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Onstage This Week: Jerome Robbins, Women's History Month and More

Boston Ballet's Misa Kuranaga and Nelson Madrigal in John Cranko's "Romeo and Juliet." Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

From celebrations of Jerome Robbins' centennial to exciting premieres to old classics, this week is jam packed with ballet. We rounded up highlights from eight companies to give you a sense of what's happening onstage this week.


The Washington Ballet

On March 14, The Washington Ballet will present a triptych of new works. Gemma Bond's premiere ties-in to Women's History Month, and she discusses the connection in this video. Also on the bill are creations by celebrated dancers Clifton Brown and Marcelo Gomes. For video teasers of their works, click here.



Celebrating Jerome Robbins

This year is packed with works by Jerome Robbins, as companies celebrate the late choreographer's centennial. March 15–18, Cincinnati Ballet's Director's Cut: Musical Masters program is featuring Robbins' Fancy Free alongside works by George Balanchine and Garrett Smith.

New York Theatre Ballet also celebrates Robbins with a run at the 2018 Harkness Dance Festival at the 92nd Street Y, March 1617. The troupe will present three rarely seen Robbins works: Rondo (1980), Septet (1982) and Concertino (1982).


Ballet Idaho

March 15–18, Ballet Idaho presents their biannual contemporary studio series titled NewDance, featuring works by company dancers and local choreographers. This year's program includes pieces by Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti, Daniel Ojeda, Nathan Powell, Ethan Schweitzer-Gaslin and special guest Monique Meunier, a former New York City Ballet principal.


Boston Ballet

If you missed one of the many productions of Romeo and Juliet that sprung up around Valentine's Day, don't worry: Boston Ballet is presenting John Cranko's version of the tragic tale March 15–April 8. Catch a sneak peek of the drama in this video featuring company stars Misa Kuranaga and Paulo Arrais.


Atlanta Ballet

March 16–18 Atlanta Ballet presents Black Swan, featuring Petipa's Swan Lake Act III and a world premiere by emerging choreographer Craig Davidson. Before you go, get into the mode with this stunning slow-motion video of Jessica Assef transforming into the Black Swan.


Pacific Northwest Ballet

March 16–25 marks the company's annual Director's Choice program. Artistic director Peter Boal chose Ulysses Dove's Red Angels, William Forsythe's Singerland Duet and One Flat Thing, reproduced, and the world premiere Ezra Thomson's The Perpetual State. When One Flat Thing, reproduced premiered at PNB in 2008 it caused quite a controversy, with audiences calling into question whether the piece could be defined as ballet, or even dance. Hearing PNB dancer Miles Pertl's perspective in the below video might help you to decide for yourself.


Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet

The Boulder, Colorado–based contemporary ballet company presents two works by co-founder Robert Scher-Machherndl in a one-night-only performance on March 17 at the Dairy Arts Center. Although one of the pieces, Vertical Migration Experiment, is a duet, the other is much larger: The Slow Flight is a premiere with a cast of 22 dancers from the Colorado Ballet Training Program.

Summer Intensive Survival
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There's a sweet spot toward the end of August—after summer intensives have wrapped up and before it's time to head back to school or work—where the days are long, lazy and begging to be spent neck-deep in a pile of good books. Whether you're looking for inspiration for the upcoming season or trying to brush up on your dance history, you can never go wrong with an excellent book on ballet. We've gathered eight titles (all available at common booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble) guaranteed to give you a deeper understanding of the art form, to add to your end-of-summer reading list.

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James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico warm up onstage. Angela Sterling, Courtesy SDC.

On a sunny July weekend, hundreds of Seattle-area dance fans converged on tiny Vashon Island, a bucolic enclave in Puget Sound about 20 miles from the city. They made the ferry trek to attend the debut performance of the fledgling Seattle Dance Collective.

SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.

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Roman Mejia in Robbins' Dances at a Gathering. Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB.

The Princess Grace Foundation has just announced its 2019 class, and we're thrilled that two ballet dancers—New York City Ballet's Roman Mejia and BalletX's Stanley Glover—are included among the list of über-talented actors, filmmakers, playwrights, dancers and choreographers.

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The Royal Ballet's Alexander Campbell and Yasmine Naghdi in Ashton's The Two Pigeons. Tristram Kenton, Courtesy ROH.

While most ballet casts are 100 percent human, it's not unheard of for live animals to appear onstage, providing everything from stage dressing to supporting roles. Michael Messerer's production of Don Quixote features a horse and a donkey; American Ballet Theatre's Giselle calls for two Russian wolfhounds; and Sir Frederick Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee requires a white Shetland pony. Another Ashton masterpiece, The Two Pigeons, is well known for its animal actors. But though ballet is a highly disciplined, carefully choreographed art form, some performers are naturally more prone to flights of fancy—because they're birds.

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