Call Board

Angel Arrives

Corella Ballet makes its stateside debut.

Angel Corella: Choreographer? American audiences soon will see a new side of the American Ballet Theatre principal. Spain’s Corella Ballet brings Corella’s first stab at choreography to New York City Center this March.

Corella’s inspiration for the 35-minute String Sextet comes from the score, Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir from Florence.” “I never thought of myself as a choreographer, but this music was like a ghost haunting me,” Corella says. He describes his ballet, which premiered in Barcelona last July, as fresh and clean with a touch of romanticism.

CB’s City Center performances mark the young company’s first overseas tour—something Corella didn’t anticipate happening so soon. "Creating a classical ballet company today is very difficult,” he says, “but my name is generating some buzz and ticket sales are very promising.”

Corella hopes to go abroad frequently—tours to Japan and Brazil are already in the works. But he also wants to establish the com­pany's presence in Spain, where there are few classical ballet companies. Last season, CB performed in 55 Spanish cities, and this season it will perform in at least that many, if not more.

Is Corella nervous about his com­pany’s New York debut? Not at all. “I feel incredibly proud,” he says. “I’ve carried New York audiences’ love around my whole career. It’s exciting to be returning to the place that saw me mature as an artist.”  —Kristin Lewis

King David

A revamped version of the hit Kings of the Dance extravaganza comes to New York City Center this February. After last year’s successful Russian tour, this year’s pick-up troupe—which traveled around Europe before arriving in New York—features Jose Manuel Carreño, Guillaume Côté, Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Denis Matvienko and Nikolay Tsiskaridze. “We’re a melting pot of styles and nationalities, which is fascinating for audiences,” says Hallberg, a veteran “king.”

Another selling point is the contemporary repertoire. “We’re not doing the standard gala fare,” Hallberg says. “It’s eclectic and modern.” Hallberg was especially excited to learn Duato’s turbulent Remanso, new to the Kings program this year. “I remember watching Vladimir Malakhov dance Remanso when I was 14 or 15, and thinking that it was a ballet that might feel comfortable on my body. It’s a masterpiece.”

Kings celebrates the renaissance of the bravura male ballet dancer. “The technical level of men’s dancing has gone up a notch,” Hallberg says. “It was Baryshnikov who set the precedent, but then people like Jose and Marcelo have carried on the tradition of powerful, masculine dancing. I’m proud to be able to share the stage with that kind of talent.” —Margaret Fuhrer

 

Neumeier’s Mermaid Swims to SFB

When most people think of The Little Mermaid, they picture cute animated guppies and cheery musical numbers. But there’s nothing Disney about John Neumeier’s ballet version of Mermaid. The modern tragedy will have its U.S. première when San Francisco Ballet performs it this March. “It’s a dark, heart-wrenching story,” says SFB principal Sarah Van Patten.

Van Patten knows that story inside and out: She is cast not only as the ill-fated Mermaid, but also as the Princess betrothed to the Mermaid’s Prince. “The Princess role is more difficult technically, because it’s performed on pointe, while the Mermaid is danced barefoot,” Van Patten says. “But I think the Princess is easier for me because she’s Juliet-like—naïve, innocent and above all human.” Dancing the Mermaid, on the other hand, “is about transcending technique and becoming a creature, a fish, which I’ve found much more challenging,” Van Patten says. “I’ve been a bird in Swan Lake, but never a fish!”

To create an appropriate look, Neumeier has his Mermaid wear long pants, sewn together at the ends, which trail behind her feet like a tail. The effect is visually striking—but the costume, Van Patten says, takes some getting used to. “Every time you take a step back, you have to flip your feet in a certain way so that the pants end up behind you, not tangled around your legs,” she says with a laugh. “But somehow John manages to incorporate the costume naturally. In the end, it really looks like you’re underwater.” —MF

Stephen Hanna Returns to NYCB

After an “awesome” year playing grown-up Billy in Billy Elliot on Broadway, Stephen Hanna has returned to his former home, New York City Ballet, as a principal.

While Hanna did local theater as a child, his Broadway turn wasn’t planned. An agent friend asked him to audition for adult Billy and, to his surprise, Hanna landed the role. “I didn’t know what  I was getting into,” Hanna admits. (One of his biggest challenges? Singing with the ensemble!)

Still, Hanna might consider working on Broadway again. “Broadway audiences are so responsive,” he says. “It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.” —Susan Chitwood

 

The Washington Ballet’s Jazzy Gatsby

Washington Ballet artistic director Septime Webre believes that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, set in the roaring ’20s, is particularly relevant today. “We certainly know how the ’20s ended, and we too recently faced the bursting of an economic bubble,” he says. “The story’s message is ultimately one of moderation, even when times are flush.”

