The Mariinsky Ballet in Paquita. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Mariinsky Ballet.

Onstage This Week: The Mariinsky Returns to DC, New "Frankenstein" at Carolina Ballet and More!

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


The Mariinsky Brings Its New "Paquita" to DC

October 8–13, the Mariinsky Ballet presents the U.S. premiere of its 2017 production of Paquita at The Kennedy Center. Though the Mariinsky performed the ballet's famed wedding pas de deux at the Kennedy Center in 2016, the St. Petersburg–based company is now showcasing the ballet in its entirety. This new rendition of the Marius Petipa classic features a reconstruction of the wedding pas de deux by Yuri Burlaka, and new choreography by Yuri Smekalov, who worked from a libretto of his own making based on Miguel de Cervantes' 1613 novella La gitanilla. —Cadence Neenan

Carolina Ballet's New "Frankenstein" is Tutu Spooky

Halloween creates the perfect inspiration this fall. October 10–27, Carolina Ballet artistic director Zalman Raffael brings Frankenstein to life in Raleigh, North Carolina. His new, full-length ballet will feature a commissioned score by J. Mark Scearce. Costumes, designed by Carolina Ballet's resident designer Kerri Martinsen, will allude to the story's original 19th-century setting, though Raffael's interpretation emphasizes the timelessness of Mary Shelley's tale.

Fall for Dance's Final Program Features NYCB Stars

The 16th annual New York City Center Fall for Dance Festival enters its final two programs this week. Program 5, running October 12-13, features Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal in Dance Me by Andonis Foniadakis and Ihsan Rustem. Also on the bill is the world premiere of a duet for New York City Ballet principals Sara Mearns and Taylor Stanley created by European ballet choreographer Kim Brandstrup.

Kansas City Ballet Presents the World Premiere of Adam Houghland's "Carmina Burana"

October 11-20, Kansas City Ballet audiences can see the world premiere of Adam Houghland's new Carmina Burana. The ballet will feature Carl Orff's famous score performed live by Kansas City Symphony and Kansas City Symphony Chorus. Also on the program are Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Tulips and Lobster and Helen Pickett's Petal.

"Don Quixote" Returns to Pennsylvania Ballet

Pennsylvania Ballet's Don Quixote, restaged by artistic director Angel Corella, returns to Philadelphia's Academy of Music October 10-20. Catch a glimpse of the fiery classic, set to Ludwig Minkus' 1869 score, in the above trailer.

Nevada Ballet Theatre Collaborates with Cirque Du Soleil 

A Choreographer's Showcase, Nevada Ballet Theatre's innovative collaboration with Cirque du Soleil, is back for the 12th year October 6, 12 and 13. This year's performance will feature over 60 performers in work by 16 choreographers from the two Las Vegas-based troupes. The genre-bending show will include media technology elements and video projections alongside live dancing, acrobatics and more.

American Contemporary Ballet Focuses on the Darker Side of Halloween

Lincoln Jones' Inferno. Courtesy ACB.

October 11-November 2, Los Angeles-based American Contemporary Ballet gets into the Halloween spirit with two works by artistic director Lincoln Jones "serving gothic horror." Inferno is based on the first part of Dante's epic 14th century poem, Divine Comedy, while Burlesque is a series of dance episodes blending ballet and burlesque.

Peter and His Animal Friends Take the Stage at Nashville Ballet

Audiences of all ages can crawl, fly and scurry to Nashville Ballet October 10-13 to see Paul Vasterling's family-friendly Peter and the Wolf. This production, set to Sergei Prokofiev's score, unfolds like a life-sized storybook, filled with many species of animal characters.

Festival Ballet Providence's Season Opens with "Hansel & Gretel" 

October 12-20, Festival Ballet Providence's 2019/20 season opens with Ilya Kozodayev's 2016 Hansel & Gretel. This ballet, perfect for children and adults alike, features a commissioned score/soundscape by David Ikard.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

The History of Pointe Shoes: The Landmark Moments That Made Ballet's Signature Shoe What It Is Today

Pointe shoes, with their ability to elevate a dancer both literally and metaphorically to a superhuman realm, are the ultimate symbol of a ballerina's ethereality and hard work. For students, receiving a first pair of pointe shoes is a rite of passage. The shoes carry an almost mystical allure: They're an endless source of lore and ritual, with tips, tricks and stories passed down over generations.

The history of pointe shoes reveals how a delicately darned slipper introduced in the 1820s has transformed into a technical tool that offers dancers the utmost freedom onstage today.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

How Coming Back to Ballet After Years Away Has Saved Me During the Pandemic Shutdown

I was 4 years old when I took my first ballet lesson. My mom had dressed me in a pink leotard with matching tights, skirt and slippers. She drove me on a Saturday morning to a ballet academy in downtown Caguas, the town in Puerto Rico where I grew up. I don't remember much from the first lesson, but I do recall the reverence. My teacher Mónica asked the class if someone wanted to volunteer to lead. She was surprised I—the new girl—was the one to raise my hand.

I made up most of the steps, mimicking the ballerinas I had seen on TV and videos. At one point, Mónica stepped in and asked me to lead the class in a bow. I followed her directions and curtseyed in front of the mirror with one leg behind me and a gentle nod. I looked up to find myself in awe of what I had just done.

This was the same feeling I had when, after years away from dance, I finished my first YouTube ballet class at home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
La'Toya Princess Jackson, Courtesy MoBBallet

Join Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet for Its 2020 Virtual Symposium

Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet, founded in 2015 by writer and activist Theresa Ruth Howard to preserve and promote the stories of Black ballet dancers, is offering three weekends of interactive education and conversation this month through its 2020 Virtual Symposium. The conference, titled "Education, Communication, Restoration," encourages participants to engage in candid discussions concerning racial inequality and social justice in ballet. While it is a space that centers on Blackness, all are welcome. Held August 14, 15, 21, 22 and 28, MoBBallet's second annual symposium will allow dancers to receive mentorship and openly speak about their personal experiences in a safe and empowering environment.

The first event, For Us By Us (FUBU) Town Hall, is a free community discussion on August 14 from 3:30–4:30 pm EDT via Zoom, followed by a forum for ballet leadership. The town hall format encourages active engagement (participants can raise their hands and respond in real time), but the registration invoice also contains a form for submitting questions in advance. The following discussions, forums and presentations include topics like company life as a Black dancer, developing personal activism, issues of equity and colorism in ballet companies, and more. Tickets range from free to $12 for each 60- to 80-minute event.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks