Since joining American Ballet Theatre as a soloist in 2008, Russian-born Daniil Simkin has become a fixture in the New York City dance scene. In addition to performing leading roles with ABT in everything from Giselle to Whipped Cream, Simkin has also spearheaded his own side projects like 2015's INTENSIO and, most recently, his Falls the Shadow at the Guggenheim Museum's rotunda.


But Simkin has just announced that he'll be calling Germany home in fall of 2018, when he will officially join Staatsballett Berlin for the company's 2018–19 season. Simkin's new role coincides with the start of the company's new directors, Sasha Waltz and Johannes Öhman, an announcement which caused a ton of backlash when it was decided upon last fall.

With Simkin's international fame, we're not totally surprised by the move, but we are pleased to see that he won't entirely be leaving NYC. In a press release from ABT, both Simkin and ABT's artistic director Kevin McKenzie stated that Simkin will continue to perform with ABT (schedule permitting).

On his future with Staatsballett, Simkin said, "Having grown up in Germany, I am looking forward to returning with everything that ABT has taught me and to joining Staatsballett Berlin under the directorship of Sasha Waltz and Johannes Öhman...But as of now, I am just very excited for the Fall season to begin and cannot wait for another great year at ABT!"

Given Simkin's use of technology in his dance works, he's bound to keep us updated on his next adventure via social media. But in the meantime, we'll use this as an excuse to catch as many shows as possible in the upcoming season with ABT.

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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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