If you'll be in the Chicago area next month, the historic Auditorium Theatre is putting together a one-night-only performance you don't want to miss. The event is in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the theater's reopening in 1967, which featured a performance of George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream by former New York City Ballet principals Suzanne Farrell and Edward Villella. With Farrell and Villella returning to the theater as guests, the November 12th program will include a mixed repertory performed by dancers from companies including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, The Washington Ballet, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Vienna State Ballet and Dutch National Ballet.
The Auditorium Theatre in Chicago from its 1967 opening. Photo by Richard Nickel, courtesy Auditorium Theatre.
While we know you practically live in your leos and tights (and a tightly wound bun), summer is the perfect time to literally let your hair down and show off your style outside the studio.
Not sure where to start? Take a page from these pro dancers' ensembles. From classically chic to kooky and daring, these ballerinas know how to express themselves—on and off the stage. The #1 rule? There are no rules.
For this #MotivationMonday, we mined the “Reverence” section of Pointe’s back issues. Read on for inspiration from some of your favorite dancers. This years-old advice is timeless!
“Being a professional is not an easy life. Students need to ask themselves if they really want to do that, because it takes up your whole life. But for me, it still is the best profession!”
-Polina Semionova, Staatsballett Berlin (February/March 2007)
“Persevere and work harder every day; do extra hours if need be.”
-Carlos Acosta, Royal Ballet (June/July 2008)
“A walk in the mountains, a good movie, a great conversation. You can find inspiration all around you.”
-Maria Kochetkova, San Francisco Ballet (June/July 2009)
“If you’re passionate and you love it, continue. If you’re halfway, there are so many other wonderful things out there to do. I go back to what Mr. Balanchine said: You have to be willing to die for it. It cannot be a maybe.”
-Darci Kistler, New York City Ballet (June/July 2010)
“It’s more than just dancing at a higher level. You have to remember it’s not only about you, even if you’re in the spotlight. You must share yourself with the whole company. You gather that energy so they’re involved with you, so there’s a dialogue. Then it becomes more real and exciting for the audience.”
-Xiao Nan Yu, National Ballet of Canada (June/July 2011)
“Physically speaking, I don’t think I was talented. It was more about work every day. Work, more work and yet more work. There’s no upper limit—you can always go further.”
-Ekaterina Kondaurova, Mariinsky Ballet (December 2013/January 2014)
Maria Kochetkova has a voracious appetite for inspiration. A principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet since 2007, she spent the last few years guesting with American Ballet Theatre during their spring season. “ABT is very different from SFB—it has a very different rep, it has very different dancers, incredible dancers you can learn from,” says Kochetkova. Last summer, she joined the company as an official principal, taking on a grueling schedule that leaves her shuttling between California and New York.
“I really wanted to learn more and also try to balance my repertoire,” she says. “San Francisco Ballet does a lot of new and more contemporary works—we don’t always do full-length and classical ballets, which I feel I need. And at ABT, you get the full-length classicals, but not so many contemporary works.”
Kochetkova spent July through late September working with SFB before flying to New York for ABT’s fall repertoire season through early November. Her spring schedule looks just as busy. “Overall, I’ll spend half of my time in San Francisco, and half in New York,” she says. As for vacation time? “I usually travel a lot during the off-season, but I had to cut down. But that’s okay. I’m more interested in learning something new.” —Amy Brandt
"And I stood and was silent. And he was silent. And I stood, silent. And he was silent." Maria sporting the words of Daniil Kharms. Photo courtesy of Koche-Kova.
Jumping on a couch and tossing what appear to be birthday bows, Maria Kochetkova appears in one of two promotional photos for her new clothing line, Koche-Kova, which launches this month.
I was a student at San Francisco Ballet School when I first laid eyes on Kochetkova (a few years before our April/May 2010 cover story). It was her first year with SFB and, one September afternoon before the company’s season was in full swing, she took the Level 5 technique class. Petite and quiet, she appeared almost mousy with her neutral-toned warm-ups and humble demeanor.