Webre hopes that this message will resonate with Washington Ballet audiences when his ballet version of Gatsby premieres at the Kennedy Center this February. But he also chose to choreograph Gatsby’s story because he finds it uniquely danceable. “The music, the exuberance, the exhilarating frenzy that was New York in the 1920s just explodes with dance,” he says.

A new score by jazz expert Billy Novick provides the beat for Webre’s lively dance party. An “old-time crooner,” as Webre describes him, will also read five short excerpts from Fitzgerald’s book. “Between the music and the spoken language and the dancing,” Webre says, “hopefully we’ll capture the energy of the era.” —MF

 

Pointe Style Watch: A Timeless Tutu

Look like a pro in pas de deux class with this classic white practice tutu from Algy. The 14” pancake-style tutu has four tiers of double net to keep it perky through hours of rehearsal. A top layer of soft chiffon keeps the netting from scratching your partner’s hands during pirouettes and lifts. —MF

 

Pointe Shoe Profile

Miami City Ballet’s Jennifer Kronenberg

Brand: Freed of London
Size: 4 1/2 XX
Maker: Maltese (Iron) Cross
Years wearing this shoe: 15!
Padding: She tapes her second toe and two last toes with first-aid tape, and wears Bunheads “jelly tips” on her big toes. Occasionally, she’ll use corn pads between her toes for added comfort.
Break-in process: After darning the tips of her shoes, she lays them on the floor and steps on the boxes to flatten them.

Then she rips out the insole lining and gently bends the shank back and forth to conform to her arch. Finally, she pours one tube of super glue inside each box for extra strength.

Number of pairs she uses: During performance periods, she goes through two to three pairs each weekend.

Latest Posts


Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

2020 Stars of the Corps: 10 Dancers Making Strides In and Out of the Spotlight

The corps de ballet make up the backbone of every company. In our Fall 2020 issue, we highlighted 10 ensemble standouts to keep your eye on. Click on their names and photos to learn more!

Dara Holmes, Joffrey Ballet

A male dancer catches a female dancer in his right arm as she wraps her left arm around his shoulder and executes a high arabesque on pointe. Both wear white costumes and dance in front of a blue backdrop onstage.

Dara Holmes and Edson Barbosa in Myles Thatcher's Body of Your Dreams

Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

Wanyue Qiao, American Ballet Theatre

Wearing a powder blue tutu, cropped light yellow top and feather tiara, Wanyue Qiao does a piqu\u00e9 retir\u00e9 on pointe on her left leg and pulls her right arm in towards her.

Wanyue Qiao as an Odalisque in Konstantin Sergeyev's Le Corsaire

Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson, Houston Ballet

Three male dancers in tight-fitting, multicolored costumes stand in positions of ascending height from left to right. All extend their right arms out in front of them.

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson (far right) with Saul Newport and Austen Acevedo in Oliver Halkowich's Following

Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

Leah McFadden, Colorado Ballet

Wearing a white pixie wig and a short light-pink tunic costume, a female ballet dancer poses in attitude front on pointe with her left arm bent across her ribs and her right hand held below her chin.

Leah McFadden as Amour in Colorado Ballet's production of Don Quixote

Mike Watson, Courtesy Colorado Ballet

Maria Coelho, Tulsa Ballet

Maria Coelho and Sasha Chernjavsky in Andy Blankenbuehler's Remember Our Song

Kate Lubar, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

Alexander Reneff-Olson, San Francisco Ballet

A ballerina in a black feathered tutu stands triumphantly in sous-sus, holding the hand of a male dancer in a dark cloak with feathers underneath who raises his left hand in the air.

Alexander Reneff-Olson (right) as Von Rothbart with San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan in Swan Lake

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

India Bradley, New York City Ballet

Wearing a blue dance dress with rhinestone embellishments and a sparkly tiara, India Bradley finishes a move with her arms out to the side and hands slightly flexed.

India Bradley practices backstage before a performance of Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2.

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

Bella Ureta, Cincinnati Ballet

Wearing a white dress with pink corset, Bella Ureta does a first arabesque on pointe in front of an onstage stone wall.

Bella Ureta performs the Act I Pas de Trois in Kirk Peterson's Swan Lake

Hiromi Platt, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

Alejándro Gonzales, Oklahoma City Ballet

Dressed in a green bell-boy costume and hat, Alejandro Gonz\u00e1lez does a saut\u00e9 with his left leg in retir\u00e9 and his arms in a long diagonal from right to left. Other dancers in late 19-century period costumes watch him around the stage.

Alejandro González in Michael Pink's Dracula at Oklahoma City Ballet.

Kate Luber, Courtesy Oklahoma City Ballet

Nina Fernandes, Miami CIty Ballet

Wearing a long white tutu and crown, Nina Fernandes does a saut de chat in front of a wintery backdrop as snow falls from the top of the stage.

Nina Fernandes in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Miami City Ballet

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Ballet West Academy's New Director on Dream Building During COVID-19

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks