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Onstage This Week: ABT's New "Harlequinade," Houston Ballet Celebrates Their Resilience Post-Hurricane, And More

Costume sketches for Alexei Ratmansky's new "Harlquinade" for ABT. Courtesy ABT.

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


ABT's New Harlequinade is Finally Here

The long wait for Alexei Ratmansky's Harlequinade for American Ballet Theatre is finally over. June 4-9, catch ABT at the Metropolitan Opera House in this bold and colorful tribute to the Italian commedia dell'arte traditions, based on the archival notes of Marius Petipa. If this trailer by Ezra Hurwitz is any indication, this new story ballet is sure to delight (fingers crossed that those dogs make their way to the stage).



Houston Ballet Presents Four World Premieres Celebrating the City's Resilience in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

Houston Ballet's June 8-10 program titled Play includes two company favorites by artistic director Stanton Welch—Play and Bolero Triptych—alongside four world premieres that reflect on Houston's response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Three of the premieres are choreographed by Welch: class is set to a selection of Bach's "Goldberg Variations," and Revisit, Rebirth, Revolt and What the H Stands For were created in collaboration with local poets Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton and Outspoken Bean, both of whom will perform live. Lastly, Houston Ballet dancers Oliver Halkowich, Melody Mennite, and Connor Walsh will present a new ballet titled What we keep.


Boston Ballet Brings Back Obsidian Tear in Their New York Philharmonic Debut

On June 8, Boston Ballet heads to NYC for a one night only performance with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center. The company will be performing Wayne McGregor's Obsidian Tear as part of a program titled Foreign Bodies, a multidisciplinary event hosted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, concluding his tenure as the Philharmonic's composer in residence. Obsidian Tear is set to two of Salonen's compositions: Nyx and Lachen verlernt. You can check out the below trailer or see more excerpts of Obsidian Tear on Boston Ballet's Youtube page.


American Contemporary Ballet Celebrates Balanchine

Every year, the Los Angeles-based ACB presents an all Balanchine program. This year, from June 7-17, they're showcasing a different side of the great neoclassical choreographer with four pieces that show off his joyful reaction to the popular music of his day. ACB will perform excerpts from Who Cares?, Stars and Stripes, Union Jack and Western Symphony. ACB artistic director Lincoln Jones will also present a world premiere tribute to the style of these works.


Pacific Northwest Ballet's Closes 2017-2018 Season With One Final Encore

On June 10, PNB presents its annual one night only encore performance with some of the company's greatest hits. This year's performance also marks the retirement of longtime PNB principal Karel Cruz. Cruz will be dancing Alexei Ratmansky's Don Quixote pas de deux alongside his wife, principal Lindsi Dec, as well an excerpt from George Balanchine's Diamonds. The program also includes excerpts from Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Jerome Robbins' West Side Story Suite, and more. The Season Encore also marks the farewell performance to soloist Matthew Renko and corps dancers Nicole Rizzitano and Carli Samuelson, who will be leaving the company at the end of the season.

The Conversation
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Brittany Cavaco in Until Midnight. Claire Morris, Courtesy Cavaco.

A white tulle dress, time travel, the Eiffel Tower at night... these elements come together in Until Midnight, a new dance film by Christopher Alexander of Zen Film Works. This eight-minute long vignette opens with Louise (played by Louise Schirmer), a former ballerina now living alone in old age. Through the delivery of a mysterious letter and a wristwatch from her past, she returns briefly to her youthful self, danced by former Washington Ballet dancer Brittany Cavaco. In a Cinderella-like twist, Louise has until midnight to find her beloved Jean Pierre (Sebastien Thill, former dancer with Paris Opera Ballet and Hamburg Ballet) for one last dance. According to Cavaco, all of the movement was improvised, created by herself and Alexander in each location.

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Peter Boal in class a New York City Center. Courtesy PNB.

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Ashley Bouder in George Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova's Coppélia. Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB.

Hollywood may have the Oscars, but ballet has the Prix de Benois de la Danse. Held every spring at Moscow's Bolshoi Theater, the prestigious international awards ceremony recognizes dancers, choreographers, composers and designers for their extraordinary work on and off the stage. This year's laureates, chosen by a jury, were announced during an awards ceremony last night, followed by a star-studded gala featuring many of the nominated artists.

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Viral Videos
Still via YouTube

American Ballet Theatre principal James Whiteside is known for more than just his uber-charismatic presence on the ballet stage; He doubles as both the drag queen Ühu Betch and the pop star JbDubs. Whiteside's newest musical release, titled WTF, came out last week, and is for sure his most ballet-filled song to date. Both the lyrics and the choreography are jam-packed with bunhead references, from the Rose Adagio to Haglund's Heel to a framed portrait of George Balanchine. Not to mention the fact that he and his four backup dancers (Matthew Poppe, Douane Gosa, Maxfield Haynes and Gianni Goffredo) absolutely kill it in pointe shoes.

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