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Onstage This Week: Ballet Across America, Joffrey World Premiere, Tharp Trio at ABT, and More!

Cylla von Tiedemann, Courtesy NBoC

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


Dance Theatre of Harlem and Miami City Ballet Join Forces at the Kennedy Center for Ballet Across America

The Kennedy Center's fifth annual Ballet Across America festival runs from May 28-June 2, and it shines a spotlight on women's creativity and leadership by presenting two female-led companies: Dance Theatre of Harlem and Miami City Ballet. May 28-30, audiences can see DTH in George Balanchine's Valse Fantasie, Dianne McIntyre's Change, Claudia Schreier's Passage and Geoffrey Holder's Dougla. June 1-2, MCB presents Balanchine's Walpurgisnacht Ballet, Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Carousel Pas de Deux, the jointly choreographed Brahms/Handel by Jerome Robbins and Twyla Tharp, and Justin Peck's Heatscape. On May 31 the companies come together for a shared program; dancers from both ensembles present the world premiere of Pam Tanowitz's Gustave Le Grey No. 1 to a score by Caroline Shaw.

The Joffrey Ballet's Collaboration With the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Includes a World Premiere

May 30-June 1, The Joffrey Ballet collaborates with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on a program titled Stravinsky & The Joffrey Ballet. The dancers will perform two works to music by Igor Stravinsky: Christopher Wheeldon's Commedia to his Pulcinella Suite and the world premiere of Stephanie Martinez's Bliss!, set to Dumbarton Oaks Concerto. The Symphony will also play works by Gioachino Rossini and Maurice Ravel. Above, CSO conductor Matthias Pintscher and Joffrey artistic director Ashley Wheater discuss Stravinsky's role in the ballet canon.

ABT's Twyla Tharp Trio Features the Company Premiere of "Deuce Coupe" 

After three weeks dedicated to Alexei Ratmansky's oeuvre, American Ballet Theatre's Metropolitan Opera House season changes course with Tharp Trio. This program, running May 30-June 3, features three diverse Twyla Tharp ballets: The Brahms-Haydn Variations, Deuce Coupe and In The Upper Room. Deuce Coupe, set to music by The Beach Boys, will be a company premiere; it debuted in 1973 with dancers from the Joffrey Ballet and Twyla Tharp Dance. Above, Tharp shares what it's been like to work with three generations of ABT dancers.

National Ballet of Canada's All Forsythe Program Includes Two Company Premieres 

June 1-8 marks National Ballet of Canada's Physical Thinking program, celebrating the work of William Forsythe. The lineup includes The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude and Approximate Sonata 2016 (both company premieres), and The Second Detail. The above trailer, featuring second soloist Kathryn Hosier, is a fresh reminder of Forsythe's boundary-stretching style.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" Takes the Stage at NYCB and Milwaukee Ballet

William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream has long been a source of creative fodder for artists of all mediums. This week, two Midsummer ballets, both to Felix Mendelssohn's beloved score, hit the stage.

  • New York City Ballet closes out its spring season with a run of George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream May 28-June 2. Above, Tiler Peck discusses dancing the ballet's Divertissement pas de deux.
  • May 30-June 2, Milwaukee Ballet closes out its 2018/19 season with its version, choreographed by Bruce Wells.

"The Merry Widow" Returns to Houston Ballet

May 31-June 9, Houston Ballet brings back British choreographer Ronald Hynd's The Merry Widow. This luscious ballet, set to a score by Franz Lehár, is based on Lehár's famous 1905 operetta about a secret romance taking place in the upper echelons of society. Above, Houston Ballet dancers talk about why they love this production.

PNB's Presents a Mixed Bill of Audience Favorites 

Pacific Northwest Ballet presents its final mixed bill of the season May 31-June 9. The program includes a a trio of classics—George Balanchine's Theme and Variations and Tarantella and Jose Limón's The Moor's Pavane—as well as a new favorite, company dancer Price Suddarth's Signature. PNB's Kyle Davis and Angelica Generosa discuss Tarantella in the above video.

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The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

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

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Sponsored by BLOCH
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."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's October 16–27 run honors principal Herman Cornejo, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a pas de deux with his sister, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo.

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Ballet Careers
Gray Davis with wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary, after his graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Courtesy Trenary.

When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office.

Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist Cassandra Trenary, to many he's best known for saving the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The heroic effort earned him the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.

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