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Onstage This Week: Wendy Whelan in "THE DAY," Vail Dance Fest Week 2, World Premiere at American Contemporary Ballet and More!

Nils Schlebusch, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow Dance

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


Wendy Whelan Returns to the Stage

This week, New York City Ballet associate artistic director Wendy Whelan joins celebrated cellist Maya Beiser onstage at Jacob's Pillow in THE DAY, choreographed by postmodern icon Lucinda Childs. Exploring memory and resilience, this multi-genre collaboration between Beiser and Childs features music by Pulitzer Prize–winning composer David Lang. After its July 31–August 4 run at Jacob's Pillow, THE DAY is scheduled to tour to New York City and Washington, DC.

Stars Descend on the Vail Dance Festival 

The second week of the Vail Dance Festival has arrived, and with it a deluge of stars and premieres. July 30 marks the the festival premiere of BalletX in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's new The Little Prince. On July 31, M.A.I. co-founders Lil Buck and Jon Boogz, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Hope Boykin and New York City Ballet principal Lauren Lovette join forces for UpClose: Just Dances, a rehearsal-style performance.

On August 2 and August 3, things get even more glamorous. The two International Evenings of Dance feature a seemingly endless list of stars from NYCB, American Ballet Theatre, the Mikhailovsky Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Pam Tanowitz Dance, Dorrance Dance and much more. A handful of the many ballet highlights include Catherine Hurlin and Julian MacKay in a pas de deux from Don Quixote, Unity Phelan and Calvin Royal III in excerpts from Apollo and Maria Kochetkova and Joseph Gordon in a pas de deux from La Sylphide.

World Premiere of "Death and the Maiden" at American Contemporary Ballet

American Contemporary Ballet artistic director Lincoln Jones presents the world premiere of Death and the Maiden August 1-11 at The Fashion Theater in Los Angeles. Jones' newest ballet is set to Franz Schubert's string quartet of the same name, which he wrote in 1824 as a testament to his own mortality. Check out ACB's Instagram for beautiful rehearsal shots of this new work.

Stars of American Ballet Take Aspen

New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht's summer pickup company, Stars of American Ballet, takes the stage in Aspen on August 3. The troupe, which is being presented by Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, is bringing classic works including George Balanchine's Tarantella, Jerome Robbins' Andantino and Christopher Wheeldon's This Bitter Earth.

Louisville Ballet Presents "Cleopatra: Queen of Kings" Outdoors

July 31-August 4, Louisville Ballet presents Cleopatra: Queen of Kings as part of the company's partnership with Kentucky Shakespeare's Festival in Central Park. Choreographed by Louisville Ballet dancer Erica De La O, Cleopatra is set to an original score by Kentucky-based composer Scott Moore and features step dancers from Western Middle School. This week's performances are all free and open to the public.

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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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