The venerable Jacob's Pillow dance festival will celebrate its 85th birthday in 2017, making it the country's longest-running international dance festival. As usual, Jacob's Pillow gives equal weight to different dance styles (presenting everything from hip hop to Bharatnatyam over the course of the summer), and that ethos extends to its ballet programming. Classical and contemporary companies will visit throughout the summer, showcasing both traditional and innovative choreography. Additionally, this year's festival includes 11 companies led by female directors.

The opening gala on June 17 includes New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns in collaboration with Company Wang Ramierz, a hip-hop duo. While it's hard to imagine what this might look like, Mearns has been diving into the unknown lately, so it's sure to include her signature level of commitment.

Miami City Ballet in George Balanchine's Serenade) (Photo by Andrea Mohin, via The New York Times

Miami City Ballet visits from June 21–25, dancing the type of work the company does best: George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante and Christopher Wheeldon's Polyphonia, along with other works to be announced. The Washington Ballet performs from August 23–27, returning to the Pillow for the first time since 1980. The company, under Julie Kent's new leadership, will dance Alexei Ratmansky's Seven Sonatas, among other works.

In between these two preeminent companies are several ballet-adjacent troupes. Portland's NW Dance Project brings its slippery contemporary moves and commitment to international choreographers to its Pillow premiere from June 28–July 2. New York's Ballet Hispanico will perform a Pillow-commissioned work, Línea Recta, by in-demand choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, along with other works during its July 26–30. Lastly, New York's Jessica Lang Dance will appear in its own Pillow-commissioned premiere by Lang, along with Thousand Yard Stare and the east coast premiere of Lyric Pieces. Lang has made serious headway into the classical ballet world, recently choreographing for American Ballet Theatre and Pacific Northwest Ballet which premiered her ballet Her Door to the Sky at the Pillow in 2016.

Pacific Northwest Ballet in Jessica Lang's Her Door to the Sky (photo by Hayim Heron)

 

For a full list of performances and dates, click here.

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

Instagram

Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

Keep reading...
Sponsored by Ellison Ballet
Rachel Neville, Courtesy Ellison Ballet

If you've got your heart set on dancing for, say, San Francisco Ballet, you should attend a school that specializes in Balanchine, right? Not necessarily: It's actually a misconception that you have to train in a particular style or technique in order to pursue a career in that style. Ellison Ballet in New York City—which specializes in Vaganova technique—is living proof: Graduates of Ellison's year-round program and summer intensives go on to ballet companies that perform in a wide range of styles, and use what they've learned from Vaganova to land jobs.

Here are five reasons why studying Vaganova technique can actually make you a sought-after dancer for any number of ballet companies:

Keep reading...
Ballet Training
Students at Ellison Ballet's Classical Pas de Deux Intensive learning the pas from Don Quixote. Rachel Neville, Courtesy Ellison Ballet.

Summer intensives are wonderful opportunities to focus on your technique and artistry, study with new teachers and take classes you may not regularly get. But in addition to traditional multi-week, all-encompassing programs, many schools are now adding shorter "specialty" intensives that address specific areas or skills. These supplemental weeks (which usually follow the longer programs) offer short, deep dives into the choreographic process, variations, partnering or life as a professional dancer. While regular summer programs are fairly predictable, these hyper-focused intensives vary widely in their environments, intentions and requirements. And while it's a good opportunity to add weeks to your summer or train at more than one school, some may restrict admission to or prioritize those attending their full summer program. Before jumping in, look closely at what's involved and think about what you need.

Keep reading...
Ballet Training

Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop talks about what to do if one of your feet is stronger than the other. She's fitting Becca, who's struggling to get over her box on the left.

Keep reading...