San Francisco Ballet is bringing six works from their Unbound: A Festival of New Works to The Kennedy Center this week. Here, dancers are pictured in Christopher Wheeldon's Bound To. Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy The Kennedy Center.

Onstage This Week: Houston Ballet Tours to Dubai, San Francisco Ballet at the Kennedy Center, World Premieres in Memphis and More!

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


Houston Ballet Tours to Dubai 

This week Houston Ballet heads a little farther afield than usual. October 24-27 the company tours to Dubai, making them the first American ballet company to perform at the Dubai Opera House. The company is bringing a classic to the Middle Eastern city: artistic director Stanton Welch's Swan Lake. Catch principals Yuriko Kajiya and Chun Wai Chan in this clip from the Black Swan Pas De Deux.

Jerome Robbins' Experimental Full-Length Ballet Returns to the Stage 

Jerome Robbins' centennial year has included performances of some of the famed choreographer's most seminal works at companies around the world. October 24-27, the Brooklyn Academy of Music digs deeper into Robbins' oeuvre by presenting Watermill, a full-length experimental ballet inspired by Japanese Noh theater that hasn't been staged in nearly half a century. Watermill stars former New York City Ballet principal Joaquin De Luz, who retired from the company just two weeks ago.

San Francisco Ballet Brings 6 East Coast Premieres to the Kennedy Center 

Last spring, San Francisco Ballet wowed Bay Area audiences with Unbound: A Festival of New Works. Now SFB is bringing six of the festival's ballets to The Kennedy Center October 23-28, marking their East Coast premieres. Program A includes ballets by Trey McIntyre, Christopher Wheeldon and David Dawson, and Program B features pieces by Edwaard Liang, Cathy Marston and Justin Peck.

Ballet Memphis Collaborates with Local Musicians to Present 2 World Premieres

October 26-November 4 marks Ballet Memphis' inaugural Memphis Project, a brand new collaboration between the company and local musicians that honors the city's musical legacy. This program includes Trey McIntyre's reworked Memphis Suite to a score by a variety of artists, as well as two premieres: former Alvin Ailey dancer Alia Kache's new work to an original score by Julien Baker, and associate artistic director Steven McMahon's new collaboration with the record label Unapologetic.

Sarasota Ballet Presents the Company Premiere of Martha Graham's ​"Appalachian Spring​"

Sarasota Ballet opens their 2019 season October 26-28 with a diverse triple bill. The program features the company premiere of Martha Graham's iconic 1944 collaboration with composer Aaron Copland, Appalachian Spring. Also on deck are Ricardo Graziano's Symphony of Sorrows and Galina Samsova's production of Paquita. Be transported into dance history with this early clip of the Martha Graham Dance Company performing Appalachian Spring, which stars Graham herself as The Bride.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Bids Farewell to Principal Julia Erickson with All Mozart Program

Longtime Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal Julia Erickson retires from PBT this weekend during the company's Mozart in Motion program October 26-28. The program features three works spanning past to present, all to Mozart: George Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15 and Jiří Kylián's Sechs Tänze and Petite Mort. In the above video, Erickson discusses why these works are meaningful to her.

BalletMet Presents Short Ballets by Three New York-Based Choreographers

BalletMet's Lineage: A Collection of Short Ballets program runs October 26-November 3 and features three short works by New York choreographers originally created for New York City Ballet: George Balanchine's Square Dance, Christopher Wheeldon's romantic After the Rain pas de deux and Justin Peck's In Creases. Above, artistic director Edwaard Liang discusses After the Rain.

Story Ballets Galore! 

Beasts, fairies, pirates... Halloween seems like the perfect time of the year for story ballets. This week, four companies bring back beloved classics. On the spookier side of things is Nevada Ballet Theatre's production of Ben Stevenson's Dracula, running October 25-28. Click through for more!

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James Barkley, Courtesy Dance for Change

Take Class From Celebrated Black Dancers and Raise Money for the NAACP Through Dance for Change

Since the nationwide fight against racial inequality took center stage in May, organizations across the dance world have been looking for meaningful ways to show their support, rather than fall back on empty social media signifiers. July 10-11, Diamante Ballet Dancewear is taking action with Dance for Change, a two-day event dedicated to fundraising for the NAACP, and amplifying the voices of Black professional dancers.

Organized by Diamante Ballet Dancewear's founder, Nashville Ballet 2 dancer Isichel Perez, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre teacher Elise Gillum, Dance for Change makes it easy to participate. Dancers need only to make a donation to the NAACP (in any amount) and email proof to diamante.ballet@gmail.com to be given online access to a full schedule of Zoom master classes taught by Black pros artists. Teachers include Ballet Memphis' George Sanders, Boston Ballet's Daniel Durrett, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Corey Bourbonniere, and more. "It's important that we amplify BIPOC voices during this time, and it's also important that we're conscious of where we're putting our dollars," says Bourbonniere. "Diamante is doing both with Dance for Change, and I'm honored to be in this talented group of melanated dancers."

