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Onstage This Week: ABT's Met Season Opens with "Giselle," Ballet West's National Choreographic Festival Celebrates Women Leaders, And More

Artists of Ballet West. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West.

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


ABT Met Opera Season Opens with Giselle

This week American Ballet Theatre moves into the Metropolitan Opera House for their annual 8-week season. From Alexei Ratmansky's new Harlequinade to the world premiere of AFTERITE by Wayne McGregor, this season is packed. But week one opens with a classic: Giselle. Though a number of ABT's most celebrated dancers will have their turn in the lead roles this week, the May 18th performance will be danced by guest star Natalia Osipova in the title role opposite ABT principal David Hallberg as Albrecht.


Ballet West National Choreographic Festival Celebrates Women in Ballet Leadership Roles

Last year, Ballet West debuted their National Choreographic Festival. This year, the festival is back, but with a new twist: All of the pieces are by female choreographers and all of the invited companies are run by female directors. Starting on May 17, the festival runs over two consecutive weekends and features four companies alongside Ballet West: Richmond Ballet, The Washington Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet and Charlotte Ballet. The first weekend includes Richmond Ballet in Akwarium by Katarzyna Skarpetowska, The Washington Ballet in Gemma Bond's MYRIAD, and Ballet West in Natalie Weir's Jabula. Catch a sneak peek in the below video.


World Premiere by Ib Andersen at Ballet Arizona

From May 15-June 2, audiences can catch Ballet Arizona in Eroica, a new work by artistic director Ib Andersen to Beethoven's Third Symphony. Performances are held outdoors at the Desert Botanical Garden, with striking views of the night sky and Arizona desert as a background.


Indianapolis Ballet Closes Its Debut Season

Indianapolis Ballet's debut season closes May 18-20 with three works: Don Quixote Grand Pas de Deux, artistic director Victoria Lyras' A Midsummer Night's Dream and Éclat!, a new ballet by Lyras to Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major.


World Premiere by Tom Gold for New York Theatre Ballet at Boston's Gardner Museum

On May 17, New York Theatre Ballet will head to Boston to perform a program titled The Classical World in Modern Choreography at the Gardner Museum. The performance takes place in conjuncture with the exhibition of the antiquarian marble Farnese Sarcophagus (see it here) which includes imagery referencing the myth of Dionysus and Ariadne. NYTB will perform Vaslav Nijinsky's Afternoon of a Faun, Jerome Robbins Antique Epigraphs and a world premiere by Tom Gold titled Blind Revelry. Gold's work places the tale of Dionysus and Ariadne in modern times, set to music by Stephen Sondheim.

Summer Intensive Survival
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There's a sweet spot toward the end of August—after summer intensives have wrapped up and before it's time to head back to school or work—where the days are long, lazy and begging to be spent neck-deep in a pile of good books. Whether you're looking for inspiration for the upcoming season or trying to brush up on your dance history, you can never go wrong with an excellent book on ballet. We've gathered eight titles (all available at common booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble) guaranteed to give you a deeper understanding of the art form, to add to your end-of-summer reading list.

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James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico warm up onstage. Angela Sterling, Courtesy SDC.

On a sunny July weekend, hundreds of Seattle-area dance fans converged on tiny Vashon Island, a bucolic enclave in Puget Sound about 20 miles from the city. They made the ferry trek to attend the debut performance of the fledgling Seattle Dance Collective.

SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.

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News
Roman Mejia in Robbins' Dances at a Gathering. Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB.

The Princess Grace Foundation has just announced its 2019 class, and we're thrilled that two ballet dancers—New York City Ballet's Roman Mejia and BalletX's Stanley Glover—are included among the list of über-talented actors, filmmakers, playwrights, dancers and choreographers.

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The Royal Ballet's Alexander Campbell and Yasmine Naghdi in Ashton's The Two Pigeons. Tristram Kenton, Courtesy ROH.

While most ballet casts are 100 percent human, it's not unheard of for live animals to appear onstage, providing everything from stage dressing to supporting roles. Michael Messerer's production of Don Quixote features a horse and a donkey; American Ballet Theatre's Giselle calls for two Russian wolfhounds; and Sir Frederick Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee requires a white Shetland pony. Another Ashton masterpiece, The Two Pigeons, is well known for its animal actors. But though ballet is a highly disciplined, carefully choreographed art form, some performers are naturally more prone to flights of fancy—because they're birds.

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