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Onstage This Week: Vail Dance Fest Comes to an End, Natalia Osipova as Isadora Duncan and More!

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will revive "An Evening with Pianist Joyce Yang" this weekend in Aspen. Photo by Rose Eichenbaum, Courtesy of ASFB.

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


Vail Dance Festival Races to the Finish Line

This Sunday, Vail Dance Festival wraps up an eventful few weeks jam-packed with premieres, collaborations and guests. The final week of the festival has us looking forward to appearances from American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Hispánico and more.


Vail's NOW: Premieres Includes New Michelle Dorrance Work for ABT

On August 6, Vail's NOW: Premieres program features new works commissioned for the festival. Choreographers include New York City Ballet star Tiler Peck (making her festival choreographic debut), Lauren Lovette, Justin Peck and Claudia Schreier, who is creating a ballet on dancers from Ballet Hispánico. Tap maverick Michelle Dorrance is also choreographing a piece on American Ballet Theatre, the second of Dorrance's three works on the company this year. Watch some of the same choreographers' premieres at the 2017 edition of NOW below.


Ballet Hispánico's Carmen.maquia

NYC-based Ballet Hispánico will appear on two Vail stages: the Avon Performance Pavilion on August 8 and the Vilar Performing Arts Center on August 9. The first, a family-friendly park performance, is free to the public, with a program celebrating the diversity of Latino cultures. The second features Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's CARMEN.maquia, a contemporary, Picasso-inspired reinterpretation of the classic Bizet opera, Carmen.


BalletX Headlines the Closing Night Performance

Philadelphia's BalletX has been a presence for six of the past seven Vail Dance Festivals. This year, the company will appear at the closing event on August 11, in works all new to the festival. Also on the program is a world premiere by Memphis jooking star Lil Buck, also a Vail regular. The performance includes an onstage dance party for the audience.


World Premiere Starring Natalia Osipova Pays Tribute to Isadora Duncan

On August 10-12, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA, presents the world premiere of ISADORA, a full-length tribute to modern dance icon Isadora Duncan. With choreography by Vladimir Varnava of the Mariinsky Theatre, the ballet is set to music from Sergei Prokofiev's Cinderella. International star and Royal Ballet principal Natalia Osipova will star in the title role. Former American Ballet Theatre principal Veronika Part and Vladimir Dorokhin will also have top billing. Catch a glimpse inside the rehearsal process in the following video.


Dancers from The National Ballet of Canada at the Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur

For the August 12 closing of the Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur, artistic director and National Ballet of Canada principal Guillaume Côté will take the stage with some of his NBoC colleagues. The performance will feature a world premiere by Côté, as well as two ballets by Canadian choreographer James Kudelka: the Summer pas de deux from his The Four Seasons and The Man in Black, a tribute to singer-songwriter Johnny Cash.


Chautauqua Welcomes Nashville Ballet

On August 11, Nashville Ballet will perform at the Chautaqua Institution in upstate New York, with accompaniment from the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. Two works by Nashville Ballet artistic director Paul Vasterling are on the bill: Appalachian Spring, an abstract interpretation to Aaron Copland's famous score, and selections from Concerto: The Ben Folds Project. Jiří Kylián's Six Dances and selections from George Balanchine's Western Symphony finish out the night.


Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Brings Back Collaboration with Pianist Joyce Yang

World-renowned pianist Joyce Yang and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet are presenting an encore of their sold-out show, An Evening with Pianist Joyce Yang, in Aspen August 10-11. The program features Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo's Half/Cut/Split, set to Robert Schumman's Carnaval; Jiří Kylián's Return to a Strange Land, a tribute to his mentor, John Cranko; and Nicolo Fonte's 2011 Where We Left Off, which Fonte intended purely as a "pretty ballet"—a concept he described as taboo at the time.

News
Erin Baiano, Courtesy Vail Dance Festival

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

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Ballet Training
From left: Duncan McIlwaine and Joseph Markey rehearse a new work by Gemma Bond. Rachel Papo.

The members of ABT Studio Company straddle two worlds: student and professional. On a March afternoon, as the dancers rehearse for a work choreographed by ABT dancer Gemma Bond, they appear more the former: Clean academic leotards and tights reveal coltish legs. But as soon as they launch into the piece (which later had its New York City debut at The Joyce Theater), it's evident how close these dancers are to a professional rank. Their movements and expressiveness grow bolder with each entrance. Soon they're sliding to the ground in floorwork and swirling confidently in daring lifts. "This group is particularly brilliant to work with," says Bond. "Each dancer seems to have something interesting in the way that they move, which made the creation process a little more of a collaboration than some of my other works."

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Ballet Training
Karin Ellis-Wentz and Joffrey Ballet Academy of Dance student Elliana Teuscher. Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet.

"Hopping on pointe is a bit of a weird feeling," says Karin Ellis-Wentz, head of pre-professional programs at the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago. But, she adds, it's a skill advanced dancers need "because it's in so many variations." Here, she takes us through the techniques and exercises that help her students master this necessary trick.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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