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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
Lenai Alexis Wilkerson. Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Michelle Tabnick Public Relations.

This is one of a series of stories on recent graduates' on-campus experiences—and the connections they made that jump-started their dance careers. Lenai Alexis Wilkerson graduated from University of Southern California with a BFA in dance (dance performance concentration) and a political science minor in 2019.

As Lenai Alexis Wilkerson looked at colleges, she wanted a school that would prepare her for two totally different professions: dancing and law. "I knew, pretty much when I was 16, that I wanted to go to law school," she says. "So I wanted the opportunity to have a dual college experience, where I could have a conservatory training style within a university and I could focus equally on my academics." When she auditioned for the inaugural class of University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, she knew it was the right fit.

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Sponsored by Ballet Arizona
Tzu Chia Huang, Courtesy Ballet Arizona

These days, ballet dancers are asked to do more than they ever have—whether that's tackling versatile rep, taking on intense cross-training regimens or managing everything from their Instagram pages to their summer layoff gigs.

Without proper training, these demands can take a toll on both the mind and the body. But students can start preparing for them early—with the right summer intensive program.

The School of Ballet Arizona's summer intensive takes a well-rounded approach to training—not just focusing on technique and facility but nurturing overall dancer growth. "You cannot make a dancer just by screaming at them like they used to," says master ballet teacher Roberto Muñoz, who guests at the program every summer. "You have to take care of the person as well."

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News
Nicolas Pelletier in Carmina Burana. Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet.

Last week, Colorado Ballet interrupted Nutcracker rehearsals for an exciting announcement: Four dancers were being promoted. Though all made the jump from the company's corps de ballet, Nicolas Pelletier ascended directly to the rank of soloist, while Sean Omandam, Emily Speed and Melissa Zoebisch were promoted to demi-soloist. This news comes hot on the heels of last August's promotion of Francisco Estevez to principal.

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Courtesy School of Pennsylvania Ballet

While many of us are deep in Nutcracker duties, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet director James Payne has been looking further ahead, finalizing preparations for the school's summer intensive programs. In January, he and his staff will embark on a 24-city audition tour to scour the country for the best young dancers, deciding whether or not to offer them a spot—maybe even a scholarship—in the school's rigorous 5-week intensive focused on high-caliber ballet instruction. Though he'll be evaluating aspirants, he urges that as a student, you should be equally selective in choosing programs that could galvanize your training—and possibly even your career.

We got Payne's advice on strategizing your summer intensive plan before the audition cycle kicks in:

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