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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.

Giveaways
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.