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Onstage This Week: NYCB's Spring Season Opens, World Premieres at Cincinnati Ballet and Wonderbound, and More

Tiler Peck in Balanchine's "Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy New York City Ballet.

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


NYCB Spring Season Opens

NYCB's 2018 Spring Season opens on April 24. The next six weeks are filled with all of what NYCB has to offer including classic works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, world premieres by Justin Peck and Warren Carlyle (each paying tribute to Robbins), and the full-length Coppélia. April 24-28 is all Balanchine; audiences can see works including Agon, The Four Temperaments and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. April 28 also offers NYCB's 21st Century Choreographers program, which will appear again later in the month, and includes Peter Walkers' dance odyssey, Alexei Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Justin Peck's Year of the Rabbit. Below, Tiler Peck discusses what Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux means to her—she'll be dancing the work April 25 with Joaquin De Luz.


Bold Moves at Cincinnati Ballet

This three-part program running April 26-29 features world premieres by contemporary choreographers Jennifer Archibald and Kate Weare as well as the company premiere of Justin Peck's Murder Ballades (set on the company by Patricia Delgado). Archibald is the company's resident choreographer (the first woman to hold that title in its 40-year history). With a body of work ranging from hip-hop to ballet, we're excited to see what this new piece will bring.



Wonderbound Presents a Zany Take on Mozart

The Denver-based company debuts Madness, Rack and Honey April 27–May 6 with live music by the Colorado Symphony. The program is comprised of two works, both to Mozart. Garret Ammon's Madness, Rack and Honey opens the program—the title comes from the a collection of lectures by the poet Mary Ruefle. Ammon made the piece for Smuin Ballet in 2016. Company dancer Sarah Tallman's world premiere titled I Didn't Hear You, I Was Away with the Fairies also pulls from poetry (namely Langston Hughes and E.E. Cummings). Catch a glimpse in the below trailer.



World Premiere at New York Theatre Ballet

April 27-29, New York Theatre Ballet presents a world premiere by British choreographer Richard Alston alongside encore performances of three rarely seen Jerome Robbins ballets—Septet, Concertino and Rondo—in honor of his centennial. With live music throughout, the program, held at Florence Gould Hall in NYC, is sure to excite. Alston's The Seasons is described as a meditation on the cycle of a year in nature, with inspiration from Indian philosophical thought.


Charlotte Ballet Beckons In the Spring

Charlotte Ballet's April 26-28 Spring Works program features works by three choreographers new to the company: former Charlotte Ballet dancer Bryan Arias, Helen Pickett and Filipe Portugal (this program marks his North American choreographic debut). Also on the program is Ohad Naharin's Minus 16. You can check out why the dancers are excited about Spring Works in this article, and catch a glimpse of Minus 16 in fast-paced trailer below.


Festival Ballet Providence Goes Under the Sea

Festival Ballet Providence presents its season finale April 27-29. Mark Diamond's Little Mermaid will incorporate multi-media elements and delve into the famous fairy tale with a full cast of characters, including students from the Festival Ballet Providence School. The show also marks the final performance for company dancer Alan Alberto. Check out these whimsical costumes and sets in the below trailer.


Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève is in NYC

The Switzerland-based contemporary ballet company returns to NYC's Joyce Theater April 24-29 with Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg's full-length ballet Une Autre Passion, an abstract take on Bach's Saint Matthew Passion.


Tudor, Balanchine and Ashton at Sarasota Ballet

Closing out their 2017-2018 season, Sarasota Ballet presents Great Masters of Dance April 27-28. The program features four works: Antony Tudor's The Leaves Are Fading, George Balanchine's Bugaku and Tarantella, and Sir Frederick Ashton's Marguerite and Armand. Balanchine originally choreographed Bugaku for New York City Ballet in 1963; it portrays a Japanese wedding ceremony, paying tribute to the refined elegance of Japanese music and dance. Principal Logan Learned will be dancing Tarantella in his farewell performance with the company.

Ellen Overstreet and Ricardo Rhodes in "Bugaku." Photo by Frank Atura, Courtesy Sarasota Ballet.

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
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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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