NYCB Turns To Big Ballets

During its 2010 winter season, which begins January 5, the New York City Ballet will forgo its signature mixed-repertory programs for five evening-length and—with the exception of Balanchine’s Jewels—story-driven ballets. Especially notable is the return of Peter Martins’ Petipa-based Sleeping Beauty.


These ballet behemoths pose a special challenge for the company’s dancers, says assistant ballet master Sean Lavery, who will coach the roles of Aurora and the Prince in Beauty. “Our dancers are very strong, but most of our ballets are short sprints, whereas something like Beauty is a longer race,” Lavery explains. To prepare his Auroras, Lavery schedules special stamina-boosting rehearsals. “About two weeks before opening, I have each Aurora run all of her material in a single hour—all the pas de deux, all the variations, everything,” he says. “That way, we know she’ll be able to make it through the real thing without collapsing.”

Lavery thinks company members will take full advantage of the opportunity to dance evening-length works. “For the principals, it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to pull off a whole night rather than a short ballet,” he says. “And it’s fun for all the dancers to tell a story sometimes. We don’t get to do that too much here.”


The big ballets will be good for the company financially, too. “It’s a fact: Classical full-lengths sell tickets,” Lavery says. “And these days, with the economy the way it is, it’s important to get people into the seats so we can survive.” —MF

Latest Posts


Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

2020 Stars of the Corps: The Joffrey Ballet's Dara Holmes

A seasoned dancer, Dara Holmes' career with The Joffrey Ballet has consisted of a lot of heavy lifting in the ensemble. "As a new company member, I was onstage all the time," says Holmes, 28. "The older you get, the more you start to appreciate your body and want to preserve it. If I want to keep dancing and do bigger roles, I need to be healthy."

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Jeremy Kyle, Courtesy Laubacher

My First Month as a Professional Dancer in the Age of COVID-19

I moved to Eugene, Oregon, in August, brimming with nerves and excitement to launch my career as an aspirant with Eugene Ballet. After months of quarantining at home in Pittsburgh because of the coronavirus lockdown, transitioning to my new life on the West Coast marked a rapid shift. But in time, it granted me newfound feelings of security. For starters, the ritual of filling up my water bottle, packing my shoes and leotard, putting up my hair and walking into the studio reintroduced a much needed flow of normalcy into my life.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks