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Onstage This Week: PBT's "Great Gatsby," Nashville Ballet's  "Attitude: Lucy Negro Redux," 7 World Premieres at Grand Rapids Ballet, and More!

Grand Rapids Ballet in rehearsal. Jade Butler, Courtesy GRB.

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


Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Dives Into the Roaring '20s With the World Premiere of "The Great Gatsby" 

February 8–17, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre presents choreographer Jorden Morris' The Great Gatsby. Based closely on F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous novel, this new ballet takes viewers into the Roaring '20s with an original score by film composer Carl Davis. The ballet shows the glitz of the era with glamorous costumes designed by PBT costumer Janet Marie Groom. You can catch a glimpse into the costume shop here.

Nashville Ballet's "Attitude: Lucy Negro Redux" Has Its World Premiere


February 8–10, Nashville Ballet presents Attitude: Lucy Negro Redux, choreographed by artistic director Paul Vasterling and based on Caroline Randall Williams' 2015 book of poetry, Lucy Negro, Redux. In it, Williams investigates the theory that the mysterious Dark Lady to whom William Shakespeare dedicated many of his sonnets was actually a black historical figure known as Lucy Negro. Featuring an original score by Rhiannon Giddens, with spoken word performed live by Williams, Vasterling's ballet explores Shakespeare's romantic life from the point of view of the Dark Lady (danced by Kayla Rowser) while focusing on themes of love, otherness and equality.

Grand Rapids Ballet Presents Seven World Premieres in One Program

Grand Rapids Ballet's contemporary dance series returns February 8-10 with MOVEMEDIA: Handmade, featuring seven world premieres. The first five pieces are choreographed by company dancers Cassidy Isaacson, Nigel Tau, Nicholas Bradley Gray, Isaac Aoki and Yuka Oba. Gray's work, Divine Light, is dedicated to Raffaella Stroik, the Saint Louis Ballet dancer who mysteriously drowned in a Missouri lake last fall. The final two works on the program are by GRB choreographer in residence Penny Saunders and Joffrey Ballet dancer and choreographer Nicolas Blanc.

BalletX Returns to Vail With a Nicolo Fonte World Premiere

On February 9, Philadelphia-based company BalletX makes its way to Vail, Colorado as part of the Vilar Performing Arts Center's Winter Dance Series in collaboration with the Vail Dance Festival. BalletX will present the world premiere of Nicolo Fonte's Steep Drop, Euphoric in advance of its March 6 Philadelphia premiere. A regular at the Vail Dance Festival, BalletX will be back again this summer from July 26-August 10.

Ballet Idaho's Winter Repertoire Program Includes a World Premiere by Danielle Rowe

Ballet Idaho's winter repertoire program, titled (re)Define, explores contemporary and classical ballet to ask the question: How do you define dance? The program, running February 8-9, features a diverse list of works including George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante, Penny Saunders' Berceuse, Alejandro Cerrudo's Lickety-Split, the U.S. premiere of Craig Davidson's Ambiguous Content and Dreamland, a world premiere by Danielle Rowe.

Ballet West Reprises "Swan Lake" and Bids Farewell to Principal Christopher Ruud

Ballet West brings back a classic February 8-23: artistic director Adam Sklute's Swan Lake. The final performance on February 23 will feature principal Christopher Ruud as Prince Siegfried, marking his final performance with the company after 21 years. Ruud's history with the company runs deep; both of his parents also danced for Ballet West.

Matthew Bourne's "Cinderella" is Back in Los Angeles

Following the success of 2017's The Red Shoes, Matthew Bourne's New Adventures is back at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre February 5-March 10 with Cinderella. Set to Prokofiev's famed score, Bourne reinterprets the classic fairy tale as a World War II love story. Cinderella originally had its premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre in 1999, and was revived in 2010 and then again in 2017.

Health & Body
Emily Giacalone, modeled by Elizabeth Steele of The School at Steps.

In fall 2012, New York City Ballet associate artistic director Wendy Whelan, then a company principal, was taking morning class when her foot slid out from under her, causing her to pull the very top of what felt like her right hamstring muscle. "It shocked me from the inside out," she notes.

Whelan spent three months nursing her hamstring. But once she got back to performing, her right hip flexor began flaring up. "By the end of Nutcracker season, I could no longer bear standing in fifth position. I could not lift my right leg without severe pain," she says. "I couldn't imagine why or how this was suddenly becoming so debilitating." A sonogram revealed a complex labral tear in Whelan's hip.

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Courtesy Grishko ltd. (Moscow, Russia)

If you're one of the many American ballet dancers who loyally wear Grishko pointe shoes, you may have noticed something different about your shoes recently.

In the midst of a lawsuit, Grishko ltd. is now selling in the U.S. under the name Nikolay to reduce confusion and ensure that American dancers get the high-quality shoes they've come to expect.

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Ballet Stars

Carlos Acosta and Tamara Rojo both took The Royal Ballet by storm when they arrived at the company in 1998 and 2000, respectively. Virtuosic, enigmatic performers, the two forged a storied partnership over the course of their next decade together at The Royal. Now they've both gone on to lead the next generation of ballet dancers in England: Rojo has been the artistic director of English National Ballet since 2012, and Acosta will take the helm of Birmingham Royal Ballet in January. With this 2007 clip of their balcony scene from Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet, it's easy to see why they are already the stuff of ballet legend.

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Rachel Neville, Courtesy Audition Dancewear

When you dig through your collection of leotards before class, do you ever think about how they're made, or what they're made from? Chances are, most dancers don't, and Audition Dancewear wants to do something about that.

The company—run by two mother-daughter duos, Kathy and Caroline Perry and Shelly and Suzanna Lathrum—has begun making leotards from recycled materials to reduce their carbon footprint and raise awareness around plastic consumption. The result is a sleek line of leos that don't sacrifice style or function, and that use four or five recycled water bottles per leo.

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