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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.

Larke Johnson in rehearsal. Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet

Marie and Franz have a new guest at their Christmas Eve party this year. Emma Lookatch and Larke Johnson, both dancers in the Adaptive Dance Program at Joffrey Academy of Dance: Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, are alternating in the new role of Worker Girl. It is a permanent part created specifically for students with disabilities in Christopher Wheeldon's version of The Nutcracker at The Joffrey Ballet.

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Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

When you're looking for a ballet program to take you to the next level, there are a lot of factors to consider. While it's tempting to look for the biggest name that will accept you, the savvy dancer knows that successful training has more to do with the attention and opportunities you'll get.

We put together a few of the most important things for dancers to look for in a summer or year-round training program, with the help of the experts at Colorado Ballet Academy:

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Ballet Training
Ballet Austin Academy students practice priouette en dehors. Annie Marie Bloodgood, Courtesy Ballet Austin.

Michelle Martin, associate artistic director of Ballet Austin, says that pirouettes en dehors from fourth position allongé are full of "traps" for dancers. Whether you trained with a straight back leg or have never tried it before, Martin's analytical breakdown will help you master this basic but dazzling turn.

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Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy US Prix de Ballet

The US Prix de Ballet is taking an unconventional approach to the ballet competition—by putting the competitors' health first. After a successful first year in 2018, the Prix is returning to San Diego, CA this February with an even more comprehensive lineup of wellness workshops and master classes, in addition, of course, to the high-level competition.

Though the talent is top-notch, the environment is friendly, says HARID Conservatory faculty member Victoria Schneider, who serves on US Prix de Ballet's elite panel of judges. "The wellbeing of the dancer is the main focus," says Schneider, who awarded three scholarships to HARID at last year's competition.

US Prix de Ballet was born after its founders traveled to the Japan Grand Prix International Ballet Competition in 2016. "The company ran every aspect of the competition with professionalism, dignity, honor and precision," says founder Neisha Hernandez. "We knew we wanted this level of experience for America."

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