Get your popcorn ready! The Royal Ballet is making its way to select North American movie theaters starting November 26 as part of The Royal Opera House's 2019/20 LIVE Cinema Season. Filmed at London's Covent Garden, the season continues through the spring and includes seven ballet productions—some pre-recorded, some captured live—ranging from 19th century classics to world premieres by Cathy Marston and Wayne McGregor. "We make sure we really give a mix of what you can get at the Opera House," says Royal Ballet artistic director Kevin O'Hare. "The idea that you're never really far from the theater is a nice one, and it's caught on fast."
When you dig through your collection of leotards before class, do you ever think about how they're made, or what they're made from? Chances are, most dancers don't, and Audition Dancewear wants to do something about that.
The company—run by two mother-daughter duos, Kathy and Caroline Perry and Shelly and Suzanna Lathrum—has begun making leotards from recycled materials to reduce their carbon footprint and raise awareness around plastic consumption. The result is a sleek line of leos that don't sacrifice style or function, and that use four or five recycled water bottles per leo.
Yesterday, Kaatsbaan, the Tivoli, NY-based cultural park for dance, announced that Stella Abrera will join the organization as its new artistic director, effective January 1, 2020. This news come just weeks after we learned that Abrera will be taking her final bow with American Ballet Theatre in June.
For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.
What inspires busy pros to keep returning to their alma mater? We talked to three of The Rock School's buzziest alums about why they make it a priority to come back and teach:
Christine DuBoulay Ellis, legendary figure in classical ballet, died on Saturday, November 9, of complications from Parkinson's disease. She was 96.
She was one of the last surviving members of the original Sadler's Wells cast of The Sleeping Beauty, which opened at the Royal Opera House, London, in 1946.
Ballet dancers today are asked to do more with their bodies than ever before. The physical demands of a ballet career can take an immense toll on a dancer's joints and muscles—subjecting them to pain, inflammation and an increased risk of injury. Considering all that is required of today's dancers, having a top-notch recovery regime is paramount.
Enter Apolla Performance Wear, which is meeting ballet's physical demands with a line of compression footwear that is speeding up the recovery process for professional dancers by reducing inflammation and stabilizing the joints.
Get excited, Jellicle fans: It's almost time meow!
We're about a month out from the release of the new movie version of Cats. To mark the occasion, the film's team has dropped another dance-filled trailer. The vid offers further peeks at Andy Blankenbuehler's choreography—and at the "digital fur technology"-enhanced versions of the celebrities (dance-world and, uh, world-world) involved, from Taylor Swift to Francesca Hayward.
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Lincoln Jones felt there was a pertinence missing from ballet when he decided to form American Contemporary Ballet. "People looking at a film today can pick apart screenwriting versus art direction and editing," says Jones. "They are really conversant with it. I thought ballet is never going to feel super-relevant until people can do that."
So how to do that? Connect the audience to the show.
The holiday season is coming our way, and with it good cheer, a giving spirit and, of course, The Nutcracker. Our favorite photography duo, Dancers & Dogs, has found a way to garner that energy for a good cause: pet adoption.
I have very tapered Morton's toes (longer second toes). My big toe joints are about a half centimeter shorter than my second and third toe joints, so I have a terrible time finding stability on demi-pointe. My weight lands on that second toe joint, which is pretty narrow and uncomfortable under that pressure. How can I find a more stable relevé? —Larissa
New York City Ballet principal Lauren Lovette tries hard to focus on wellness despite her busy schedule. Her Hydro Flask water bottle—a gift from colleague Indiana Woodward—is emblazoned with the words "Be Here Now," a daily reminder to stay present. Lovette also keeps two doTERRA essential oils in her bag, and starts each day with Citrus Bliss. "I put it on my wrist at barre, and smell it," she says. "It just keeps me in a positive mood." Another scent, Balance, is reserved for days when she's feeling particularly frazzled.
This is one of a series of stories on recent graduates' on-campus experiences—and the connections they made that jump-started their dance careers. Roderick Phifer graduated from University of the Arts with a BFA in dance in 2017.
While walking out of a technique class during the first semester of his senior year at Philadelphia's University of the Arts, Roderick Phifer was approached with an unexpected offer. BalletX needed a guest artist for an upcoming performance, and after seeing Phifer perform in one of his senior shows, a UArts alumnus dancing with the company had offered up his name. Phifer ran straight from his technique class to a company class with BalletX, and the troupe's artistic leadership quickly gave him the green light to perform. "It was so last-minute, that, I kid you not, I had three rehearsals," he says. He performed with BalletX as a guest artist that fall, auditioned for an open company position in the spring and had a contract by the end of his senior year.
