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Onstage This Week: "Mad Max" Rock Ballet Makes Its Debut, Ricardo Amarante World Premiere at Atlanta Ballet, and More!

LINES Ballet's Adji Cissoko in rehearsal for Fury. Photo by Alex Reneff-Olsen, Courtesy Fury.

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


"Fury," The "Mad Max" Rock Ballet, Makes Its Debut in San Francisco This Week

Who said that action movies and ballet don't go together? September 14–15, San Francisco audiences can see Fury, a contemporary rock ballet based on the 2015 post-apocalyptic film Mad Max: Fury Road. Choreographed by former Australian Ballet principal and Nederlands Dans Theater member Danielle Rowe, the project will feature seven dancers hailing from Alonzo King LINES Ballet and San Francisco Ballet: Adji Cissoko, Babatunji, Dores André, Frances Chung, Luke Ingham, Ulrik Birkkjaer and Jennifer Stahl-Weitz. For producer Kate Duhamel, the goal of the project is to "appeal to a broader audience than those who typically go to the theater to see classical ballet." To that end, Fury will use an original score by indie pop band YASSOU and be performed in-the-round at music clubs, rather than in a proscenium theater. Sets will be projected on various surfaces, and the audience will be standing, able to mingle throughout.

Atlanta Ballet's Season Opener Includes a World Premiere by Ricardo Amarante

Atlanta Ballet's 2018/2019 season opens September 14-16 with a program titled Return to Fall. This mixed repertoire lineup covers a lot of ground: Jiří Kylián's Return to a Strange Land, a selection of divertissement from works including Don Quixote and George Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, and a world premiere by Brazilian choreographer Ricardo Amarante, fittingly titled The Premiere. The program also includes a special performance of Mauro Bigonzetti's Vertigo, danced by Czech National Ballet, as part of Atlanta Ballet's new transatlantic partnership.

Houston Ballet Presents a Weekend of Free Outdoor Performances

Summer might be over, but Houston Ballet is taking advantage of the lingering warm weather with a weekend of outdoor performances at Houston's Miller Outdoor Theatre, September 13-15. The program includes excerpts from some of Houston Ballet's best-loved works: Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Raymonda, Sons de L'aime, Spring Waters and The Ladies, as well as artistic director Stanton Welch's newest work, Just!, which the company premiered at Jacob's Pillow last month.

Traverse City Dance Project's One-Night-Only Collaboration With the Traverse Symphony Orchestra

For the sixth year, Traverse City Dance Project co-directors Jennifer McQuiston Lott and Brent Whitney gather dancers from around the country to northern Michigan to present new choreography. Past dancers have hailed from Ballet Memphis, The Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet X, Sacramento Ballet, and more. This year's performance, slated for September 15, mixes things up; the group is collaborating with a full symphony orchestra. The program includes a new work by McQuiston Lott to Debussy's "La Mer," and a premiere choreographed by Whitney to Richard Danielpour's "Urban Dances."

Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

When you're looking for a ballet program to take you to the next level, there are a lot of factors to consider. While it's tempting to look for the biggest name that will accept you, the savvy dancer knows that successful training has more to do with the attention and opportunities you'll get.

We put together a few of the most important things for dancers to look for in a summer or year-round training program, with the help of the experts at Colorado Ballet Academy:

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Everything Nutcracker
Pennsylvania Ballet demi-soloist Thays Golz as the Sugar Plum Fairy during a stage rehearsal for George Balanchine's Nutcracker. All photography by Arian Molina Soca.

For many professional ballet dancers, Nutcracker means weeks of performances. That usually translates to multiple casts—and important breakout opportunities for those in the junior ranks. On the afternoon of December 13, Pennsylvania Ballet demi-soloist Thays Golz made her debut as the Sugar Plum Fairy along with her Cavalier, corps member Austin Eylar. For the Brazilian-born dancer, who joined PAB in 2018 after two seasons at Houston Ballet, Sugar Plum marks one of her first principal roles.

"I'm really excited," says Golz. PAB artistic director Angel Corella appointed 12 casts of Sugar Plum Fairies over the run's 29 performances. "When I first found out, I was like, 'Pinch me!' I still can't believe it."

We caught up with Golz just before her debut to see how she prepared for her big break.

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Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy US Prix de Ballet

The US Prix de Ballet is taking an unconventional approach to the ballet competition—by putting the competitors' health first. After a successful first year in 2018, the Prix is returning to San Diego, CA this February with an even more comprehensive lineup of wellness workshops and master classes, in addition, of course, to the high-level competition.

Though the talent is top-notch, the environment is friendly, says HARID Conservatory faculty member Victoria Schneider, who serves on US Prix de Ballet's elite panel of judges. "The wellbeing of the dancer is the main focus," says Schneider, who awarded three scholarships to HARID at last year's competition.

US Prix de Ballet was born after its founders traveled to the Japan Grand Prix International Ballet Competition in 2016. "The company ran every aspect of the competition with professionalism, dignity, honor and precision," says founder Neisha Hernandez. "We knew we wanted this level of experience for America."

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