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Onstage This Week: Penguins, Rock & Roll, Jane Austen and More

National Ballet of Canada's Skylar Campbell and Elena Lobsanova in "The Dreamers Ever Leave You." Photo by Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC.

This week is bursting at the seams with ballet. Earlier this month multiple companies performed the same ballet (think Romeo and Juliet), but this week brings a truly eclectic mix of new works, company premieres and old classics all around the U.S. and Canada. We've rounded up programs by eight companiesNational Ballet of Canada, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Houston Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Texas Ballet Theater and Indianapolis Balletto give you a sense of what's happening.

National Ballet of Canada

In honor of Canada's 150th anniversary in 2017, the Toronto-based National Ballet of Canada is presenting a mixed bill February 28–March 4 titled Made in Canada. The program features works made on NBoC by three of Canada's most lauded choreographers: Robert Binet's The Dreamers Ever Leave You, James Kudelka's The Four Seasons and Crystal Pite's Emergence. Check out the preview below.


Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Also in Canada this week, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet is presenting Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty February 28–March 4 at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg, Manitoba. RWB's first production of this classic ballet was back in 1992; they've posted historic photos of the ballet's progression within the company here.


Houston Ballet

When Hurricane Harvey damaged Houston Ballet's Wortham Theater Center this fall, the fate of the company's spring season was unclear. Yet Houston's arts community rallied to get the company back on its feet and helped organize a Hometown Tour. Houston Ballet's spring season opens March 1–4 with Rock, Roll & Tutus at the George R. Brown Convention Center's Resilience Theatre. "Tutus" refers to a costume exhibit on display in the lobby, and "rock and roll" references the four pieces on the program (the first three are company premieres): Trey McIntyre's In Dreams, Stanton Welch's La Cathedrale Engloutie, Tim Harbour's Filigree and Shadow and Alexander Ekman's Cacti. You can check out lots of great rehearsal footage—like the below video—on Houston Ballet's Instagram.


American Repertory Ballet

Princeton, New Jersey–based company American Repertory Ballet is taking its full-length Pride and Prejudice on tour to Philadelphia this week. ARB will perform its original ballet based on Jane Austen's beloved novel at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts from March 2–3. You can learn all about its genesis here.


Sarasota Ballet

Sarasota Ballet presents two company premieres this week: Sir Frederick Ashton's The Dream and Birmingham Royal Ballet director David Bintley's 'Still Life' at the Penguin Café. The program runs March 2–3 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. This is the first time that an American company has been given permission to perform 'Still Life,' a Noah's Ark–type story of a colorful group of animals seeking shelter from a storm at the fictitious Penguin Café. If you love watching dancers dressed as animals, you can check out a full-length video of the ballet below.


Ballet Memphis

March 2–4, Ballet Memphis is presenting four works created for the company in 2015 titled I Am a Child, I Am a Woman, I Am a Man and I Am—in honor of MLK50, a city-wide series of events organized by the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. You can watch the choreographersJulia Adams, Reggie Wilson, Gabrielle Lamb and Steven McMahondiscuss their works in the below video.


Texas Ballet Theater

March 2–4, Texas Ballet Theater will present two very different works at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas: TBT company member Carl Coomer's fiery saga Henry VIII is juxtaposed with Alexei Ratmansky's impressionistic Seven Sonatas. Catch a glimpse behind the scenes of Coomer's creative process in the following video.


Indianapolis Ballet

The brand-new Indianapolis-based company will present "New Works" Showcase March 2–11 at the IndyFringe's Basile Theatre. While exact programming has yet to be announced, the company promises an eclectic mix of dance highlighting choreography by members of the company and its artistic team. Here's a video roundup of the company's debut performances last week.

Ballet Stars
Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC

It's hard to imagine the National Ballet of Canada without ballerina Greta Hodgkinson. Yet this week NBoC announced that the longtime company star will take her final bow in March, as Marguerite in Sir Frederick Ashton's Marguerite and Armand.

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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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News
Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

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Viral Videos

What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.

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