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Onstage This Week: NYCB in Copenhagen, Houston Ballet at Jacob's Pillow, Boston Ballet at Tanglewood and More!

Boston Ballet is bringing Jerome Robbins' Fancy Free to the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA. Photo by Gene Shiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

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


Houston Ballet Brings a World Premiere to Jacob's Pillow

August 15-18, for the first time in almost four decades, Houston Ballet is appearing at Jacob's Pillow, the famous summer dance festival in Becket, MA. Headlining the program is Just, a world premiere commissioned by the Pillow and choreographed by HB artistic director Stanton Welch, set to music by contemporary composer David Lang. Also from Welch are Clear, an abstract piece for seven men and seven women, and excerpts from Sons de L'ame, with music by Chopin. The company will also perform In Dreams, choreographed by former Pillow choreographic associate Trey McIntyre.


Boston Ballet Celebrates Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein

As a prelude to the company's season opener in September, an all-Robbins program titled Genius at Play, Boston Ballet is highlighting the choreographer's collaboration with composer Leonard Bernstein. The August 18 performance will mark the company's debut at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA. Accompanied by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the company will perform Fancy Free, Robbins' first full-length ballet, beloved for its iconic story of three sailors on leave (and eventually adapted into the musical On the Town). Following the ballet, BSO will also play Bernstein's Serenade (after Plato's "Symposium") and Divertimento for Orchestra. We can't get enough of Boston Ballet's trailer for the ballet, which you can watch below.


NYCB Tours to Copenhagen

New York City Ballet is traveling to Copenhagen, Denmark, August 15-19 to celebrate the 175th birthday of the Tivoli Concert Hall, a major venue for classical music in the city. The company last visited Tivoli 10 years ago. Throughout the week, three different programs will take the stage. The first is made up exclusively of Balanchine favorites: Serenade, The Four Temperaments and Symphony in C. The second showcases more contemporary NYCB classics with Peter Martins' Hallelujah Junction, Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain Pas de Deux, Alexei Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Justin Peck's The Times Are Racing. Balanchine's Square Dance, Symphony in Three Movements and Tarantella, Martins' Ash and Jerome Robbins' In the Night will be featured in the third program.


Marcelo Gomes Joins Sarasota Ballet at NYC's Joyce Theater

In his first New York stage appearance since resigning from American Ballet Theater last December, Marcelo Gomes is joining Sarasota Ballet as a guest artist at The Joyce Theater this week. Back after a successful run in 2016, Sarasota Ballet is bringing two mixed-bill programs to New York audiences August 14-19. The first, which will be performed Tuesday through Friday, comprises Monotones I & II by Sir Frederick Ashton, a pair of non-narrative pas de trois; Symphony of Sorrows by Ricardo Graziano, a contemporary ballet about human reactions to death; and There Where She Loved by Christopher Wheeldon, which draws inspiration from German composer Kurt Weill. The second program which Gomes will be performing in, is on Saturday and Sunday and honors the 30th anniversary of Ashton's death, whose choreography the company is known for, and includes a performance of divertissements from some of his best-loved ballets.


Free Black Iris Project Performance Explores Themes of Race

A ballet collective founded by choreographer Jeremy McQueen, Black Iris Project is performing a free show at the Marcus Garvey Park Summerstage in New York City August 16. First on the program is McQueen's 2017 MADIBA, a ballet inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela, whose 100th birthday is being celebrated this year. The Black Iris Project has been counting down the days to this performance with its 100 FISTS campaign, honoring Mandela's legacy. Next on the program is the world premiere of A Mother's Rite, choreographed by McQueen and set to Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Featuring Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Courtney Celeste Spears, this new work follows a mother going through the grieving process after losing her son in a racially motivated murder. In the below video, McQueen narrates the inspiration and history behind his work.


Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Features Dancer-Choreographers in Free Performance

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is launching its new season August 19 with its annual free performance, Ballet Under the Stars. Featuring a mix of classical and contemporary works, the night includes pieces by three company members: Corps dancer JoAnna Schmidt's Lightworks, which is inspired by the 1960s, principal Yoshiaki Nakano's Infusion, and corps member Jessica McCann's the silver line, which has a futuristic inspiration. The company will finish with a performance of Jerome Robbins' In the Night. Below you can watch a trailer from PBT's New Works performance this past March, during which all three dancers' ballets premiered.

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Erin Baiano, Courtesy Vail Dance Festival

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

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Ballet Training
From left: Duncan McIlwaine and Joseph Markey rehearse a new work by Gemma Bond. Rachel Papo.

The members of ABT Studio Company straddle two worlds: student and professional. On a March afternoon, as the dancers rehearse for a work choreographed by ABT dancer Gemma Bond, they appear more the former: Clean academic leotards and tights reveal coltish legs. But as soon as they launch into the piece (which later had its New York City debut at The Joyce Theater), it's evident how close these dancers are to a professional rank. Their movements and expressiveness grow bolder with each entrance. Soon they're sliding to the ground in floorwork and swirling confidently in daring lifts. "This group is particularly brilliant to work with," says Bond. "Each dancer seems to have something interesting in the way that they move, which made the creation process a little more of a collaboration than some of my other works."

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Ballet Training
Karin Ellis-Wentz and Joffrey Ballet Academy of Dance student Elliana Teuscher. Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet.

"Hopping on pointe is a bit of a weird feeling," says Karin Ellis-Wentz, head of pre-professional programs at the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago. But, she adds, it's a skill advanced dancers need "because it's in so many variations." Here, she takes us through the techniques and exercises that help her students master this necessary trick.

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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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