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Vikki Sloviter

Sydney Dolan Takes Center Stage at Pennsylvania Ballet

This is Pointe's Summer 2020 cover story. You can subscribe to the magazine here, or click here to purchase this issue.

Just days before the world shuttered under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic, and the curtain came down indefinitely on dance companies everywhere, Pennsylvania Ballet soloist Sydney Dolan debuted Gamzatti in La Bayadère with captivating ease. Her jumps soared, her technique was sound, and her cheeky smile paired with exquisite port de bras was beguiling. Though she didn't know the company would soon cancel the remainder of its season, her beautiful performance acted as a kind of send-off into the unknown.

Dolan's career could be described in one word: charmed. At just 19 years old, she's flown through the ranks at PAB, debuted a long list of roles, won a Princess Grace Award and been named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch." Yet it's her challenges that have shaped not only her training but her outlook, giving her a solid foundation for becoming one of Pennsylvania Ballet's rising stars.

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Courtesy de Roos

SAB Student Founds Dancewear Nonprofit to Help Others in Need

When School of American Ballet student Alexandra de Roos was 8 years old, she placed a collection box at her dance studio for others to donate their gently used dancewear. De Roos, now 17, has since turned that single collection box into a nonprofit organization that aims to minimize economic barriers in the performing arts with free dancewear and classes.

De Roos' organization, Peace Love Leotards, has collected about $2,600 of new and gently-used dancewear and $2,000 in grants and donations since formally launching in April. Dancers or studio owners can request items through a form on the organization's website.

"I knew that dancewear was really expensive and that a lot of students might not be able to do the thing that they love because it's cost-prohibitive," de Roos said. "I really wanted to create something to allow people to have the same experience of the love and joy of dance that I've been so grateful to have."

After SAB shifted its winter term online amid the COVID-19 pandemic, de Roos decided to expand Peace Love Leotards. She reached out to dance companies, resulting in partnerships with brands including Jo+Jax, Lone Reed Designs, RubiaWear and Wear Moi.

"To have them be like 'We want to help you with this and we love this idea and what you're doing is amazing,' that was really exciting to me," she said. "It was very heartwarming."

Jordan Reed, the creator of custom dancewear brand Lone Reed Designs, said she has donated seven items to Peace Love Leotards with plans to donate more consistently every quarter. Custom leotards often retail at higher prices, but Reed, a former Houston Ballet corps member, said the one-of-a-kind clothing offers an "extra bit of confidence, which can go more than a long way in a dancer's journey of training."

Paul Plesh, a sales director for Wear Moi in the United States and Canada, said the company donated 11 leotards after finding Peace Love Leotards' mission to be "commendable." Joey Dowling-Fakhrieh, the founder and creative director of Jo+Jax, said dancewear "can make a significant impact on a student's confidence, as well as how much they enjoy the process of learning dance."

De Roos has worked to expand Peace Love Leotards, Inc. rapidly in the past few months, but she first created the organization at eight years old after participating in a mentorship program with competitors in the Miss Florida and Miss Florida's Outstanding Teen pageants. The pageants, which are part of the Miss America Organization, require competitors to have personal platforms they advocate for as titleholders. As a competition dancer, de Roos instantly thought about the cost barriers to dance when wondering what her own future platform would be.

De Roos said she and her young classmates often outgrew nearly brand-new dancewear, so she approached her studio's owner about placing a collection box at the studio.

Barbara Mizell, who owns Barbara's Centré for Dance in Florida, said she was unsurprised by de Roos' proposal. De Roos always had "such a way of pushing herself and she never forgot those around her," Mizell said. As the box filled up, she distributed the dancewear to others at the studio, local schools with dance programs, and the local YMCA.

"When they could start to see that it was providing happiness for others, then it was almost like the kids couldn't wait to donate," Mizell said.

Nearly a decade after the Miss Florida organization inspired her to launch Peace Love Leotards, de Roos is now a titleholder herself, as Miss Gainesville's Outstanding Teen 2020. Her new mission for Peace Love Leotards is applying for grants, and she has already received a $1,000 grant from the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund that will be used to fund a Title 1 school class.

"The whole organization behind Peace Love Leotards is the dancers," de Roos said. "Being able to help the dancers that are in need and being able to think about the dancewear that they're going to be receiving or have received has been truly amazing."

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