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Onstage This Week: NYCB Opens Fall Season With "Jewels," The Australian Ballet's Debut of "Spartacus," Firebirds, Swans and More!

Ballet Austin's Aara Krumpe in The Firebird. After 20 years, this is Krumpe's final season with the company. Photo by Tony Spielberg, Courtesy Ballet Austin.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've pulled together some highlights.


New York City Ballet's Fall Season Opens with "Jewels" 

New York City Ballet's fall season opens September 18 at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater with six performances of Jewels. George Balanchine's beloved triptych is celebrated as the first full-length abstract ballet. When it debuted in 1967, Balanchine explained the inspiration behind his new masterpiece to an interviewer by saying, "The whole thing was—I like jewels." Catch a glimpse of "Emeralds," "Rubies" and "Diamonds" in the above trailer. The first week of NYCB's season also includes an all-Balanchine program featuring Concerto Barocco, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Stravinsky Violin Concerto and Symphony in C.

The Australian Ballet Debuts a New "Spartacus" 

September 18–29, The Australian Ballet's much awaited Spartacus debuts in Melbourne. Choreographer Lucas Jervies' new production retells the classical story of a warrior leading a slave rebellion against the Roman empire with music by Aram Khachaturian and sets and costumes by Jérôme Kaplan, known for his work on Alexei Ratmansky's Cinderella. The Australian Ballet has put out a series of behind-the-scenes videos giving viewers an insider look at the sets, costumes and choreography of the, ambitious production. Spartacus returns November 9–24 in Sydney.

Pacific Northwest Ballet Kicks Off Jerome Robbins Festival

Celebrations of Jerome Robbins' centennial are still in full swing. Pacific Northwest Ballet presented an all-Robbins program in Paris this summer, and now on September 21, they're bringing it back home. PNB's two-week Robbins festival featuring seven iconic ballets: In the Night, West Side Story Suite, Afternoon of a Faun, Other Dances, Circus Polka, The Concert and Dances at a Gathering. Check out an excerpt of the hilarious "Mistake Waltz" section of The Concert in the above video.

Nashville Ballet Opens Season with "Swan Lake" 

Nashville Ballet is opening their season with a bang: Their upgraded Swan Lake runs September 21–23. Artistic director Paul Vasterling (celebrating his 20th year with the company) made a number of choreographic updates, and Odette and the swan corps will be sporting new costumes. In anticipation, Nashville Ballet just put out this video describing the process behind creating 28 new swan tutus. Watch to see how many hours go into making a tutu—we bet you'll be surprised.

"The Firebird" Lights Up Ballet Austin's Season Opener 

Ballet Austin's 2018–19 season opens September 21–23 with a program featuring artistic director Stephen Mills' The Firebird juxtaposed by Lar Lubovitch's fluid Dvořák Serenade. Performances will feature company dancer Aara Krumpe in one of her best-known roles, the Firebird. Krumpe is embarking on her final season with Ballet Austin after a 20-year tenure, the longest of any dancer in the company's history.

Smuin Ballet's 25th-Anniversary Season Opens with Mixed Rep Program 

San Francisco–based Smuin Ballet launches its 25th anniversary season September 21 with Dance Series 01, a mixed repertoire program showing the breadth of the company. Works include Trey McIntyre's Blue Until June to music by Etta James, a trio of works by current and former company dancers, and two works by Michael Smuin himself: Schubert Scherzo and Eternal Idol. Learn a bit more about the company's 25-year history in the above video.

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Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet

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Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

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Kevin Lloyd Photography, Courtesy Ballet Jörgen

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Original photos: Getty Images

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