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Onstage This Week: Astana Ballet Makes West Coast Debut, Evelyn Hart Returns to RWB, and More!

Sarasota Ballet's Kate Honea and Ricardo Graziano in Balanchine's Western Symphony. Frank Atura, Courtesy Sarasota Ballet.

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


Astana Ballet Tours to the West Coast for the First Time

Kazakhstan-based Astana Ballet makes its West Coast debut this week with MASTERPIECES. The company, which blends ballet, national and modern styles, is showcasing Kazakh folk dance The Heritage of the Great Steppe as well as three neoclassical ballets—Ricardo Amarante's Love Fear Loss and A Fuego Lento and Nicolo Fonte's Love's Lost Idols. Astana Ballet stops in San Francisco November 19, San Diego on November 20, Escondido on November 21 and Los Angeles November 22.

Evelyn Hart Returns to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Stage

Royal Winnipeg Ballet celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. November 21-24, the company presents James Kudelka's Four Old Legs in RWB's intimate Founder's Studio. The duet, which explores the concept of growing old, brings former RWB prima ballerina Evelyn Hart back to the stage alongside contemporary dancer Zhenya Cerneacov.

Sarasota Ballet Presents the Company Premiere of "Western Symphony"

November 22-23, Sarasota Ballet presents the company premiere of George Balanchine's ode to Americana, Western Symphony, alongside Balanchine's Theme and Variations and Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Las Hermanas. The program, titled Symphonic Tales, features music played live by the Sarasota Orchestra, conducted by American Ballet Theatre music director Ormsby Wilkins.

Miami City Ballet Brings Three Ballet Hits to the Beach

November 23-24, Miami City Ballet returns to South Beach's historic Colony Theatre for Ballet on the Beach. The company brings three hit pieces on the road for this local tour: Justin Peck's Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes, Christopher Wheeldon's This Bitter Earth and Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs.

Carolina Ballet Pays Tribute to Grieg and Beethoven 

Carolina Ballet's A Tribute to the Masters double bill runs November 21-24. The program features two works by founding artistic director Robert Weiss: Piano Concerto to music by Edvard Grieg, and 7th Symphony, set to Beethoven.

New Chamber Ballet Brings Two World Premieres to City Center Studio 5

Miro Magloire's New Chamber Ballet celebrates its 15th anniversary November 22-23 at New York City Center's Studio 5. The program includes solos by Magloire for two departing dancers: Founding company member Elizabeth Brown will dance Morning Song to a score by John Cage, and Sarah Atkins will debut a new solo to Franz Schubert. Also on deck is a world premiere by Magloire to Dvořák's Romance op. 12, and the revival of Magloire's 2008 Klavierstück set to a composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen and Phantom to music by Wolfgang Rhim.

Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

When you're looking for a ballet program to take you to the next level, there are a lot of factors to consider. While it's tempting to look for the biggest name that will accept you, the savvy dancer knows that successful training has more to do with the attention and opportunities you'll get.

We put together a few of the most important things for dancers to look for in a summer or year-round training program, with the help of the experts at Colorado Ballet Academy:

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Courtesy Nichols

On Instagram this week, Misty Copeland reposted a picture of two Russian ballerinas covered head to toe in black, exposing the Bolshoi's practice of using black face in the classical ballet La Bayadère. The post has already received over 60,000 likes and 2,000 comments, starting a long overdue conversation.

Comments have been pouring in from every angle imaginable: from history lessons on blackface, to people outside of the ballet world expressing disbelief that this happens in 2019, to castigations of Copeland for exposing these young girls to the line of fire for what is ultimately the Bolshoi's costuming choice, to the accusations that the girls—no matter their cultural competence—should have known better.

I am a black dancer, and in 2003, when I was 11 years old, I was dressed up in blackface to perform in the Mariinsky Ballet's production of La Bayadère.

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Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy US Prix de Ballet

The US Prix de Ballet is taking an unconventional approach to the ballet competition—by putting the competitors' health first. After a successful first year in 2018, the Prix is returning to San Diego, CA this February with an even more comprehensive lineup of wellness workshops and master classes, in addition, of course, to the high-level competition.

Though the talent is top-notch, the environment is friendly, says HARID Conservatory faculty member Victoria Schneider, who serves on US Prix de Ballet's elite panel of judges. "The wellbeing of the dancer is the main focus," says Schneider, who awarded three scholarships to HARID at last year's competition.

US Prix de Ballet was born after its founders traveled to the Japan Grand Prix International Ballet Competition in 2016. "The company ran every aspect of the competition with professionalism, dignity, honor and precision," says founder Neisha Hernandez. "We knew we wanted this level of experience for America."

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