Ballet Stars

The Standouts of 2018: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Corey Bourbonniere as Bernardo in "West Side Story Suite"

Bourbonniere as Bernardo in Robbins' West Side Story Suite. Photo by Aimee DiAndrea, Courtesy Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

When Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre corps de ballet dancer Corey Bourbonniere arrived onstage in the company's production of Jerome Robbins' West Side Story Suite last May, he wore the role of Bernardo like a custom-made leather jacket. Bourbonniere's Bernardo was puckish and sly, with a command and subtle likeability that made him the most delicious of anti-heroes. He shone brightest during the "Mambo" scene, where he deftly partnered his Anita (principal Julia Erickson) without missing a beat.


Bourbonniere in "West Side Story Suite." Photo by Aimee DiAndrea, Courtesy PBT.

Bourbonniere is no stranger to performing remarkably in contemporary works—he has previously shone in Mark Morris' Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes. But the opportunity to mix his finessed movement style with acting chops made him impossible to ignore in Robbins' classic choreography. So much so that répétiteur Julio Monge suggested Bourbonniere audition for the full-length West Side Story at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, New York, where he reprised the role of Bernardo this summer.

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Kevin Lloyd Photography, Courtesy Ballet Jörgen

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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Original photos: Getty Images

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