Joaquin De Luz in Prodigal Son, one of his most celebrated roles. De Luz retires from New York City Ballet this week. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

Onstage This Week: Joaquin De Luz's Farewell Performance, Royal Winnipeg Ballet's "The Handmaid's Tale," and More!

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


NYCB Bids Farewell to Principal Joaquin De Luz

New York City Ballet's fall season continues this week with a return to Jerome Robbins. Then, on October 14, the company celebrates the retirement of principal dancer Joaquin De Luz. A special program includes four prominent works from De Luz's career: George Balanchine's Theme and Variations, Robbins' A Suite of Dances and Peter Martins' Todo Buenos Aires. Also on the program is Balanchine's Concerto Barocco. Above, hear De Luz on Robbins' Prodigal Son, which he'll dance on October 10.

American Contemporary Ballet Opens Their Season with a World Premiere 

American Contemporary Ballet is going all out for Halloween. Their season opener, running October 12-31, includes two works by artistic director Lincoln Jones: Inferno, billed as "an adventure through hell since the 14th century," and the world premiere of Burlesque. Exploring burlesque performance, Jones' newest work features a commissioned score by American composer Charles Wuorinen, who has previously composed for New York City Ballet.

Company Premiere of Macmillan's "Romeo & Juliet" at Pennsylvania Ballet 

Considered to be one of the greatest adaptations of Shakespeare's timeless love story, Sir Kenneth Macmillan's Romeo & Juliet will have its Pennsylvania Ballet company premiere October 11-19 at the Academy of Music. The company has released a number of videos leading up to the premiere; above, principal Lillian DiPiazza shares her thoughts on dancing the role of Juliet.

Orlando Ballet Celebrates Director Robert Hill's 10th Anniversary with "Carmina Burana" 

October 12-14, Orlando Ballet brings back Carmina Burana to celebrate Robert Hill's 10th season as artistic director. With choreography by Hill, Carmina Burana features live vocal performance by 160 singers from the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park; the singers will be onstage behind the dancers. Get a sneak peek in the thrilling trailer above.

Royal Winnipeg Ballet "The Handmaid's Tale" is Back

After five years, The Handmaid's Tale, Lila York's ballet based on Margaret Atwood's beloved dystopian novel of the same name, is back on Royal Winnipeg Ballet stages. This dark dance-drama runs October 10-14 at the Centennial Concert Hall.

Carolina Ballet Celebrates Halloween with "Dracula"

Carolina Ballet is getting into the Halloween spirit. October 11-28, the company presents two extra spooky ballets: Lynne Taylor-Corbett's Dracula, back onstage after four years, and Robert Weiss' The Masque of the Red Death, based on Edgar Allen Poe's famous story. Both works feature original scores played live by a chamber ensemble.

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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

Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Boston Ballet

Boston Ballet Principal John Lam Opens Up About Leaving Home to Train, and Being a Dancing Dad

Who was a role model for you growing up?

Mikko Nissinen. When I was around 14, he retired from San Francisco Ballet and took over my school, Marin Ballet. He was my first male ballet teacher and role model in the dance world. Then he left to direct Alberta Ballet, and I went to Canada's National Ballet School. He later became artistic director at Boston Ballet, and when I graduated he invited me to join the company.

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