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Onstage This Week: ABT's "Whipped Cream" Returns, The Joyce Ballet Festival Continues, and More!

Barak Ballet will perform E/SPACE at Joyce Ballet Festival this weekend. Photo David Friedman, Courtesy of Joyce Theater.

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


ABT Wraps Up Its Met Season with Whipped Cream

American Ballet Theatre's eight-week summer season at the Metropolitan Opera House, will wrap up this Saturday. From July 2-7, the company will perform Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream. This candy-coated surrealist ballet features wacky, intricate sets and costumes from Mark Ryden and tells the story of a boy in a Viennese pastry shop who overindulges and falls into a state of wild intoxication that takes him on a journey reminiscent of Act II of The Nutcracker. For a behind-the-scenes look, check out these backstage photos from the 2017 premiere. During the run, Arron Scott will make his debut as The Boy, and Gabe Stone Shayer will make his New York debut in the same role. Thomas Forster and Calvin Royal III will perform as Prince Coffee for the first time in New York.




Joyce Ballet Festival Enters Its Second Week

The Joyce Theater is entering the second week of its ballet festival with performances from Ashley Bouder Project and Barak Ballet. Read more about this week's performances below.


Ashley Bouder Project Features Women Composers

Founded as a project for summer off-time by a New York City Ballet principal dancer, Ashley Bouder Project will return to the Joyce Ballet Festival July 2-5 with a program that spotlights the work of female composers and includes two world premieres. The first is a solo for Bouder choreographed by fellow NYCB principal Lauren Lovette. Broadway Dance Lab artist-in-residence Abdul Latif will also debut a ballet. To complete the night, ABP is reviving In Pursuit of..., an ensemble piece from 2017 choreographed by Bouder. Performed by a cast composed primarily of Bouder's fellow NYCB dancers, the ballet uses music by Miho Hazama and will be performed live by the New York Jazzharmonic.


Barak Ballet Makes Its Joyce Theater Debut

Santa Monica, CA-based Barak Ballet will perform at the Joyce Ballet Festival July 6-7, marking its first-ever time performing in New York. Barak Ballet includes dancers from all over the country, such as Jorge Villarini, formerly from Dance Theatre of Harlem, Lauren Fadeley, a principal soloist at Miami City Ballet, and Sadie Black, who has danced at Los Angeles Ballet. The program will feature E/SPACE, a collaboration among company artistic director and choreographer Melissa Barak, visual artist Refik Anadol and composer David Lawrence that the Los Angeles Times described as "like a living kaleidoscope." This ballet is accompanied by Barak's Cypher, and Desert Transport by Nicolas Blanc, a ballet master at Joffrey Ballet. Barak spent nearly a decade dancing for New York City Ballet and choreographed for the School of American Ballet and then the company for the following season at age 22. Check out an excerpt from E/SPACE in the video below.


National Ballet of Canada Performs an All-Canadian Program at Hamburg Ballet Days Festival

In its first appearance in Hamburg, Germany since 1994, the National Ballet of Canada will perform a three-ballet program July 3-4 at the 44th Hamburg Ballet Days Festival. The program, which is entirely composed of works by Canadian choreographers, features The Man in Black by James Kudelka, set to the music of Johnny Cash; Robert Binet's The Dreamers Ever Leave You, a ballet inspired by the paintings of Lawren Harris; and Emergence by Crystal Pite, which explores the dynamics of human interaction. Watch a trailer for The Man in Black below.


Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Begins Its Summer Season

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is kicking off its Aspen summer season on July 7 with one night of contemporary ballet works, including a world premiere from choreographer Bryan Arias (his first collaboration with ASFB). The night will also feature Tuplet by Alexander Ekman, which explores the rhythms of jazz and the human body, and Sleepless by Jiří Kylián, which plays with ideas about the conscious and subconscious. Next week on July 14, ASFB will perform the same program in Santa Fe.

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Erin Baiano, Courtesy Vail Dance Festival

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

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Ballet Training
From left: Duncan McIlwaine and Joseph Markey rehearse a new work by Gemma Bond. Rachel Papo.

The members of ABT Studio Company straddle two worlds: student and professional. On a March afternoon, as the dancers rehearse for a work choreographed by ABT dancer Gemma Bond, they appear more the former: Clean academic leotards and tights reveal coltish legs. But as soon as they launch into the piece (which later had its New York City debut at The Joyce Theater), it's evident how close these dancers are to a professional rank. Their movements and expressiveness grow bolder with each entrance. Soon they're sliding to the ground in floorwork and swirling confidently in daring lifts. "This group is particularly brilliant to work with," says Bond. "Each dancer seems to have something interesting in the way that they move, which made the creation process a little more of a collaboration than some of my other works."

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Ballet Training
Karin Ellis-Wentz and Joffrey Ballet Academy of Dance student Elliana Teuscher. Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet.

"Hopping on pointe is a bit of a weird feeling," says Karin Ellis-Wentz, head of pre-professional programs at the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago. But, she adds, it's a skill advanced dancers need "because it's in so many variations." Here, she takes us through the techniques and exercises that help her students master this necessary trick.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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