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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.

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Boston Ballet's Kathleen Breen Combes, María Álvarez and Dawn Atkins. Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow.

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

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Ballet Stars
Alexandra MacDonald (front row, third from left) didn't win a medal at the Genée International Ballet Competition, but says she came home inspired and newly motivated by the people she met there. Photo Courtesy Genée IBC.

Ballet competitions are an exciting part of any dancer's career. Yet while scholarships, prize money, job offers and the prestige that comes with winning a medal are compelling incentives to participate in one, they're not the only benefits. In fact, many dancers who go home empty-handed still look fondly on the experience and go on to become successful professionals.

This week, the 2019 Genée International Ballet Competition kicks off in Toronto. From August 20-29, over 50 dancers, ages 15–19 and trained in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus, will perform three solos in the hopes of winning a medal and a $10,000 cash prize. Many past medalists have gone on to illustrious careers—but so have those who didn't win anything. We spoke with three Genée alumni now dancing professionally who know what it's like not to place. Read on to find out why they deem their comp experiences a success, and how you can make the most of yours—whether you win or not.

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Ballet Stars
Skylar Brandt and Josephine Lee. Screenshot Courtesy Lee.

Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop chats with American Ballet Theatre soloist Skylar Brandt to hear about how she prepares her pointe shoes. We think Brandt might win an award for how long she makes her shoes last; watch the below video for the staggering number of days (or weeks!), and to hear about all of her unique customizations and pro tips.

Courtesy Chiara Valle

Chiara Valle is just one of many dancers heading back to the studio this fall as companies ramp up for the season. But her journey back has been far more difficult than most.

Valle has been a trainee at The Washington Ballet since 2016, starting at the same time as artistic director Julie Kent. But only a few months into her first season there, she started experiencing excruciating pain high up in her femur. "It felt like someone was stabbing me 24/7," she says. Sometimes at night, the pain got so bad that her roommates would bring her dinner to the bathtub.

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