Dancers On Tour: Pittsburgh in Tel Aviv

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is currently on tour in Israel to perform in the 25th anniversary of Karmiel Dance Festival. Principal dancer Alexandra Kochis is guest blogging about the experience for Pointe.

 

We have arrived in Israel! After a few airline delays and one 11-hour flight from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv, we are finally checked into our seaside hotel in the town of Acre.

 

But, perhaps I should backtrack just a bit to start out. We first learned about the possibility of this tour towards the end of last season and I feel like, since then, I've approached the idea with both excitement and a bit of trepidation. Once plans were firm, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre organized a half day cultural briefing for us to familiarize ourselves a bit with the country, culture and people. None of the dancers here on the tour have ever been to Israel before. From the few speakers we heard, it sounded like a modern, thriving country of friendly people eager to share their culture and get to know a bit about ours. And, from the beginning, I was intrigued by the paradox of what these natives of Israel had to say about their country and the turmoil and unrest we've grown so accustomed to seeing on the news. Above all though one thing was clear: Israelis love dance.

 

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is hear to participate in the Karmiel Dance Festival which, we learned, brings some 250,000 people to this otherwise small town in Northern Israel every year. I am really excited to see what the festival will be like since we have heard that there is quite a variety of dancers here to participate. Everything ranging from folk dance groups from the various Kibbutz to professional ballet and modern companies from around the world. It should be an exciting an event!

popular
Getty Images

During one of Charlotte Nash's first few weeks with Houston Ballet II, she was thrown into a run-through of Balanchine's Theme and Variations. "I had never really understudied before and I didn't know what I was doing," she says. "I fell right away and was quickly replaced." For Nash, now a dancer with Festival Ballet Providence, the episode was a tough lesson. "I was mortified, but then I said to myself, 'Okay, I need to figure out how to learn things more quickly.'"

Keep reading... Show less
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:

Keep reading... Show less
News
The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

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

Keep reading... Show less
News
Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's October 16–27 run honors principal Herman Cornejo, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a pas de deux with his sister, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo.

Keep reading... Show less