On Sunday, June 11th, two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's principal superstars—Carrie Imler and Batkhurel Bold—will take the stage for one last performance before retiring from the company. To celebrate their enduring careers (Imler joined PNB in 1995 and Bold in 1996), PNB asked Imler and Bold to choose their favorite ballets for the Season Encore Performance.
But don't worry if you can't make it to the show. Beginning here, at 6:30pm PST, PNB will be live-streaming the entire performance, which is comprised of the following seven experts and full works:
Just last year, we announced that Septime Webre was stepping down as The Washington Ballet's artistic director after 16 years at the helm. Since then, he's staged his work at companies all over the country, choreographed a cheeky '60s-themed ad campaign and stepped in as artistic director of DC–based arts incubator Halcyon. Now, he's about to make another big move.
This morning Webre announced via email that he will assume directorship of Hong Kong Ballet in July. He succeeds Madeleine Onne, who will be heading to the Houston Ballet Academy as its new academy director.
In a surprise announcement last February, former American Ballet Theatre principal Paloma Herrera was named director of the Ballet Estable del Teatro Colón, Argentina's most prominent ballet company. After her farewell in New York City in May 2015, Herrera had returned to her native city, Buenos Aires, and was enjoying her new life there: "teaching, coaching, traveling." Just as she was putting the final touches on her memoir, Mi Intensa Vida, she was contacted by the general director of the Teatro Colón, which was about to undergo an administrative shake-up. Both the artistic director of the theater (Darío Lopérfido) and the head of the ballet (Maximiliano Guerra) were about to be replaced. Would she be interested in the latter job?
Set to begin shooting in early 2018, Millepied's Carmen will be a modern-day retelling, setting the protagonist on a journey from Mexico to Los Angeles in pursuit of freedom. The film, described as a contemporary musical drama, will also feature an original score by Nicholas Britell, the Oscar-nominated composer of Moonlight. “The incorporation of music and drama in film is a cornerstone of my creativity and having such an experienced and talented team by my side gives me confidence that we will beautifully capture the story told in Carmen," Milliepied told Variety.
Carmen has had a long trajectory. Bizet's 1875 opera—which tells the doomed love story of a passionate Romani woman named Carmen and the naïve soldier Don José (whom she seduces and then leaves for a glamorous toreador)—is based off of Prosper Mérimée's 1845 novella. Upwards of 20 films have been made based on the story, as well as several ballets, most notably those by choreographers Roland Petit and Alberto Alonso. Only time will tell how Millepied will add his own contemporary take to this classic story.
The ballet world is full of competition, from the recent Youth America Grand Prix to constant auditioning and jockeying for roles. But the English National Ballet takes it to the next level; for the past eight years the company has held its annual Emerging Dancer competition, a chance for ENB's lower-ranked dancers to compete for the Emerging Dancer Award. The competition has been a good predictor of future ENB stars. Past winners include principals Shioni Kase and Yonah Acosta. This year's Emerging Dancer competition will take place at London's Sadler's Wells Theatre on May 25. The six finalists, nominated and coached by their peers in the company, will each perform a classical pas de deux followed by a more contemporary solo in front of a panel of distinguished judges including their boss, Tamara Rojo.
The 2017 female finalists are Isabelle Brouwers, Rina Kanehara and Madison Keesler, an American dancer previously with San Francisco Ballet. All three have been finalists before, and their deep passion for ballet is clear.
Miami City Ballet just announced their official roster for the 2017-18 season, including some exciting additions to and promotions within the company. The new season, which starts on Oct. 20 in Miami, consists of a 53-member roster that was made complete thanks to six new dancers and the return of former longtime MCB dancer Katia Carranza.
Carranza will be returning to the rank of principal, a spot that she previously held from 2004 until 2007 before joining Ballet de Monterrey as a principal dancer. Other promotions for the upcoming season include Jennifer Lauren to principal, Lauren Fadeley to principal soloist and Ashley Knox to soloist.
When New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht and Manhattan Youth Ballet programming director Erin Fogarty first produced Dance Against Cancer: An Evening to Benefit the American Cancer Society back in 2010, they likely had no idea how big it would become. Now a highly anticipated annual event, Dance Against Cancer has raised almost $1 million for cancer research and has expanded to include THE YOUTH MOVEMENT, a performance featuring local dance students. DAC has even outgrown its venue—this year's one-night-only performance, held on Monday, May 8, at the AXA Equitable Theater, has long been sold out.
The evening features star dancers and choreographers, who all donate their time to create a memorable and heartfelt performance. Many have been touched personally by cancer (Ulbricht and Fogarty have both lost a parent to the disease). In an interview with Pointe last year, Ulbricht noted that so many ask to participate that they have to turn dancers away. “As their own family or friends or mentors suffer," he said, “I think they feel compelled to ask, 'What can I do?' "
We love it when ballet dancers also happen to be inspiring role models in the community, and Dutch National Ballet soloist Michaela DePrince certainly falls into that category. As of last night, her reach will be extending much further. She's the newest face of Jockey's "Show 'Em What's Underneath" campaign.
What exactly, you may ask, is she "showing"? Her message of hope, which is a huge part of her story. Before she became a household name, as one of the Youth America Grand Prix competitors featured in the documentary First Position, DePrince had overcome unthinkable challenges. Originally from the war-ravaged Sierra Leone, she lost her parents and became an orphan at a young age. When she was adopted, she moved to the United States and began a brand-new chapter. Her days were soon filled with her serious pursuit of ballet, a career that would have been impossible had she stayed in her home country.