News

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Boston Ballet's All-Female Choreographed Program

Boston Ballet in Jorma Elo's "Bach Cello Suites" for BB@home. Photo by Sabi Varga, courtesy of Boston Ballet.

This year, Boston Ballet's annual choreographic workshop is all about empowering women. Taking place in Boston Ballet's black box theater November 1-2, BB@home: ChoreograpHER will feature six works by women of various ranks in the company.

"Given the reality that the majority of produced choreographers have been male, I am excited this BB@home program encourages our talented female dancers who have an interest in choreography by giving them a platform to gain experience as choreographers," said artistic director Mikko Nissinen in a statement.


Boston Ballet, of course, isn't the only company dedicated to creating more opportunities for women right now. After the #MeToo movement first hit the ballet world last year with claims of abuse and harassment against New York City Ballet's former ballet master in chief, Peter Martins, we've seen an increase in efforts to empower female dancers and choreographers from companies across the country. This fall, American Ballet Theater launched its Women's Movement initiative, and, last month, Pacific Northwest Ballet created a year-round women's choreography class, New Voices: Choreography and Process for Young Women in Dance.

Ahead of the BB@home: ChoreograpHER's sold-out performance, principal Lia Cirio, second soloist (and our October/November cover star) Hannah Bettes, and artists Jessica Burrows, Lauren Flower, Sage Humphries and Haley Schwan let the cameras into their rehearsals for a more in-depth look at their creative processes.

Principal Lia Cirio

In keeping with the all-women theme, Cirio (who will be making her choreographic debut), decided to use music composed by women from the band Carolina Chocolate Drops and singer-songwriter Agnes Obel.

Second Soloist Hannah Bettes

Bettes is also making her choreographic debut at BB@home, sharing that her process has been about focusing on collaborating with her dancers to create In Search of Lost Time, which is inspired by a novel by Marcel Proust of the same name.

Company Artist Jessica Burrows

Having choreographed for a workshop with Hong Kong Ballet in the past, Burrows' first piece with Boston Ballet is all about celebrating each dancer's' unique qualities of movement and individual personality.

Company Artist Lauren Flower

Flower has drawn inspiration from her personal life for her first piece with Boston Ballet, sharing that it will include various solos, pas de deuxs and ensemble moments.

Company Artist Sage Humphries

Humphries' piece, YOU, is not only significant because it marks her first major choreographic debut, but she's also set her piece to music written and composed by her brother, Michael Humphries.

Company Artist Haley Schwan

Though Schwan has choreographed in the commercial world, most notably at the 2015 MTV VMAs for Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora's performance of "Black Widow," this marks her first time choreographing for Boston Ballet.

Ballet Stars
Fabrice Calmels as Othello in Lar Lubovitch's Othello. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Larisa Elizondo.

After nearly 19 years, Joffrey Ballet dancer Fabrice Calmels announced Monday that he'll take his final bow with the company after a performance of Nutcracker on December 29. Born in France, Calmels trained at the Paris Opéra Ballet School before moving to the United States to study at the Rock School, Boston Ballet School and School of American Ballet. In addition to the long list of roles he's danced at the Joffrey, Calmels has worked as a model, and in 2014 won the Guinness World Record as the world's tallest ballet dancer.

We caught up with Calmels to hear about why he's leaving, and what his future after the Joffrey will hold.

Keep reading... Show less
Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

When you're looking for a ballet program to take you to the next level, there are a lot of factors to consider. While it's tempting to look for the biggest name that will accept you, the savvy dancer knows that successful training has more to do with the attention and opportunities you'll get.

We put together a few of the most important things for dancers to look for in a summer or year-round training program, with the help of the experts at Colorado Ballet Academy:

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos

Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop gives pointe shoe fitting tips for what she calls "octopus feet"; feet that slide down and fit into whatever shoes they're in.

Keep reading... Show less
Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy US Prix de Ballet

The US Prix de Ballet is taking an unconventional approach to the ballet competition—by putting the competitors' health first. After a successful first year in 2018, the Prix is returning to San Diego, CA this February with an even more comprehensive lineup of wellness workshops and master classes, in addition, of course, to the high-level competition.

Though the talent is top-notch, the environment is friendly, says HARID Conservatory faculty member Victoria Schneider, who serves on US Prix de Ballet's elite panel of judges. "The wellbeing of the dancer is the main focus," says Schneider, who awarded three scholarships to HARID at last year's competition.

US Prix de Ballet was born after its founders traveled to the Japan Grand Prix International Ballet Competition in 2016. "The company ran every aspect of the competition with professionalism, dignity, honor and precision," says founder Neisha Hernandez. "We knew we wanted this level of experience for America."

Keep reading... Show less