Ballet Stars

The Standouts of 2018: Lonnie Weeks in Christopher Wheeldon's "Bound To" at San Francisco Ballet's Unbound Festival

Weeks, a newly promoted SFB soloist, in Christopher Wheeldon's Bound To. Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

If a dancer is very lucky, and very prepared, one performance can transform their career. Lonnie Weeks was that dancer on the opening night of San Francisco Ballet's Unbound Festival in April. Chosen by Christopher Wheeldon for the emotionally wrenching final solo in Bound To, Weeks, 27, went onstage as a superb but largely unsung company artist. When the curtain came down 30 minutes later, he was, rightfully, a star.


Weeks in "Bound To." Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

Weeks, who was promoted to soloist just before the festival, boasts the classical refinement and the expressive freedom of a modernist. That combination seemed tailor-made for Wheeldon's contemporary ballet about the alienation of technology, so while Bound To featured principals like Dores André, Yuan Yuan Tan and Angelo Greco, Weeks got the last word. In that closing solo, he portrayed a person whose loneliness has brought him to the brink of self-destruction. Weeks held nothing back, laying out his body in breathtaking extensions, leaps and floor work, and dancing with a heartrending musicality that bared his soul, for all to see.

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Kevin Lloyd Photography, Courtesy Ballet Jörgen

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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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Original photos: Getty Images

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