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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.

Ballet Stars
Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC

It's hard to imagine the National Ballet of Canada without ballerina Greta Hodgkinson. Yet this week NBoC announced that the longtime company star will take her final bow in March, as Marguerite in Sir Frederick Ashton's Marguerite and Armand.

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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News
Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

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Viral Videos

What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.

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