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The Royal Ballet's Francesca Hayward Is Feline Purrfection in the New "CATS" Trailer

Courtesy Universal Pictures

What do you get when you add Royal Ballet principal Francesca Hayward, Taylor Swift, Hamilton choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, CGI fur technology, giant sets and unitards galore? The answer is the new CATS film, scheduled for major release December 20, 2019.


The official trailer has just dropped, and it's even bigger, furrier and more dance-filled than we ever could have imagined. Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1981 musical is based on T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, and tells the strange tale of the Jellicles, a tribe of cats tasked with deciding which of them will ascend to Heaviside Layer (roughly translated as cat heaven) and return to a new life. It was restaged for film in 1998. This new remake, directed by Tom Hooper of Les Misérables fame, is overflowing with Hollywood stars. In addition to Swift, the cast includes James Corden, Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Jennifer Hudson, who sings "Memory," the show's best-known song.

But of course, we're most excited for the dancing. Hayward makes her feature film debut as the white cat Victoria, and if this trailer is any indication, we'll get to see plenty of her leggy brilliance (check out 0:36 and 0:48 for a sneak peek). The film also features former NYCB principal Robbie Fairchild as Munkustrap, Royal Ballet principal Steven McRae and former soloist Eric Underwood, hip hop duo Les Twins and CATS on Broadway veteran Kolton Krouse.

Check out the trailer below meow! (Sorry we couldn't help ourselves.)

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:

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Everything Nutcracker
Pennsylvania Ballet demi-soloist Thays Golz as the Sugar Plum Fairy during a stage rehearsal for George Balanchine's Nutcracker. All photography by Arian Molina Soca.

For many professional ballet dancers, Nutcracker means weeks of performances. That usually translates to multiple casts—and important breakout opportunities for those in the junior ranks. On the afternoon of December 13, Pennsylvania Ballet demi-soloist Thays Golz made her debut as the Sugar Plum Fairy along with her Cavalier, corps member Austin Eylar. For the Brazilian-born dancer, who joined PAB in 2018 after two seasons at Houston Ballet, Sugar Plum marks one of her first principal roles.

"I'm really excited," says Golz. PAB artistic director Angel Corella appointed 12 casts of Sugar Plum Fairies over the run's 29 performances. "When I first found out, I was like, 'Pinch me!' I still can't believe it."

We caught up with Golz just before her debut to see how she prepared for her big break.

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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."

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