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Onstage This Week: NBoC's Justin Peck Company Premiere, ABT Dancers Make "Romeo and Juliet" Debuts, And More!

National Ballet of Canada's Harrison James and Hannah Fischer with Artists of the Ballet in rehearsal for Justin Peck's "Paz de la Jolla." Photo by Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC.

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

National Ballet of Canada's Justin Peck Company Premiere

June 16-22, NBoC presents their first work by Justin Peck (who as of last night can now add Tony Award winner for his work on Carousel to his long list of accolades). The company will dance Paz de la Jolla, created in 2013 for New York City Ballet and based on Peck's Southern California upbringing. The NBoC program also includes James Kudelka's The Man in Black, set to the music of Johnny Cash, and Alexander Ekman's wild and wacky Cacti.



After 30 Years, Sacramento Ballet Co-Directors Present Their Final Program

June 14-17, Sacramento Ballet presents The Genius of Balanchine, a tribute to the great choreographer. While the full list of the company's selections isn't available, we do know that they'll be performing La Sonnambula, led by company dancer Alexandra Cunningham. Cunningham is the daughter of longtime co-artistic directors and husband-and-wife team Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda, making this casting choice particularly poignant; the June 17 show marks Cunningham and Binda's last after a 30-year tenure. At the end of the season, Amy Seiwert will step into the role. Below, Cunningham shares what he sees as Balanchine's genius.


ABT's Romeo and Juliet Brings Exciting Dancer Debuts

American Ballet Theatre heads into week five of their Met season with a run of Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet. This year, the famous story of tragedy and love marks a few dancer premieres. On Wednesday, June 13 at 2 pm, principal Devon Teuscher and corps dancer Aran Bell (who you may remember as one of the adorable whiz kids in the 2012 documentary First Position) will take on the ballet's title roles for the first time. That performance also marks corps dancer Gabe Stone Shayer's New York debut as Romeo's sidekick, Mercutio. On Thursday, June 14 at 7:30 pm, principal Stella Abrera will make her New York debut as Juliet alongside James Whiteside as Romeo. Catch a glimpse of Abrera in a short trailer below.


PNB's One-Night-Only Outdoor Festival

On June 15, Pacific Northwest Ballet presents a two-part evening titled Next Step: Outside/In featuring a slew of new works. The first part of the evening, which is free and open to the public, is set up like a music festival: Audience members can enjoy food trucks and photo booths alongside outdoor performances of works by Seattle-area choreographer Donald Byrd and PNB dancers Miles Pertl and Noelani Pantastico. For the second part of the evening, ticket holders will head inside for a performance of new works by PNB dancers Guillaume Basso, Nancy Casciano, Chirstopher d'Ariano, Cecilia Iliesiu, Amanda Morgan and Dylan Wald for students from the PNB School Professional Division. The performance will open with a pre-curtain work by Seattle-based choreographer Bruno Roque. Check out a trailer for Next Step below.

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Left: Misa Kuranaga in The Veritginous Thrill of Exactitude. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet. Right: Sasha Mukhamedov in Apollo. Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet.

San Francisco Ballet just announced some major news: longtime Boston Ballet star Misa Kuranaga will be joining the company as a principal dancer for the 2019-20 season, while Dutch National Ballet principal Sasha Mukhamedov will join as a soloist. They join a slew of newly promoted SFB principals and soloists, announced earlier this year.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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Xiao Nan Yu in company class. Aaron Vincent, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

On June 22, National Ballet of Canada principal Xiao Nan Yu will retire from the stage after 22 years with the company. Originally from Dalian, China, Yu studied at the Shen Yang School of Dance and the Beijing Dance Academy before coming to Canada's National Ballet School at age 17. She joined the National Ballet of Canada less than two years later, and was promoted to principal in 2001.

"She is a supreme dance actress with an innate ability to bring the audience into her world," says NBoC artistic director Karen Kain. "Nan has always brought such a calm confidence into the studio and has been a role model for so many dancers I will miss her generosity both inside the studio and out." We spoke with Yu as she prepared for her final week of performances. She opened up about her initial culture shock upon moving to Toronto, her thoughts on artistry and why she chose Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow as her final role.

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Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

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

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