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Onstage This Week: Shades, Swans, Wilis and More!

PNB in Justin Peck's "Year of the Rabbit." Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB.

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


Ballet Nacional de Cuba Continues U.S. Tour at the Kennedy Center

A few weeks ago we shared that the historic Ballet Nacional de Cuba is back in the U.S. after 40 years. The company has already made stops in Chicago and Tampa, and heads to The Kennedy Center May 29-June 2 as part of the Artes de Cuba festival with performances of Giselle and Don Quixote. The tour will conclude at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center June 6-8. Whether or not the company is heading to a city near you, you can catch a glimpse of Don Q in the below trailer.



Dancers Make Debuts in ABT's La Bayadère

American Ballet Theatre continues their Met Opera season this week with La Bayadère. The run is marked by a number of exciting debuts and guest appearances. To start with, The Mariinsky's Kimin Kim will be guest starring in the role of Solor on May 29 and June 1. ABT principals Devon Teuscher, Sarah Lane and Isabella Boylston will be making their debuts as Nikiya, corps dancer Joo Won Ahn and principal Jeffery Cirio will be debuting as Solor, and Christine Shevchenko, Skyler Brandt and Cassandra Trenary will be making debuts as Gamzatti. Check out the full list of casting here, and catch a glimpse at the Kingdom of the Shades below.


Swan Lake at Milwaukee Ballet and Texas Ballet Theater

Milwaukee Ballet artistic director Michael Pink's staging of Swan Lake returns May 31-June 2. Leading artist Annia Hidalgo, who will be dancing the role of Odile during select matinees, practiced her fouettés on camera (feel free to count along). Are you a Texas-based lover of Swan Lake? Texas Ballet Theater continues their run of the classic ballet June 1-3 in Dallas.


Love & Ballet at PNB

Pacific Northwest Ballet takes the stage in Seattle June 1-10 with four contemporary hits: Christopher Wheeldon's Tide Harmonic and After the Rain pas de deux, Benjamin Millepied's Appassionata and Justin Peck's Year of the Rabbit. In the below video, PNB soloist Angelica Generosa talks about the experience of working with Peck on Year of the Rabbit after having had excerpts of the ballet created on her and her classmates at School of American in Ballet in 2010 (it was Peck's first venture into choreography). We're also giving away a pair of tickets to the June 7 performance of Love & Ballet. Enter now!

The Conversation
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Yos Clark, of Africa's Ivory Coast. Courtesy Ballet Rising.

From his home in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, an eight-year-old boy named Yos Clark discovered ballet from the film Un, Dos, Tres, and began teaching himself to dance through videos. A teacher in France saw photos of Yos dancing online, and taught him over Skype because the studio in Abidjan was too long of a commute for him to train there on a regular basis. Apparently, the lessons paid off; last year, Yos received a scholarship to continue his training in Warrington, England.

Dancers like Clark are what propel former Dutch National Ballet principal Casey Herd recently; since leaving the company three years ago, Herd has become determined to shed light on the lesser-known stories of dancers making it around the world. Now, he and his friend and colleague Chris Weisler are creating a documentary project called Ballet Rising. Together they have been transversing the globe, searching for people embracing ballet. (Since the series is still in development, a premiere date is TBA.) Between stops, Pointe touched base with Herd over the phone to learn about the project, where his travels have taken him so far, and what his hopes are for the future of global ballet.

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Ballet Training
Getty Images

I got professionally fitted and my shoes were fine in the store. Now in class, the vamp is digging into my foot in demi-pointe and the heel is sliding off. Is it the size, the width or both? —Mandi

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Ballet Stars
Svetlana Zakharova in Carmen Suite, via YouTube

If you're making your weekend plans, you may want to clear your calendar for Sunday and check your local movie listings. On May 19, Fathom Events, in partnership with Pathé Live and By Experience, is broadcasting the Bolshoi Ballet's performance of Carmen Suite and Petrushka throughout cinemas nationwide. The program will be captured live the same day from Moscow, and feature some of the Bolshoi's biggest stars.

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Viral Videos
Still Courtesy Design Army

Hong Kong Ballet is celebrating its 40th anniversary in style. Today, the company released the new phase of its yearlong ad campaign, which includes the below film, a Wes Anderson-esque romp through the city fusing ballet with pop culture, filled with ferry boats, pom pom-wielding grannies and dim sum served in hot pink containers.

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