Twenty One Pilots, Janelle Monáe, Tame Impala, Boston Ballet.

One of these things is not like the others.


This Memorial Day weekend, Boston's hometown ballet company is joining a lineup of major music stars for Boston Calling, a festival dubbed by some as an "East Coast Coachella." It's the first time in Boston Calling's 10-year run that dance will be featured—and possibly the first time ballet has ever been given major stage time at such a high profile music festival.

The company with take both the main stage and the more intimate, covered Arena Stage in three works: an excerpt from William Forsythe's Playlist EP, set to R&B artist Khalid's "Location"; a new duet by former principal Yury Yanowsky; and, perhaps most unexpectedly, a new work by corps member Sage Humphries, who's choreographing to music by her brother Michael Humphries, the artist behind indie band Future Self.

Sage Humphries leads a rehearsal at the Boston Ballet studios, demonstrating one hand up

Sage Humphries (center) is choreographing on principals Kathleen Breen Combes and John Lam, and soloists Maria Baranova and Roddy Doble.

Brooke Trisolini, Courtesy Boston Ballet

As a 21-year-old music festival lover, Humphries calls the opportunity "overwhelming, in the best way." She choreographed her first piece just last fall for Boston Ballet's ChoreograpHER Initiative. When she was out injured earlier this year, artistic director Mikko Nissinen asked if she'd be interested in putting her unexpected free time to use by creating something for the festival. She jumped at the chance.

Her new work, White, casts each dancer as an iconic character from rock-and-roll history. "If you picture a 16-year-old who can't stop listening to their favorite record, that's the vibe I'm going for," she says. "Someone is listening to music and it comes to life—the stories they hear in the song are personified."

With such a massive venue, the pressure is on. But Humphries is ready for it.

"The festival's lineup is honestly my musical heaven. The fact that we're going to be backstage with these bands and performers we love, performing for thousands of people—it's an amazing opening for the future of ballet."

Viral Videos

Buying your first pair of pointe shoes is a huge milestone. Below, ThePointeShop's Josephine Lee gives some of her top tips on finding the best fit for first time pointe shoe wearers.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Careers
American Contemporary Ballet in rehearsal. Anastasia Petukhova, Courtesy ACB.

Lincoln Jones felt there was a pertinence missing from ballet when he decided to form American Contemporary Ballet. "People looking at a film today can pick apart screenwriting versus art direction and editing," says Jones. "They are really conversant with it. I thought ballet is never going to feel super-relevant until people can do that."

So how to do that? Connect the audience to the show.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by The Rock School
From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

What inspires busy pros to keep returning to their alma mater? We talked to three of The Rock School's buzziest alums about why they make it a priority to come back and teach:

Keep reading... Show less