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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.

The Conversation
Ballet Stars
Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB

Your teacher at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Marcia Dale Weary, recently passed away. What impact did she have on you?

I feel deeply indebted to her. She shaped my life's course, and I know that were it not for her, I would not be living out my dream today. She led by example through her remarkable commitment to her work, as well as her genuine kindness and generosity.

You were a trainee with San Francisco Ballet. What was that experience like?

It was an exposure to different schools of thought. We were mostly in the full-lengths, and watching run-throughs of Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote was revolutionary for me. But I was young and far away from home. That transition was hard. My body started changing. It wanted to be fleshy. Biology is cruel in that way. I desperately wanted to fit in, but it wasn't meant to be.

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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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Site Network
Left: Misa Kuranaga in The Veritginous Thrill of Exactitude. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet. Right: Sasha Mukhamedov in Apollo. Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet.

San Francisco Ballet just announced some major news: longtime Boston Ballet star Misa Kuranaga will be joining the company as a principal dancer for the 2019-20 season, while Dutch National Ballet principal Sasha Mukhamedov has been hired as a soloist. They join a slew of newly promoted SFB principals and soloists, announced earlier this year.

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Ballet Stars
Xiao Nan Yu in company class. Aaron Vincent, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

On June 22, National Ballet of Canada principal Xiao Nan Yu will retire from the stage after 22 years with the company. Originally from Dalian, China, Yu studied at the Shen Yang School of Dance and the Beijing Dance Academy before coming to Canada's National Ballet School at age 17. She joined the National Ballet of Canada less than two years later, and was promoted to principal in 2001.

"She is a supreme dance actress with an innate ability to bring the audience into her world," says NBoC artistic director Karen Kain. "Nan has always brought such a calm confidence into the studio and has been a role model for so many dancers I will miss her generosity both inside the studio and out." We spoke with Yu as she prepared for her final week of performances. She opened up about her initial culture shock upon moving to Toronto, her thoughts on artistry and why she chose Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow as her final role.

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