Now a principal on two coasts (with SFB and American Ballet Theatre), Kochetkova’s dancing remains as incandescent as ever. But her fashion sense? It’s a far cry from those modest warm-ups I saw nearly 10 years ago. Her affinity for daring colors, pattern combinations and statement pieces has earned her acclaim outside of ballet circles, and her zaniness seems to increase each year.
Kochetkova's fashion line announcement came sneakily, in the form of an Instagram post and links to the website on her social media pages. As of yet, details are scarce: For all we know the line might include eccentric studio pieces or dragon print street wear. Though we have few clues, we can see a nod to her Russian roots. In the website’s minimal photos, she sports shirts with quotes by Russian poet and novelist Alexander Pushkin and absurdist writer Daniil Kharms.
Absurd? Yes. Delightful? Undoubtedly. Sign up for email updates on the website, and follow Koche-Kova on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
"Sheer ennui." Kochetkova sporting the words of Alexander Pushkin. Photo courtesy of Koche-Kova.
San Francisco Ballet principals Maria Kochetkova and Davit Karapetyan in Romeo & Juliet, Courtesy The Anderson Group
If you’ve been dying to see San Francisco Ballet but, like me, live nowhere near the Bay Area, be sure to mark your calendars for Thursday, September 24 at 7:00 pm. The company’s production of Helgi Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet, starring Maria Kochetkova and Davit Karapetyan as Shakespeare’s doomed young lovers, will be shown at over 600 movie theaters nationwide as part of the “Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance” cinema series. Hosted by Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan of “LIVE with Kelly and Michael,” the screening includes fun extras such as interviews with the principal dancers and behind-the-scenes production footage.
San Francisco Ballet is the first of four American dance companies that Lincoln Center at the Movies is screening this fall. Be sure to catch Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on October 22, Ballet Hispanico on November 12, and New York City Ballet in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker on December 5 and 10. For tickets and a full list of theater locations, visit fathomevents.com. In the meantime, enjoy the sneak preview of the balcony scene here: SFB R&J video, and the Lincoln Center at the Movies season trailer below:
Some of ballet’s biggest stars have donated signed pointe shoes to raise money for victims of last April’s horrific earthquake in Nepal. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed over 9,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. And while the disaster is no longer headline news, survivors are still desperate for help. From August 29 through September 13, Pointes for Nepal, an online campaign organized by Cloud & Victory dancewear, will be selling signed pointe shoes of ballerinas Diana Vishneva, Gillian Murphy, Maria Kochetkova, Isabella Boylston, Joy Womack, Michaela DePrince and more. While prices are steep (between $120 and $450 a pair), all proceeds benefit World Vision International and The Little Bells Promiseland Project, two charities providing aid relief to earthquake victims.
This isn’t the first time dancers have come together to support Nepal. In June, the DRI Foundation hosted Dance for Nepal, a sold-out benefit that included performances by former American Ballet Theatre dancers Maxim Beloserkovsky and Irina Dvorovenko, New York City Ballet principals Sterling Hyltin and Amar Ramasar, and dancers from Martha Graham Dance Company, Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance Company and more. The benefit raised $21,000 for the DRI Foundation Nepal Relief Fund.
Today, American Ballet Theatre announced that longtime company soloists Misty Copeland and Stella Abrera have been promoted to principal dancer. San Francisco Ballet star Maria Kochetkova and Royal Danish Ballet principal Alban Lendorf will also join ABT next season as principals (though they will remain principals with their respective companies), and Boston Ballet principal Jeffrey Cirio joins as a soloist. Corps de ballet members Skylar Brandt, Thomas Forster, Luciana Paris, Arron Scott and Cassandra Trenary have been promoted to soloist.
The news follows months of speculation after three of ABT’s major stars—Julie Kent, Paloma Herrera and Xiomara Reyes—announced their retirements. The promotion has been a long time coming for Abrera, who has been with the company since 1996 and a soloist since 2001. She made a critically acclaimed debut as Giselle last month. Copeland, who made principal debuts in Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake this season, makes history as the company’s first female African American principal dancer. Congratulations to all!