One of Jerome Robbins' most iconic dances from the 1961 film West Side Story. Via Giphy.

There's Another Chance to Audition for Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story" Remake Choreographed by Justin Peck

Since news that Steven Spielberg was directing a remake of West Side Story was released last winter, we've been eagerly awaiting any and all updates. Last month, Justin Peck was brought on board as choreographer, joining famed playwright Tony Kushner, who's adapting the script. Peck seemed like the obvious choice; in addition to following in original West Side Story choreographer Jerome Robbins' sneaker-clad footsteps as resident choreographer of New York City Ballet, he recently took home a Tony Award for his work on Carousel.


Last week, it was announced that Ansel Elgort has been cast in the leading role of Tony. Elgort, known for his work in The Fault in Our Stars and Baby Driver, has a background in tap. (His longtime girlfriend Violetta Komyshan, is also a dancer, and has performed with BalletNext.) The rest of the leads haven't been cast yet, though we hope that Peck and his team are scouting from the dance world first.

In the meantime, there's still another chance to audition to be a Shark or a Jet, the rival gangs known for their finger-snapping, high-jumping dancing prowess. 20th Century Fox is holding an open dance call in Miami on Monday, October 29. The audition will be held at Miami City Ballet and is open to Latinx and Caucasian men and women ages 15-25. Dancers should come prepared to learn a phrase and to sing 16 bars of a classical musical theater song. More details can be found here. Dance calls have already been held in New York City, Los Angeles and Puerto Rico earlier this fall. So if you're a Florida-based dancer or can make a last-minute trip, grab your character shoes and your sneakers and head on over to MCB. We'll continue to keep you posted on all things West Side Story as this exciting dance-filled recreation comes together.

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Jayme Thornton

Roman Mejia Is Carving His Own Path at New York City Ballet

In a brightly lit studio high above the busy Manhattan streets, Roman Mejia rehearses George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante. Though just 20, the New York City Ballet corps dancer exudes an easy confidence. Practicing a tricky sequence of triple pirouettes into double tours his breathing becomes labored, but his focus doesn't waver. He works until he finds the music's inherent rhythm, timing his turns evenly and finally landing them with a satisfied smile.

Since joining NYCB in 2017, Mejia has had the chance to take on ballets ranging from Romeo + Juliet to Fancy Free to Kyle Abraham's hip-hop–infused The Runaway. Though he often finds himself the youngest person in the room, Mejia is rarely intimidated. He's been immersed in ballet since birth. His father, Paul Mejia, danced with NYCB in the 1960s, and his mother, Maria Terezia Balogh, danced for Chicago City Ballet and Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet. Both of Mejia's parents and his grandmother attended the School of American Ballet. Now, Mejia is quickly building on his family's legacy, creating buzz with his shot-from-a-cannon energy, rapid-fire footwork and charismatic charm.

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi Everyone,

These are challenging times. The social distancing measures brought about by COVID-19 has likely meant that your regular ballet training has been interrupted, while your performances, competitions—even auditions—have been cancelled. You may be feeling anxious about what the future holds, not only for you but for the dance industry. And that's perfectly understandable.

As you adjust to taking virtual ballet class from your living rooms, we here at Pointe are adjusting to working remotely from our living rooms. We've had to get a little creative, especially as we put our Summer Issue together, but like you we're taking full advantage of modern technology. Sure, it's a little inconvenient sometimes, but we're finding our groove.

And we know that you will, too. We've been utterly inspired by how the dance community has rallied together, from ballet stars giving online classes to companies streaming their performances to the flood of artist resources popping up. We've loved watching you dance from your kitchens. And we want to help keep this spirit alive. That's why Pointe and all of our Dance Media sister publications are working nonstop to produce and cross-post stories to help you navigate this crisis. We're all in this together.

We also want to hear from you! Send us a message on social media, or email me directly at abrandt@dancemedia.com. Tell us how you're doing, send us your ideas and show us your dance moves. Let the collective love we share for our beloved art form spark the light at the end of the tunnel—we will come out the other side soon enough.

Best wishes,

Amy

Bethany Kirby, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

Ballet Company Costume Departments Jump Into Action, Sewing Masks for Coronavirus Aid

The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced ballet companies worldwide to cancel or postpone their seasons. But it's not just dancers and artistic staff that have found their work at a standstill. Costume departments, a vital component in bringing performances to life, have also hit pause. However, costume shops around the country, including Tulsa Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet and Miami City Ballet, have figured out a creative way to utilize their resources to give back to their communities during this challenging time. We touched base with Tulsa's team to find out what their experience has been like.

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