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Onstage This Week: Neumeier's "Anna Karenina" at the Bolshoi, World Premieres in Richmond and Phoenix, and More

Richmond Ballet dancers in "An Open Later..." by Matthew Frain. Photo by Sarah Ferguson, Courtesy Richmond Ballet.

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


The Bolshoi Premiere of John Neumeier's Anna Karenina

Last July Hamburg Ballet presented the world premiere of John Neumeier's Anna Karenina, a modern adaptation on Leo Tolstoy's famous novel. Hamburg Ballet coproduced the full-length ballet with the National Ballet of Canada and the Bolshoi, the latter of which will premiere the work March 23 (NBoC will have its premiere in November). The production will feature Bolshoi star Svetlana Zakharova in the title role. This is especially fitting as Neumeier's initial inspiration for the ballet came from Zakharova while they were working together on his Lady of the Camellias. The following video delves into what makes this production stand out.



World Premieres at Richmond Ballet and Ballet Arizona

Richmond Ballet's New Works Festival March 20-25 features pieces by four choreographers who have never worked with Richmond Ballet before: Francesca Harper, Tom Mattingly, Mariana Oliveira and Bradley Shelver. But there's a twist: each choreographer had only 25 hours with the dancers to create a 10-15 minute ballet.

Meanwhile the Phoenix-based company's spring season opens with Today's Masters 2018, March 22-25. The program includes a company premiere by Alejandro Cerrudo and world premieres by Nayon Iovino and artistic director Ib Andersen. Andersen's Pelvis features dance moves and costumes from the 1950s and references to Elvis Presley (pElvis, anyone?)


San Francisco Ballet Honors Robbins

Mysterious; romantic; witty; electrifying. That's how SFB describes their upcoming tribute to Jerome Robbins, March 20-25. The company is one of dozens of others honoring Robbins this year; last week we covered Cincinnati Ballet and New York Theatre Ballet. SFB is presenting four works celebrating the famed choreographer's career in ballet and Broadway: Fancy Free, Opus 19/The Dreamer, The Cage and Other Dances.


Reid and Harriet Designs at the Guggenheim

March 25-27, costume design duo Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung take the stage as part of Guggenheim Works & Process. The partnership is known for creatively intersecting design and dance; last summer they created a swimwear line based on Justin Peck costumes, and in November they presented their design-driven Nutcracker. For this week's show they collaborated with a long list of choreographers including Lar Lubovitch and Pam Tanowitz to create short works featuring their costumes. A number of dancers including New York City Ballet principal Russell Janzen will be acting as moving models.

Ballet Stars
Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC

It's hard to imagine the National Ballet of Canada without ballerina Greta Hodgkinson. Yet this week NBoC announced that the longtime company star will take her final bow in March, as Marguerite in Sir Frederick Ashton's Marguerite and Armand.

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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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News
Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

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Viral Videos

What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.

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