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Onstage This Week: Isabella Boylston's Ballet Sun Valley Festival Returns With An All-Star Lineup, NYCB Heads Upstate and More!

Isabella Boylston and Calvin Royal III at Ballet Sun Valley in 2017. Photo by Steve Dondero, Courtesy Ballet Sun Valley.

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


Isabella Boylston Curates Her Second Hometown Ballet Festival

American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston moonlights as artistic director of Ballet Sun Valley, which she founded last year. The second annual festival will run July 17–18 in Sun Valley, Idaho, Boylston's hometown. Boylston has created two programs composed of pas de deux and solo pieces from choreographers including George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and William Forsythe, as well as Justin Peck's In Creases, the one work for a larger ensemble.


The festival brings together some of the brightest stars in the ballet world. Amongst Boylston's ABT colleagues are her bestie Lauren Post, fellow Cindy James Whiteside, and primas Misty Copeland and Gillian Murphy. The cast also features New York City Ballet's Tiler Peck, San Francisco Ballet's Dores André, Royal Danish Ballet's Ida Praetorius, Paris Opéra Ballet's Germain Louvet and more. See the full cast list or list of dancers here.

Like last year, the festival will be followed by an education day July 19, during which community members can take a range of dance classes, including one designed for those with special needs, taught by the participating dancers.


NYCB Heads Upstate to Its Summer Home

New York City Ballet returns to its longtime summer home this week in Saratoga Springs, New York. Although the engagement is short this year (at its peak, NYCB stayed for four weeks, but the appearance was cut to one week in 2017), a variety of ballets will still be on display. The July 17-21 run includes performances of Peter Martins' Romeo + Juliet; a lineup featuring Balanchine's Square Dance, The Four Temperaments and Symphony in C; and a night of 21st-century choreographers with Easy and Pulcinella Variations, by Justin Peck, Composer's Holiday by Gianna Reisen and Not Our Fate by Lauren Lovette. The week will end with a gala celebrating Jerome Robbins' centennial, including Robbins classics and Something to Dance About, a collection of the master dancemaker's musical theater choreography assembled by Warren Carlyle.


Island Moving Co. Hosts Its Ninth Summer Festival in Newport, RI

Island Moving Co.'s a Great Friends Dance Festival returns July 18–22 Newport, RI, with a mix of six small guest dance companies, specializing in contemporary dance and ballet. At least a dozen new pieces have been choreographed for the festival, and each night is preceded by an étude, a work that was choreographed and rehearsed the same day by festival participants. This year's resident dance company is Pittsburgh-based STAYCEE PEARL dance project, which uses multimedia, like video, to enhance its performances. Also appearing are Breathing Arts Company from Bari, Italy; carolyn dorfman dance from Union, NJ; CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet and Lotería Performing Arts from New York City; and Thomas/Ortiz Dance from New Canaan, CT. Watch Island Moving Co. rehearse Miki Ohlsen's A Tessellation of Beauty and Light below, which will be part of the festival.


Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami Presents the Ballet of Wo(Men)

Hot off its tours of Jacob's Pillow and New York City's Joyce Theater, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami will perform Ballet of Wo(Men), a program of four ballets, at South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center on July 21. The night features two Balanchine works, Tarantella and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, as well as Imagined Notions by Yanis Pikieris and Leonardo Reale's Tangos de La Plata. Billed as "his & hers," the program celebrates 20th- and 21st-century choreography in which the men and women share equal dominance. Oddly, no choreography by women will be featured. "With this program, we are celebrating gender 'equality' and a sort of magic that happens when choreography affords them the ability to flaunt their comparable might and mastery side by side," artistic director Jennifer Kronenberg told Pointe in an email. Watch the company's season trailer below.

The Conversation
Ballet Training
Via Burst

I'm a ballet dancer of 13 years, but I only got serious about it a few years ago, and very recently realized that I might want to pursue ballet professionally. I've contemplated auditioning for several prestigious pre-professional programs. But now I'm a junior in high school, so I'm worried it's too late. Should I still go for it, or am I better off staying at my current studio and going to college? —Lexi

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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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Ballet Stars
Tetsuya Kumakawa, via YouTube

Tetsuya Kumakawa, a former principal with The Royal Ballet and the founder and artistic director of K-Ballet in Tokyo, could make an audience gasp with his wildly powerful and inventive allegro. A boyish, dare-devil dancer, Kumakawa was a natural fit for roles like Franz in Coppélia. Watching him in this clip of Franz's Act I variation, it seems Kumakawa must have some sort of gravity-defying DNA.

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Ballet Stars
Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB

Your teacher at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Marcia Dale Weary, recently passed away. What impact did she have on you?

I feel deeply indebted to her. She shaped my life's course, and I know that were it not for her, I would not be living out my dream today. She led by example through her remarkable commitment to her work, as well as her genuine kindness and generosity.

You were a trainee with San Francisco Ballet. What was that experience like?

It was an exposure to different schools of thought. We were mostly in the full-lengths, and watching run-throughs of Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote was revolutionary for me. But I was young and far away from home. That transition was hard. My body started changing. It wanted to be fleshy. Biology is cruel in that way. I desperately wanted to fit in, but it wasn't meant to be.

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