News

Onstage This Week: World Premieres at PNB, PBT and DTH Collaborate in Pittsburgh, and More!

New York Theatre Ballet in Richard Alston's The Seasons. Richard Termine, Courtesy NYTB.

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


PNB's Director's Choice Program Features Two World Premieres

Pacific Northwest Ballet's second mixed bill of the season, running March 15-24, features three works handpicked by artistic director Peter Boal. The program includes two world premieres: The Trees The Trees by Robyn Mineko Williams and Bacchus by Matthew Neenan, as well as the company premiere of Justin Peck's In The Countenance of Kings.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Dance Theatre of Harlem Share the Stage

March 15-24, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Dance Theatre of Harlem come together in Pittsburgh to present a shared program featuring signature works from both companies, including PBT in Balanchine's "Rubies" and DTH in Darrell Grand Moultrie's Harlem On My Mind. The companies will also dance together in a collaborative staging of Stanton Welch's Orange. Above, see a video on the companies' 2017 collaboration.

New York Theatre Ballet Brings a Mixed Rep Program to Danspace Project

March 14-16 marks New York Theatre Ballet's fifth season at Dancspace Project. NYTB presents three favorite works: Richard Alston's The Seasons, inspired by Indian philosophical thought, Matthew Nash's 1983 The Elements of Style based on the classic guide to writing of the same name, and Merce Cunningham's 1967 Scramble, part of the Cunningham Centennial Celebration.

American Repertory Ballet Brings Back "Coppélia"

New Jersey-based American Repertory Ballet presents Coppélia at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ, March 16-17. ARB is billing this comedic story ballet as a great fit for the whole family.

Ballet Careers
Lenai Alexis Wilkerson. Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Michelle Tabnick Public Relations.

This is one of a series of stories on recent graduates' on-campus experiences—and the connections they made that jump-started their dance careers. Lenai Alexis Wilkerson graduated from University of Southern California with a BFA in dance (dance performance concentration) and a political science minor in 2019.

As Lenai Alexis Wilkerson looked at colleges, she wanted a school that would prepare her for two totally different professions: dancing and law. "I knew, pretty much when I was 16, that I wanted to go to law school," she says. "So I wanted the opportunity to have a dual college experience, where I could have a conservatory training style within a university and I could focus equally on my academics." When she auditioned for the inaugural class of University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, she knew it was the right fit.

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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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News
Nicolas Pelletier in Carmina Burana. Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet.

Last week, Colorado Ballet interrupted Nutcracker rehearsals for an exciting announcement: Four dancers were being promoted. Though all made the jump from the company's corps de ballet, Nicolas Pelletier ascended directly to the rank of soloist, while Sean Omandam, Emily Speed and Melissa Zoebisch were promoted to demi-soloist. This news comes hot on the heels of last August's promotion of Francisco Estevez to principal.

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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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