For an all-too-brief period of one month, both American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet will perform at the Lincoln Center. Though the repertoire of each company differs greatly, their theaters are steps away from each other, and it's wonderful to walk by and see people streaming into the respective buildings for a night at the ballet.

ABT kicked off its season with Les Sylphides, choreographed by Michel Fokine, which the company first performed in 1940. ABT's Pillar of Fire and Fancy Free, which accompanied Les Sylphides in the opening program, show the dramatic and technical breadth of the company and demonstrate why it has made a name for itself as the classical company of note in the United States.

NYCB, on the other hand, just had its company premiere of La Sylphide, choreographed by August Bournonville and re-staged by Peter Martins. Though NYCB isn't currently celebrating an anniversary season the way ABT is, the company is nonetheless highlighting its own legacy by paying homage to Bournonville—who Balanchine greatly admired. The company is putting its own, distinctly American stamp on the quintessential Danish ballet.

This embarrassment of ballet riches is certainly one of the best parts of springtime in NYC.

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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.'"

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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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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.

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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.

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