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Onstage This Week: ABT Brings "La Bayadère" to LA, BalletX's Summer Series Starts, and More!

BalletX launches its summer season on July 11. Photo by Gabriel Biencyzcki, Courtesy of BalletX.

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


Three World Premieres at BalletX Philadelphia Summer Series

Fresh off the heels of its Joyce Ballet Festival performances in New York, BalletX is launching its Summer Series with a trio of world premieres on July 11. The program, which runs through July 22 at The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, features ballets by Penny Saunders, choreographer in residence for Grand Rapids Ballet; Andrew McNicol, BalletX's 2018 choreographic fellow; and Matthew Neenan, BalletX co-founder and company choreographer. Pennsylvania Ballet principal pianist Martha Koeneman will perform Mendelssohn's Songs without Words live for Neenan's work, which shows dancers attempting to solve a mysterious puzzle onstage. McNicol is inspired by Mozart's Requiem and his appreciation of the speed and athleticism of American dance. Saunders' piece will be accompanied by an original composition by Rosie Langabeer, a Philadelphia composer originally from New Zealand. Listen to the pair discuss the collaboration in the video below.



Catch ABT in Los Angeles With La Bayadère

Directly following its New York Met season, American Ballet Theatre brings Natalia Makarova's staging of the Petipa classic La Bayadère to The Music Center in Los Angeles July 13-15. Over the weekend, West Coast role debuts will include Isabella Boylston as Nikiya, Joo Won Ahn as Solor and Christine Shevchenko as Gamzatti.


Les Ballets de Monte Carlo Pays Tribute to Filmmaker Ingmar Bergman

The Monaco-based Les Ballets de Monte Carlo will present a three-piece tribute to Swedish director/writer/producer Ingmar Bergman July 12-14 at the Salle Garnier Monte Carlo Opera. The program, made up of works from Swedish choreographers Mats Ek, Alexander Ekman and Johan Inger, premiered at the 2018 Bergman Festival in Stockholm and the company has since toured it around Europe. Ek's duet, Memory, is a rare opportunity to see the celebrated choreographer perform a duet with his wife, former Cullberg Ballet dancer Ana Laguna. Completing the night are Thoughts on Bergman, a solo choreographed and performed by Ekman and 4 Karin, a highly theatrical tribute from Inger. The three pieces are inspired by the work of Bergman and his ability to portray human behavior and family dynamics on the stage and screen. Preview the program below.


Aspen Santa Fe Brings Its Summer Season to Santa Fe

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet heads to Santa Fe for one night on July 14 with a performance of three ballets. The program features the second performance of a new work by Bryan Arias, Alexander Ekman's Tuplet and Sleepless by Jiří Kylián.

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Modeled by Daria Ionova. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Elevé Dancewear.
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Boston Ballet's Kathleen Breen Combes, María Álvarez and Dawn Atkins. Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow.

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

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Ballet Stars
Alexandra MacDonald (front row, third from left) didn't win a medal at the Genée International Ballet Competition, but says she came home inspired and newly motivated by the people she met there. Photo Courtesy Genée IBC.

Ballet competitions are an exciting part of any dancer's career. Yet while scholarships, prize money, job offers and the prestige that comes with winning a medal are compelling incentives to participate in one, they're not the only benefits. In fact, many dancers who go home empty-handed still look fondly on the experience and go on to become successful professionals.

This week, the 2019 Genée International Ballet Competition kicks off in Toronto. From August 20-29, over 50 dancers, ages 15–19 and trained in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus, will perform three solos in the hopes of winning a medal and a $10,000 cash prize. Many past medalists have gone on to illustrious careers—but so have those who didn't win anything. We spoke with three Genée alumni now dancing professionally who know what it's like not to place. Read on to find out why they deem their comp experiences a success, and how you can make the most of yours—whether you win or not.

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Ballet Stars
Skylar Brandt and Josephine Lee. Screenshot Courtesy Lee.

Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop chats with American Ballet Theatre soloist Skylar Brandt to hear about how she prepares her pointe shoes. We think Brandt might win an award for how long she makes her shoes last; watch the below video for the staggering number of days (or weeks!), and to hear about all of her unique customizations and pro tips.