News

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.

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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Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

When you're looking for a ballet program to take you to the next level, there are a lot of factors to consider. While it's tempting to look for the biggest name that will accept you, the savvy dancer knows that successful training has more to do with the attention and opportunities you'll get.

We put together a few of the most important things for dancers to look for in a summer or year-round training program, with the help of the experts at Colorado Ballet Academy:

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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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