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Onstage This Week: ABT Makes Its Vail Dance Fest Debut, Companies Celebrate National Dance Day, and More!

Catch Royal Winnipeg Ballet for free this week at Ballet in the Park. Photo by Daniel Crump, Courtesy RWB.

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


American Ballet Theatre Makes Its Vail Debut

The Vail Dance Festival is best known for bringing together diverse performers to create outside-of-the-box collaborations. This summer, the festival's 30th anniversary, American Ballet Theatre gets added to that mix. July 28–29, 15 company members will dance the festival premieres of Alexei Ratmansky's Souvenir d'un lieu cher and Serenade after Plato's Symposium, as well as Jerome Robbins' Other Dances with New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck. ABT will also collaborate with tap choreographer Michelle Dorrance. She's creating a trio of new works for ABT this year, coproduced by Vail, the second of which she'll present at the festival. "It always broadens a dancer's perspective to cross-pollinate with their peers," says ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie. "It gives them an opportunity for independent thinking and self-evaluation." For Vail artistic director Damian Woetzel, incorporating the company into the festival reminds him of the magical sense of camaraderie that he felt as an NYCB principal when running into ABT dancers after their respective Lincoln Center performances. "Vail builds on that," says Woetzel. "We bring dancers together to create our own special community." —Chava Lansky


National Dance Day is Back!

We know that for most of you every day feels like National Dance Day, but this Saturday it's made official. We've pulled together a few events happening at ballet companies across the country, but you can find the full list of happenings here.

Ballet Austin — Ballet Austin is hosting 12 free classes of various styles throughout the day.

Ballet Memphis— Learn the official National Dance Day dance, to be performed flash-mob style at the Memphis Zoo.

Nashville Ballet — The ballet company is offering free adult, musical theater and opportunities to learn new choreography.

Orlando Ballet — Classes for all ages at both Orlando Ballet campuses will be free.

Can't wait till Saturday? Check out The Kennedy Center's take on this year's official National Dance Day choreography from the Dizzy Feet Foundation, choreographed by Mandy Moore.


LINES Ballet Hits SummerStage NYC for Its 35th Anniversary

On July 25, Alonzo King LINES Ballet returns to the Rumsey Playfield SummerStage in New York City's Central Park. for a one night only performance in honor of its 35th anniversary. This program features two ballets choreographed by King: Sand, with music by jazz artists Jason Moran and Charles Lloyd, and Biophony, which draws inspiration from the Earth's many types of ecosystems.


Four Ballet Premieres from the National Choreographers Initiative

On July 28, the National Choreographers Initiative, an organization committed to supporting the development of choreography, will present four world premieres at the Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, CA. Each summer, NCI chooses four choreographers and provides them with the resources that they need to create, including studio space and dancers, over the course of three weeks. This year's group features Kevin Jenkins, David Justin, Ilya Kozadayev and Mariana Oliveira. The choreographers had the chance to work with 16 dancers hailing from a range of companies across the nation including Ballet Austin, Kansas City Ballet and Nevada Ballet Theatre. See a full list here, and catch a glimpse of Jenkins' creative process below.


Royal Winnipeg Ballet Gives a Free Outdoor Performance

If you happen to find yourself in Winnipeg, Canada July 25-27 you can catch a sneak preview of Royal Winnipeg Ballet's upcoming production of The Wizard of Oz for free in Assinboine Park's Lyric Theatre. While choreographer Septime Webre's full adaptation of the classic story won't have its Canadian premiere until May 2019, Winnipeg audiences can whet their appetites with excerpts this week. The full-length narrative, a joint production with Kansas City Ballet and Colorado Ballet, and will have its world premiere this October in (appropriately) Kansas City, MO. A summer tradition at RWB since the 1970s, Ballet in the Park also includes food trucks and children's activities such as face-painting and a pointe shoe toss. Check out RWB's trailer below to see what else is on the horizon for the 2018-2019 season.

The Conversation
Ballet Stars
Maria Kowroski and Stella Abera. Via Instagram @stellaabreradetsky.

While both based in New York City, American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet are very different companies, from their touring schedules to their repertoire and training styles. Nevertheless, two principals—ABT's Stella Abrera and NYCB's Maria Kowroski—have sustained a long-lasting friendship "across the plaza" of Lincoln Center. Both Abrera and Kowroski entered their respective companies in the mid-1990s at age 17, and their careers have run side by side ever since.

Tonight, for the first time ever, these two primas, joined by their colleagues Isabella Boylston and Unity Phelan, will perform together in a new work by Gemma Bond titled Marie Thérèse, presented as part of the annual Dance Against Cancer benefit concert. We caught up with Abrera and Kowroski after a recent rehearsal with Bond to hear what it's like to finally dance together, how they've seen the ballet world change throughout the years, and what advice they'd give to their younger selves.

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News
Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.

This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!

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