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Onstage This Week: The Washington Ballet Welcomes Guest Stars, World Premieres in Sacramento and Phoenix, and More!

Dancers of The Washington Ballet. Photo by Dean Alexander, Courtesy TWB.

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


The Washington Ballet Brings in Guest Stars Including Marcelo Gomes and Stella Abrera

The Washington Ballet's 2018/19 season opens September 26-30 at the Kennedy Center with a mixed bill titled TWB Welcomes, designed to show a range of classical ballet from the last century. TWB presents two programs: The first features George Balanchine's Serenade and Alexei Ratmansky's Bolero, and the second includes Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Sombrerisimo and Michel Fokine's Les Sylphides. Both include three iconic pas de deux: Marius Petipa's Black Swan, Ratmansky's Seven Sonatas and Balanchine's Tarantella. For this run, artistic director Julie Kent invited four guest artists to join the company: Former American Ballet Theatre principal Marcelo Gomes, ABT principal Stella Abrera, Ballet Manila principal Katherine Barkman and Houston Ballet principal Connor Walsh. Above, check out a clip of Barkman preparing for her Tarantella debut.

Sacramento Ballet's Season Opener Includes World Premiere by Penny Saunders

Sacramento Ballet opens its first season under the leadership of new artistic director Amy Seiwert September 27-30 at The Sofia Tsakopoulos Center for the Arts. Titled Telling Stories, the program includes former director Ron Cunningham's Incident at Blackbriar, Adam Hougland's Cigarettes, Seiwert's Instructions and a world premiere by Penny Saunders to the music of Nick Drake. Above, Saunders explains how she's using Drake's melancholy and evocative music to do just what the program's title suggests: Tell stories.

Ballet Arizona Presents World Premiere by Company Dancer Nayon Iovino 

Ballet Arizona's New Moves program asks audiences to "expect the unexpected." Running September 27-30 at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix, the program includes artistic director Ib Andersen's Rio, the Arizona premiere of Justin Peck's In Creases and a world premiere by Ballet Arizona's Nayon Iovino's Inherent. Iovino was just accepted into the New York Choreographic Institute for spring of 2019; see excerpts from his new ballet above.

The Queen of the Nile Comes to Life in Texas

Texas Ballet Theater artistic director Ben Stevenson's full-length ballet Cleopatra runs September 28-30 at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. With music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov performed live by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, this tale of love and trickery is sure to enthrall audiences. Leading up to the performance, TBT is releasing a series of fun facts about Cleopatra on Instagram (did you know she spoke nine languages?)

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Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

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Viral Videos

Yesterday, the first of Nike's new Common Thread video series dropped, and we were thrilled to see that it featured dancers; namely, Dance Theatre of Harlem member (and June/July 2017 Pointe cover star) Ingrid Silva, and Florida-based ballet student Alex Thomas. Even better, it's narrated by tennis phenom Serena Williams. This series of short videos celebrates Black History Month by focusing on representation in sport. (We're not crazy about ballet being called a sport, but we'll let it slide.) In each installment, athletes united by a common thread discuss their passion, and the lack of role models they saw in their fields while growing up.

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The Washington Ballet's Sona Kharatian and Dan Roberge in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. Procopio Photography, Courtesy TWB.

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

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Frances Chung as the title role in Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella. Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

Six-time Tony Award-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz has lit such Broadway musical hits as Frozen, Hello Dolly! and A Chorus Line. She is also one of choreographer Christopher Wheeldon's biggest collaborators, designing the lighting for works such as Broadway's An American in Paris, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Cinderella, a 2012 co-production of San Francisco Ballet and Dutch National Ballet. Shortly after SFB opened their 2020 season with Cinderella last month, Pointe caught up with Katz to talk about her career, her collaborative relationship with Wheeldon, and the lighting profiles of co-productions.

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