News
David Hallberg in rehearsal. Photo by Kate Longley, Courtesy The Australian Ballet.

Have you ever dreamt of the chance to choreograph for American Ballet Theatre? Thanks to ABT Incubator, the company's newly launched choreographic initiative directed by company principal (and recent author) David Hallberg, that wish could become a reality this fall. The two-week choreographic lab will run from October 31-November 10 at ABT's New York studios and will give both members of the company and freelance choreographers the chance to create new work on dancers from ABT and the ABT Studio Company. Participants will also have access to crucial dance making tools including a stipend, studio space, collaborators, feedback and mentorship from Hallberg and other artists. They'll present their creations in a private showing on November 10. "It has always been my vision to establish a process-oriented hub to explore the directions ballet can forge now and in the future," said Hallberg in a statement released today. "I am thrilled that Incubator will provide the resources for emerging and established creators to explore movement and new paths in dance."

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Ballet Stars
Kyle Froman

When it comes to studio attire, The Washington Ballet's Venus Villa loves to have choices. While at home in Washington, DC, her bag usually overflows with skirts and warm-ups in all different colors. "I am more girly than sporty," she says of her style. She's also never without multiple lipsticks, and she selects the right shade to match her leotard each day. On tour in New York City for a Guggenheim Works & Process showing, Villa pared the contents of her dance bag down to the essentials: only one skirt, but still three lipsticks.

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News
National Ballet of Canada's Harrison James and Hannah Fischer with Artists of the Ballet in rehearsal for Justin Peck's "Paz de la Jolla." Photo by Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC.

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

National Ballet of Canada's Justin Peck Company Premiere

June 16-22, NBoC presents their first work by Justin Peck (who as of last night can now add Tony Award winner for his work on Carousel to his long list of accolades). The company will dance Paz de la Jolla, created in 2013 for New York City Ballet and based on Peck's Southern California upbringing. The NBoC program also includes James Kudelka's The Man in Black, set to the music of Johnny Cash, and Alexander Ekman's wild and wacky Cacti.

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Just for fun
Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Elizabeth Murphy and Sarah Ricard Orza in Peter Boal's staging of "Giselle." Photo by Angela Sterling.
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San Francisco Ballet's Frances Chung in "Coppelia." Photo by Erik Tomasson, courtesy SFB.

Though you may not know it, June 8 is National Best Friends Day. Obviously this provides an opportunity to celebrate some of our favorite friendships in ballet, but maybe not the kind you're thinking of. Instead of rounding up our favorite real-life besties (hi, ABT Cindies), we're taking a look at some of ballet's onstage friendships. While lots of classical ballets include love triangles with characters tearing each other down, there are some occasions where friendship flourishes. Check out some of our favorites below, and don't forget to wish your studio BFFs a happy National Best Friends Day!

Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio, Romeo & Juliet

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Benjamin Griffiths (Benvolio), James Moore (Romeo), and Jonathan Porretta (Mercutio) in Jean-Christophe Maillot's "Roméo et Juliette." Photo by Angela Sterling.

Sure, Juliet has her nurse, but Mercutio literally duels to his death against Tybalt for his BFF Romeo—talk about a loyal friend. But before all of the drama unfolds, Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio were just your average besties, sneaking into parties and hanging out at the marketplace.

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Ballet Stars
Lindsi Dec and Karel Cruz in Alexei Ratmansky's "Don Quixote." Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB.

On Sunday, June 10, Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Karel Cruz will take the stage with the company for the last time. A native of Cuba, Cruz danced with Ballet Nacional de Cuba and the Venezuelan companies Ballet Clasico de Cámara and Teatro Teresa Carreño before joining PNB in 2002. In 2009, Cruz was promoted to principal and married fellow PNB principal Lindsi Dec. In addition to their frequent onstage partnership, the couple is also raising a young son, Koan, and co-running Solu, a dancewear line (check out a very hectic day in their life here). Earlier this week we had the chance to chat with Cruz as he reflected on his 16-year career with PNB.

How did you choose the works that you'll dance at your retirement show this weekend?

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2014 Junior Gold Medalist Gisele Bethea and partner Michal Wozniak at the 2014 USA IBC Awards Gala. Photo by Richard Finkelstein, Courtesy USA IBC.

From June 10–23, 119 competitors from 19 countries will gather in Jackson, Mississippi, for the 11th USA International Ballet Competition. Held every four years, the USA IBC has helped launch the careers of dozens of stars, including Daniil Simkin, Misa Kuranaga and Brooklyn Mack. "The 2014 competition was good, but we're making this year better," says jury chairman John Meehan. Changes include broadened age limits for competitors and a larger sum of prize money. This summer's competition also has a special focus on Marius Petipa in honor of his 200th birthday. There will be an emphasis on Petipa repertoire, and choreographer Alexei Ratmansky will give a workshop for competitors on his reconstructions of original Petipa choreography. This edition will also honor the legacy of Robert Joffrey, who was a catalyst in launching the USA IBC with founder Thalia Mara. Dancers from The Joffrey Ballet will perform in the opening ceremony.

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News
Costume sketches for Alexei Ratmansky's new "Harlquinade" for ABT. Courtesy ABT.

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


ABT's New Harlequinade is Finally Here

The long wait for Alexei Ratmansky's Harlequinade for American Ballet Theatre is finally over. June 4-9, catch ABT at the Metropolitan Opera House in this bold and colorful tribute to the Italian commedia dell'arte traditions, based on the archival notes of Marius Petipa. If this trailer by Ezra Hurwitz is any indication, this new story ballet is sure to delight (fingers crossed that those dogs make their way to the stage).

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