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Onstage This Week: Houston Ballet's "Sylvia," World Premieres at Complexions Contemporary Ballet and BalletNext, and More!

Artists of Houston Ballet rehearsing Stanton Welch's Sylvia. Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

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


Houston Ballet's New Full Length Story Ballet, "Sylvia," Has Its World Premiere

This week, Houston Ballet is putting its stamp on an old classic with the premiere of a brand-new story ballet. Artistic director Stanton Welch's Sylvia makes its debut February 21–March 3. Welch includes other narratives from Greek mythology in his retelling of the determined huntress' story, set to Léo Delibes' famous score with designs by Jerome Kaplan and projections by Wendall K. Harrington.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary at The Joyce Theater

Complexions Contemporary Ballet is back at New York City's Joyce Theater February 19-March 3 with three separate programs celebrating the company's 25th anniversary. The season includes the world premiere of company co-founder and choreographer Dwight Rhoden's WOKE set to a remix of music by Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Logic, Diplo and more, as well as the New York premiere of Rhoden's Bach 25 and audience favorites Star Dust and From Then to Now.

Tulsa Ballet Brings Back "The Sleeping Beauty"

February 21-24, Tulsa Ballet brings back a classic: The Sleeping Beauty. Artistic director Marcello Angelini restaged and re-choreographed sections of Marius Petipa's famous ballet; you can hear him talk about the timelessness of the work in the above video.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Returns to Its Santa Fe Home

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is back in its Santa Fe home this week with a one-night-only performance of fan favorites on February 23. The program includes Alexander Ekman's Tuplet, Fernando Melo's Dream Play and Jorma Elo's 1st Flash. Check out a glimpse of Dream Play above.

BalletNext Showcases Three New Ballets by Michele Wiles in NYC

BalletNext artistic director Michele Wiles' presents three new ballets at New York City's New York Live Arts February 19-23 with a new crop of dancers from University of Utah's ballet program (where Wiles is a visiting professor). Wiles will also perform, joined by principal guest artists Amar Ramasar, Maria Kowroski, and others. This performance will mark Ramasar's first performance in the U.S. since being fired from New York City Ballet last fall.

Ballets des Amériques Onstage in Westchester, NY

Westchester, NY-based company Ballets des Amériques continues its new performance series titled Westchester Wednesday Dance at Tarrytown Music Hall on February 20. The company will present three works by its artistic director, Carole Alexis: Flowers and Tears, Boléro and Lentil Soup.

Ballet Training
Hortense Millet-Maurin (third from left) and her classmates perform August Bournonville's La Conservatoire. Svetlana Loboff, Courtesy POB.

As a little girl, Hortense Millet-Maurin fell in love with the wide spiral staircase that dominates the center of the Paris Opéra Ballet School. Today, as a focused 15-year-old POB student, she and her classmate Vincent Vivet navigate the school's spacious architecture on a daily basis. In a hallway strewn with foam rollers and tennis balls, their faces are laced with concentration as they prepare alongside their peers for afternoon ballet class. Color-coded uniforms reflect Vivet's and Millet-Maurin's third division; with only two advanced divisions remaining, they are increasingly close to realizing their professional aspirations: joining the Paris Opéra Ballet. Pointe spoke with these two young dancers to see what it's like studying inside the world's oldest ballet academy.

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Sponsored by Ballet Arizona
Tzu Chia Huang, Courtesy Ballet Arizona

These days, ballet dancers are asked to do more than they ever have—whether that's tackling versatile rep, taking on intense cross-training regimens or managing everything from their Instagram pages to their summer layoff gigs.

Without proper training, these demands can take a toll on both the mind and the body. But students can start preparing for them early—with the right summer intensive program.

The School of Ballet Arizona's summer intensive takes a well-rounded approach to training—not just focusing on technique and facility but nurturing overall dancer growth. "You cannot make a dancer just by screaming at them like they used to," says master ballet teacher Roberto Muñoz, who guests at the program every summer. "You have to take care of the person as well."

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Ballet Training
Emily Giacalone, modeled by Elizabeth Steele of The School at Steps.

If you're feeling wobbly in adagio or wish you could hold your piqué attitude a bit longer, there are ways to assess and improve your balance. Try these four exercises, recommended by Heather Southwick, Boston Ballet's director of physical therapy.

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Courtesy School of Pennsylvania Ballet

While many of us are deep in Nutcracker duties, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet director James Payne has been looking further ahead, finalizing preparations for the school's summer intensive programs. In January, he and his staff will embark on a 24-city audition tour to scour the country for the best young dancers, deciding whether or not to offer them a spot—maybe even a scholarship—in the school's rigorous 5-week intensive focused on high-caliber ballet instruction. Though he'll be evaluating aspirants, he urges that as a student, you should be equally selective in choosing programs that could galvanize your training—and possibly even your career.

We got Payne's advice on strategizing your summer intensive plan before the audition cycle kicks in:

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