Ballet Stars

Ethan Stiefel's Frontier Takes The Washington Ballet on a Journey Into Space

Media4artists, Theo Kossenas, courtesy of The Washington Ballet.

Rounding out her first season as artistic director of The Washington Ballet, Julie Kent called on her longtime dancing partner and friend, Ethan Stiefel, to create an entirely new work for the company. To honor the John F. Kennedy centennial celebrations at the Kennedy Center this spring, Stiefel chose to tap into the 35th president's space legacy. Frontier, which had its world premiere on May 25 and runs through the 27, follows a female astronaut's space explorations.


To get his ballet just right, The New York Times reports that Stiefel spent a day at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., to translate an astronaut's experience—from training to space travel—into choreography. Additionally, Stiefel turned to Ted Southern (who made gloves for NASA) and his wife, Flora Gill, to design spacesuit-style costumes. To completely take the audience on an out-of-this-world journey into space, Stiefel commissioned a new score by Adam Crystal and mind-blowing scenery designed by Dmitrij Simkin (ABT principal Daniil Simkin's dad!).

Check out some pics from the world premiere performance, ahead!


Photo courtesy of Media4artists, Theo Kossenas/The Washington BalletSarah Steele in Frontier.


Photo courtesy of Media4artists, Theo Kossenas/The Washington BalletSarah Steele in Frontier.



For more news on all things ballet, don't miss a single issue.

News
Kevin Lloyd Photography, Courtesy Ballet Jörgen

Canada's Ballet Jörgen is committed to telling Canadian stories by Canadian choreographers. For its next full-length ballet, director Bengt Jörgen turned to what he calls "perhaps the most quintessential Canadian story" of all time: Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, about the flame-haired, precocious orphan Anne Shirley. Jörgen is choreographing the work, which will debut in Halifax, Nova Scotia (not far from Anne's fictional home in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island), on September 28 before embarking on a two-year tour of Canada and the U.S.

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
Original photos: Getty Images

We've been dying to hear more about "On Pointe," a docuseries following students at the School of American Ballet, since we first got wind of the project this spring. Now—finally!—we know where this can't-miss show is going to live: It was just announced that Disney+, the new streaming service set to launch November 12, has ordered the series.

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos

Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop chats with Ballet West soloist Chelsea Keefer to hear about how she prepares her pointe shoes. Keefer offers lots of darning tips, and shares all of the unusual ways that she uses rosin.

Keep reading... Show less