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Onstage This Week: YAGP Finals, San Francisco Ballet's Festival of New Works, and More

YAGP 2018 New York Finals Week. Photo by VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.

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


Youth America Grand Prix

After months of semi-finals, the final round of YAGP 2018 is finally here! This week, 1,800 finalists from 30 countries (chosen from the over 10,000 who auditioned) are gathered in New York. On April 18, the competition culminates in the Final Round at the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, where the most promising participants will compete for scholarships and contracts with ballet schools and companies around the world. April 19 marks YAGP's Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow gala, featuring finalists from the competition alongside international ballet stars including Dutch National Ballet principal Sasha Mukhamedov, American Ballet Theatre's Isabella Boylston and Daniil Simkin, and New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht, among others. YAGP is live-streaming the finals all week—you can check it out on their website. Also, keep an eye on Pointe's social media channels tomorrow, April 17, for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the competition.

Competing in YAGP this week? Here's a good luck message from ABT's Stella Abrera.



SFB Presents 12 World Premieres in 17 Days

San Francisco Ballet's Unbound: A Festival of New Works is breaking boundaries this spring by presenting 12 world premieres by 12 major choreographers (David Dawson, Alonzo King, Edwaard Liang, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Cathy Marston, Trey McIntyre, Justin Peck, Arthur Pita, Dwight Rhoden, Myles Thatcher, Stanton Welch and Christopher Wheeldon) in just over two weeks. The festival will run April 20–May 6 at the War Memorial Opera House and include a two-day symposium on the ways that diversity and technology are shaping the future of ballet.


ABT Studio Company Performs in NYC

April 17-18, American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company will appear at Ailey Citigroup Theater in a mixed repertoire program including an excerpt from Johan Kobborg and former ABT principal Ethan Stiefel's Giselle, August Bournonville's William Tell pas de deux and Liam Scarlett's Untitled. Also on the program are new works by Marco Pelle and New York City Ballet's Lauren Lovette. Though the company frequently performs all over the country, we rarely get a chance to see them on their home turf. Here's company dancer Ingrid Thoms performing a sneak peek at New York City Center last week.


Smuin Ballet's Season Finale

From April 20-29, San Francisco-area audiences can see Smuin Ballet at the YBCA Theater in an exciting triple bill closing out their spring season. Works include the world premiere of Val Caniparoli's If I Were A Sushi Roll, Helen Pickett's Oasis and resident choreographer Amy Seiwert's Falling up. This will be Seiwert's final season as the company's choreographer in residence before she departs to become artistic director of Sacramento Ballet. Check out this interview with her on her time with Smuin Ballet here, and get a better sense of what's on the program with the fast-paced program trailer below.


Jose Mateo's Farewell Performances

The Boston-based choreographer Jose Mateo is stepping down as artistic director of the company he founded, Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre. His farewell performances run April 6-29 before the company finishes the season. (A new director has not been named yet.) Mateo has been a staple in the Boston dance world for many years, and this final program represents an exemplary range of his work since 1991. The program, titled Moving Violations, includes Mateo's Schubert Adagio (1991), House of Ballet (1993), Timeless Attractions (2010) and the world premiere of New Parts.

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Viral Videos
Bucharest National Ballet's 2013 trailer for "La Sylphide,' via YouTube

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Bucharest National Opera's La Sylphide

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Boston Ballet in Bournonville's "La Sylphide." Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

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


Wayne McGregor Makes His ABT Choreographic Debut

Ever since Vaslav Nijinsky shocked Paris audiences in 1913 with his Rite of Spring for the Ballets Russes, dancemakers from Sir Kenneth MacMillan to Pina Bausch have tried their hands at choreographing to Igor Stravinsky's infamous score. This spring, Wayne McGregor will be added to that list. The Royal Ballet resident choreographer's first work for American Ballet Theatre, titled AFTERITE, will premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City on May 21. Known for his grounded and experimental movement style, McGregor's work will feature video designs by innovative filmmaker Ravi Deepres and sets and costumes by designer Vicki Mortimer, both longtime collaborators. Alessandra Ferri, who has collaborated with McGregor in the past, will join ABT as a guest artist.

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The wait for Alexei Ratmansky's restaging of Petipa's Harlequinade is almost over! But if you can't wait until American Ballet Theatre officially debuts the ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House on June 6, we've got you covered. ABT brought the Harlequinade characters to life (and to the Alder Mansion in Yonkers, NY) in a short film by Ezra Hurwitz, and it's a guaranteed to make you laugh.

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Ballet Stars
DePrince soars in English National Ballet's "Giselle." Photo by Laurent Liotardo, Courtesy ENB.

As told to Amy Brandt.

Myrtha is a role I've always loved to watch, but when Tamara Rojo asked me to dance it for English National Ballet's Giselle last year as a guest artist, I thought she was crazy. The role is usually for a tall, strong dancer. I'm strong, but I'm also very petite. I thought people might criticize me for that. I also wore brown tights onstage, since I'm a brown dancer, and I was nervous people wouldn't understand that—but I got great comments on it.

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Josephine Lee on the road. Photo Courtesy Lee.

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