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Onstage This Week: Tulsa Ballet's NYC Tour, Pennsylvania Ballet's "Swan Lake" Premiere and More

Dancers of Tulsa Ballet. Photo by Francisco Estevez via The Joyce Theater.

From tours to premieres to full-length classics, this is an exciting week in ballet. We've rounded up programs by Tulsa Ballet, BalletNext, National Ballet of Canada, Pennsylvania Ballet, Charlotte Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet, as well as an evening of dance and music curated by Damian Woetzel and featuring some of ballet's biggest stars, to give you a sense of what's happening on ballet stages this week.


Tulsa Ballet

This Oklahoma-based company is heading east for a five-day run at The Joyce Theater in New York City, opening March 6. Their first time at the Joyce in 9 years, the company is bringing a world premiere by resident choreographer Ma Cong as well as works by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Helen Pickett. Check out a preview below.



BalletNext

Former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Michele Wiles's company BalletNext returns to New York Live Arts on March 6 after a year-long hiatus as Wiles welcomed the birth of her first child. The program features four new works choreographed by Wiles (one co-choreographed by and performed with deaf dancer Bailey Anne Vincent). The company has been posting lots of behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage on Instagram, as well as glamorous shots by dance photographer Nisian Hughes.


DEMO by Damian Woetzel: Now

On March 7 Damian Woetzel presents an evening of recent dance commissions at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Ballet stars Sara Mearns and Patricia Delgado will perform alongside a number of modern dance artists; Mearns will dance Alexei Ratmansky's solo Fandago and Delgado will perform in two works by postmodern choreographer Pam Tanowitz. Catch a glimpse of Mearns' fiery solo in the video below (skip to 2:27).


National Ballet of Canada

From March 8-18, National Ballet of Canada presents the classic Sleeping Beauty. Their version was choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev in 1966 and was first performed by NBoC in 1972. Need a quick refresher on the story? The company put together this fun animated synopsis.


Pennsylvania Ballet

Pennsylvania Ballet is following the story ballet trend this week with the company premiere of Marius Petipa's Swan Lake, running from March 8-18 at the Academy of Music. While the company has performed shortened or re-imagined versions in the past, this is their first time presenting the full-length original, re-staged by artistic director Angel Corella. Check out those turns!


Charlotte Ballet

On March 9 Charlotte Ballet is presenting the American premiere of The Most Incredible Thing, the fairytale pop ballet choreographed by Javier de Frutos to music by the Pet Shop Boys. Running through March 18 in Charlotte's Knight Theater, this retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen fable is sure to thrill audiences. Check out the compilation of rehearsal footage below, or this full length video of the production performed in London in 2011.


The Joffrey Ballet

This is certainly the season for Romeo and Juliet, and The Joffrey Ballet is no exception. On March 9 the Chicago-based company is bringing their production, choreographed by Krzysztof Pastor, to The Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. The following day they'll also open their production of Orpheus and Eurydice, directed and choreographed by John Neumeier, in collaboration with the L.A. Opera. They'll be in L.A. through March 25.

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Boston Ballet's Kathleen Breen Combes, María Álvarez and Dawn Atkins. Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow.

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

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Ballet Stars
Alexandra MacDonald (front row, third from left) didn't win a medal at the Genée International Ballet Competition, but says she came home inspired and newly motivated by the people she met there. Photo Courtesy Genée IBC.

Ballet competitions are an exciting part of any dancer's career. Yet while scholarships, prize money, job offers and the prestige that comes with winning a medal are compelling incentives to participate in one, they're not the only benefits. In fact, many dancers who go home empty-handed still look fondly on the experience and go on to become successful professionals.

This week, the 2019 Genée International Ballet Competition kicks off in Toronto. From August 20-29, over 50 dancers, ages 15–19 and trained in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus, will perform three solos in the hopes of winning a medal and a $10,000 cash prize. Many past medalists have gone on to illustrious careers—but so have those who didn't win anything. We spoke with three Genée alumni now dancing professionally who know what it's like not to place. Read on to find out why they deem their comp experiences a success, and how you can make the most of yours—whether you win or not.

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Ballet Stars
Skylar Brandt and Josephine Lee. Screenshot Courtesy Lee.

Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop chats with American Ballet Theatre soloist Skylar Brandt to hear about how she prepares her pointe shoes. We think Brandt might win an award for how long she makes her shoes last; watch the below video for the staggering number of days (or weeks!), and to hear about all of her unique customizations and pro tips.

Courtesy Chiara Valle

Chiara Valle is just one of many dancers heading back to the studio this fall as companies ramp up for the season. But her journey back has been far more difficult than most.

Valle has been a trainee at The Washington Ballet since 2016, starting at the same time as artistic director Julie Kent. But only a few months into her first season there, she started experiencing excruciating pain high up in her femur. "It felt like someone was stabbing me 24/7," she says. Sometimes at night, the pain got so bad that her roommates would bring her dinner to the bathtub.

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