In this video ThePointeShop's Josephine Lee may not be giving her usual pointe shoe advice, but she is putting pointe shoes to good use... in the classic wedding shoe game. She plays with newly engaged Ballet West dancers Beckanne Sisk and Chase O'Connell to find out how well the couple knows each other.
Gainesville, Florida, may not seem like the typical place you'd see a major revival of a historic ballet. But November 8–9, Santa Fe College will present Cuban choreographer Alberto Alonso's 1967 Carmen Suite, rarely performed in the U.S. Staged by his widow, Sonia Calero-Alonso, the production will star American Ballet Theatre principals Sarah Lane and Cory Stearns as Carmen and Don José, and ABT corps member Luis Ribagorda (Lane's husband) as Escamillo, as well as dancers from New York Dance Project. It will also feature the Gainesville Orchestra, making this the first time the full ballet has been performed to live music in the U.S. since 1974.
Alonso, who died in 2007, had strong ties to Gainesville, and to Santa Fe College in particular. Although he helped found the Cuban National Ballet with his brother Fernando and his sister-in-law, the renowned Alicia Alonso, he and his wife expatriated to Florida in 1993. The pair spent the next 18 years teaching and choreographing at Santa Fe College's dance program. Alora Haynes, chair of fine arts for Santa Fe College, has wanted to produce the full Carmen Suite for over 25 years.
Noëlla Pontois, the striking, lithe and fiercely technical former étoile of the Paris Opera Ballet, was renown for her interpretation of aristocratic roles in 19th-century ballets. In this 1983 performance from Rudolf Nureyev's production of Raymonda, Pontois is at her most imperious and entrancing in the title role's wedding variation.
"I was living my dream, but I wasn't happy," recalls Alexandra Pullen. Since starting ballet at age 5, the Chicago native aspired to join American Ballet Theatre and dance the roles her mother, Ellen Krafft, had performed there a generation before. And she achieved it: Fast-tracked from the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School to the Studio Company, and then to the main company, by 20 she'd performed her mother's parts in Giselle and Don Quixote, toured the world, and attended galas and New York Fashion Week. And she was miserable.
Last winter, we found out that a ballet emoji was coming our way as part of Emoji 12.0. The update includes nearly 400 new emojis featuring several disability-related symbols, gender neutral figures, and, thankfully, our favorite new tiny pair of pointe shoes. Since then, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Twitter and other platforms (see a full list here) have all released their versions, but there was one hold out: Apple. Every iPhone update has left us breathlessly scrolling through the emojis, searching for the pointe shoes... until now! On October 28, Apple released iOS 13.2, and for the fellow iPhone users out there, all of our emoji dreams have finally come true.
Check out the full list of Apple's new emojis below in a post from Emojipedia's Instagram. (The pointe shoe is in the center of the 11th row down from the top, sandwiched between the swim shorts and the banjo.)
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We might be biased, but we think that ballet dancers are unusually good at Halloween. After all, they wear costumes for a living, are familiar with elaborate hair and makeup techniques and own leotards in most colors of the rainbow (the perfect base for any costume).
We perused Instagram to find our favorite dancer looks from Halloween 2019. Though it was certainly hard to narrow down the pool, we've rounded up 12 of our favorite posts below. So pull out what's left of your Halloween candy, and enjoy!
What is the hardest role you've learned?
Swan Lake. You need so much endurance to get through it. Especially in Act III, when you're about to do the fouettés—I feel like I can't see, I'm so tired by that point. It's a battle of your own mind.
You've danced Aurora for The Royal Ballet and at San Francisco Ballet—how were they different?
In London it was my debut; it was 10 times harder dancing it for the first time. Revisiting it in San Francisco, I had so much more experience—it wasn't as hard as I remembered. Anytime you revisit a role, it becomes slightly less hard than the first time.
Though we haven't even gotten to The Nutcracker yet, competition season is just around the corner. Yesterday, the Prix de Lausanne announced the names of the 84 young hopefuls who will be competing in Montreaux, Switzerland next February, and the list includes 10 dancers from the U.S.
While eight candidates were pre-selected earlier this year, the majority of dancers applied via video submission and were chosen by a jury of nine dance-world professionals last week. The panel had a tall task: 377 dancers from 44 countries applied for a spot in the lineup. The 84 selected competitors hail from 26 countries including Japan, Australia, Belarus, South Africa and Cuba. Get to know the 10 U.S. dancers below, and stay tuned over the coming months for more updates on Prix de Lausanne.