Ballet principal dancer Rebecca Krohn will take her final bow with the company this Saturday night. Krohn joined NYCB as an apprentice in the fall of 1998 and slowly rose through the ranks, becoming a principal in 2012. Though Krohn is best known for her flawless execution of classic Balanchine leotard ballets, her repertoire is vast, spanning Jerome Robbins to Justin Peck. After dancing Stravinsky Violin Concerto with Amar Ramasar on Saturday, Krohn will return to the NYCB studios on Monday in a new role: ballet master. We had the chance to talk to the thoughtful and eloquent dancer about her time with the company and goals for the future.

Was New York City Ballet always your dream company?

As soon as I knew I wanted to be a professional dancer, I knew that I wanted to be in New York City Ballet. I moved to New York when I was 14 to train at the School of American Ballet, and I got my apprenticeship with the company when I was 17, so it was really a dream come true.


Krohn and Adrian Danchig-Waring in Balanchine's Stravinsky Violin Concerto. Video Courtesy NYCB.

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Your Career
USA IBC 2014 Junior Divison Gold Medal Winner and current American Ballet Theatre corps de ballet dancer Gisele Bethea and Michal Wozniak performing in 2014's second round. Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe.

Every four years, dancers from around the world gather in Jackson, Mississippi to compete for medals, cash prizes, scholarships and company contracts as part of the USA International Ballet Competition. While every competition boasts famous former competitors, the USA IBC's impressive list includes Isaac Hernandez, Sarah Lamb, Misa Kuranaga, Nina Ananiashvili, Brooklyn Mack, Daniil Simkin and many more. Though the competition runs from June 10-23 of 2018, it's not too early to apply; applications for the 11th USA IBC opened this week.

If you're 14 years old but itching to enter the competition circuit, it's your lucky year. USA IBC has lowered its age requirement from 15 to 14 (the Prix de Lausanne made a similar change last month). Older dancers can also participate; the competition has extended the senior division limit from 26 to 28 years of age.

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Millepied in rehearsal for "I Feel the Earth Move" at ABT. Photo by Marisa Kraxberger, Courtesy ABT.

Though American Ballet Theatre is known for producing top-tier stars, the company is giving its more junior dancers a chance to shine during their 2017 fall Lincoln Center season. ABT's opening night gala will feature a world premiere by Jessica Lang performed by ABT apprentices, members of the ABT Studio Company and advanced students from the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.

Today, Artistic director Kevin McKenzie announced the addition of a new work by Benjamin Millepied showcasing 24 dancers from the Studio Company and JKO School. But this is no ordinary piece; Millepied has created a site specific work to be performed during select intermissions on the David H. Koch Theater promenade. Titled Counterpoint for Philip Johnson, the piece is described as "an ode to the theater's architect." It will feature costumes by sportswear designer Rag & Bone and music by minimalist composer Steve Reich. Counterpoint represents the first time that ABT will present a work at Lincoln Center to be performed outside of a proscenium theater. We're excited to see younger dancers at the forefront of such boundary-breaking work.

While site specific work is a valued part of the postmodern canon, it's scarcely used in ballet. Yet Millepied is no stranger to this kind of work. Millepied, the artistic director of L.A. Dance Project, has created a series of films for his company set in different urban locales (like the concrete sprawl of the Los Angeles River.) "Ben takes his work off the stage and offers the audience a different point of view," said McKenzie in a statement. "I think it will challenge one's expectations of how to experience dance."

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Pointe Stars
NYCB Soloist Indiana Woodward in a costume fitting for Justin Peck's premiere. Photo via NYCB on Instagram.

Last night was New York City Ballet's annual Fall Fashion Gala at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater. Billed as "Uniting the Worlds of Ballet and Fashion," the event paired choreographers with high fashion designers. Chaired by known fashion icon and NYCB board of directors vice-chairman Sarah Jessica Parker, the evening attracted big names in the worlds of dance and fashion. This year's gala featured four premieres choreographed by NYCB affiliates: company dancers Troy Schumacher, Lauren Lovette and Justin Peck and School of American Ballet Alumna and current Dresden Semperoper Ballett apprentice Gianna Reisen. Reisen, 18, is the youngest person to choreograph for NYCB to date.

Gain greater insight into the minds of the designers and choreographers in this NYCB produced video, screened at the Koch Theater last night before the start of the show, and check out some of the night's best moments (and outfits) from the red carpet to the stage.

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