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Onstage This Week: NBoC Brings "Nijinsky" to San Francisco, Kansas City Ballet's 60th Anniversary Festival, and More

National Ballet of Canada's Francesco Gabriele Frola in "Nijinsky." Photo by Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC.

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


National Ballet of Canada Brings John Neumeier's Nijinsky to San Francisco

NBoC is bringing their acclaimed production of John Neumeier's Nijinsky to San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House April 3-8 as part of San Francisco Ballet's spring season. As part of a reciprocal agreement, SFB will tour to Toronto in an upcoming season. We're jealous that Bay Area audiences have the chance to see this thrilling ballet, which delves into the life and work of the famous 20th century choreographer and dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. Catch a glimpse in the below video.



There are three exciting companies performing on NYC stages this week:

  • April 4-7, Dance Theatre of Harlem heads to New York City Center for its 2018 hometown spring season. Highlights include the company's New York premieres of Darrell Grand Moultrie's Harlem on My Mind, Christopher Wheeldon's This Bitter Earth and George Balanchine's Valse-Fantaisie. The program will also feature the revival of Geoffrey Holder's Dougla with guest artists from Collage Dance Collective. Want a sneak peek? Check out our Facebook LIVE video of DTH in rehearsal for Harlem on My Mind.
  • The New Jersey-based American Repertory Ballet returns to the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College April 6-7 in a program titled Generations: Influences From the Modern Age. This triple bill includes the company premieres of artistic director Douglas Martin's Rite of Spring and Gerald Arpino's Sea Shadow alongside modern dance pioneer José Limón's There is a Time.
  • Russian choreographer Boris Eifman brings his St. Petersburg-based company Eifman Ballet to Lincoln Center's Koch Theater April 6-8 in his innovative production of Anna Karenina, to music by Tchaikovsky. Check out their fast-paced trailer here.


Pennsylvania Ballet's Mixed Rep Program

April 5-8, PAB presents Grace & Grandeur, a mixed repertoire program including the second act of Marius Petipa's Paquita, Christopher Wheeldon's For Four and George Balanchine's Theme and Variations. We love this video compilation that the company posted on Instagram of Sterling Baca, Jack Thomas and Ze Cheng Liang slaying Theme and Variations' infamous double tour/pirouette series.


    Alabama Ballet Presents the Company Premiere of La Fille Mal Gardée

    Alabama Ballet presents the light-hearted, family friendly La Fille Mal Gardée (The Wayward Daughter) at the BJCC Theatre in Birmingham April 6-8. This ballet, with its bright costumes, maypole scene and dancing chickens (see below) seems like the perfect way to beckon in springtime.


    Kansas City Ballet's Chock-Full 60th Anniversary Season

    KCB will continue its season-long 60th Anniversary Dance Festival over the next two weekends with two world premieres and six company premieres. April 6-8, KCB will dance George Balanchine's Diamonds, Jiří Kylián's Petite Mort and the world premiere of Matthew Neenan's The Uneven. April 13-15 the company will present James Kudelka's The Man in Black, Stanton Welch's Play and the world premiere of Andrea Schermoly's Klein Perspectives. Check out Neenan's new work below.


    Miami City Ballet's Alexei Ratmansky Company Premiere

    MCB presents a mixed rep program in three Florida cities over three weekends this month (April 6-8 in West Palm Beach, April 13-15 in Miami and April 28-29 in Fort Lauderdale). The lineup includes George Balanchine's Apollo and La Valse alongside the company premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Concerto DSCH. No matter how many times we've seen Apollo, we can never get enough of this classic shot.


    Ballet Memphis Brings Back Their Magical Peter Pan

    April 7-8, Ballet Memphis brings back associate artistic director Steven McMahon's Peter Pan. The story of Peter Pan is special to the young choreographer; it was the first ballet he ever saw on stage as a 10-year-old in Scotland, sparking the dream of a dance career. The production includes such extensive flying effects that when the company recently moved to new studios, they built one with 45 foot ceilings so that they could rehearse the ballet in-house. Longtime company member Julie Marie Niekrasz will dance Wendy in her last mainstage role before retiring from the company, making this run extra special.

    Ballet Careers
    Gray Davis with wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary, after his graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Courtesy Trenary.

    When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office.

    Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist Cassandra Trenary, to many he's best known for saving the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The heroic effort earned him the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.

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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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    Ballet Stars
    Megan Amanda Ehrlich, Courtesy LEAP Program

    Claire Sheridan wanted to change the status quo. Leading up to the 1990s, she recalls, "there was a 'shut up and dance' mind-set," and as the founder of the dance program at St. Mary's College of California and a longtime teacher in professional companies, she had seen too many dancers retire with no plan for a successful career transition. "At that time, if you thought about education and the future," she says, "you were not a committed dancer. I wanted to fight that."

    With the support of St. Mary's, Sheridan developed the Liberal Education for Arts Professionals program, or LEAP, an innovative liberal-arts bachelor's degree program designed especially for professional dancers. She first presented her idea to executives at San Francisco Ballet. "Kudos to that company, because they said, 'This is great,'" she says. "Eleven of the first 18 dancers who started in August 1999 were from SFB."

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    Ballet Training
    Getty Images

    I'm a college freshman, and my dance program isn't challenging enough. We only have ballet three times a week and a few hours of modern, and my classmates aren't as dedicated as I am. There's a small dance company nearby, where I was hoping to take extra classes, but I don't have a car. I want to transfer, but I feel like I won't be in good enough shape for auditions. —Tara

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