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Onstage This Week: James Whiteside Stars in "The Tenant," The Mikhailovsky Returns to California, World Premieres and More!

Artists of Pennsylvania Ballet in Jiří Kylián's Petite Mort. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy PAB.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? In addition to the seven performances listed below, John Neumeier's Anna Karenina makes its North American premiere at National Ballet of Canada November 10-18, and Hungarian National Ballet makes its U.S. debut with three performances at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater November 7-11.


James Whiteside Stars in New Dance Play by Arthur Pita

American Ballet Theatre principal James Whiteside stars in The Tenant, a new dance play choreographed by Arthur Pita running at New York's Joyce Theater November 6-11. Also featuring dancer and model Kibrea Carmichael and ABT soloist (and former Pointe cover star) Cassandra Trenary, The Tenant is based on a novel by the same name by French surrealist writer Roland Topor.

Pennsylvania Ballet's Mixed Rep Program Highlights Two World Premieres

Pennsylvania Ballet shows off its contemporary prowess November 8-11 with a mixed repertoire program featuring Jiří Kylián's Petite Mort alongside world premieres by Andrea Miller and Russell Ducker. Both choreographers will be creating work on PAB for the first time: Ducker is a member of PAB's corps de ballet, and Miller is the artistic director of the Brooklyn-based contemporary company Gallim Dance.

Ballet Idaho's Season Opener Includes a World Premiere by Lauren Edson

Ballet Idaho's first season under the leadership of Garrett Anderson opens with NewDance: Form and Concept, running November 8-11. The program features works by six dancemakers that utilize conceptual approaches to choreography. The program includes a world premiere by Boise's own Lauren Edson and works by Robyn Mineko Williams, Penny Saunders, Dana Genchaft and excerpts from pieces by Danielle Rowe and Craig Davidson.

Richmond Ballet Studio Series Opens With Jerome Robbins and a World Premiere

November 6-11, Richmond Ballet's 2018-19 studio series opens with Studio One. The program features Jerome Robbins' In the Night and a world premiere by Nicole Haskins titled Requiem. Haskins, a dancer with Smuin Ballet, last choreographed for RB in 2015 to great acclaim as part of the company's New Works Festival.

Indianapolis Ballet Adds Joshua Bergasse's "Aspects of Andy" To Its Repertoire

Indianapolis Ballet's New Works Showcase runs November 8-11, featuring acclaimed Broadway choreographer Joshua Bergasse's Aspects of Andy and Roberta Wong's new work to Indiana jazz saxophonist Rob Dixon's "Blues for Velez." Also on the program are artistic director Victoria Lyras' Caprice & Variations and Diana & Aceton Pas de Deux, as well as IB ballet master Paul Vitali's Take it from Tony.

St. Petersburg's Mikhailovsky Ballet Returns to California's Segerstrom Center 

St. Petersburg's Mikhailovsky Ballet and Orchestra make their way to the Costa Mesa, CA-based Segerstrom Center November 9-11 to present Don Quixote staged by artistic director Mikhail Messerer. Principals Ivan Vasiliev and Victor Lebedev will both have their turn in the lead role of Basilio, and Angelina Vorontsova and Anastasia Soboleva will dance the role of Kitri. According to the above trailer, a horse and a donkey might grace the Segerstrom stage too.

Tom Gold Dance Presents the New York Debut of "Apparatus Hominus" 

Former New York City Ballet soloist Tom Gold founded Tom Gold Dance in 2008. November 9-10, the company presents its inaugural fall season at Florence Gould Hall with the New York debut of Gold's Apparatus Hominus, which the company premiered last summer outdoors at a sculpture garden in the Berkshires. Gold's company includes a handful of accomplished freelance dancers as well as New York City Ballet's Mary Elizabeth Sell and American Ballet Theatre's Stephanie Williams.

Ballet Training
Kali Kleiman performing at YAGP's New York Finals. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.

As someone who has judged many ballet competitions, I've had the opportunity to see some breathtaking contemporary solos that combine fantastic technique with well-conceived choreography. Yet it's often hard for us judges to see the artistic intention behind these solos the way we can when watching a classical variation. For one thing, we're simply more familiar with classical ballet's repertoire and characters. But also, when a contemporary solo is just a string of one trick after another, or only delivers one emotion (such as overwrought angst), we don't get to see any artistic depth.

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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 Stars
Elle Macy in Benjamin Millepied's Appassionata. Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB.

Cross-training misconceptions: Before Elle Macy became an apprentice with Pacific Northwest Ballet, she was apprehensive about cross-training. "I was warned that it might bulk you, or not to do certain activities because they could potentially injure you." But a stress fracture in her foot changed her perspective. Unable to bear much weight, Macy reluctantly tried stationary biking at her physical therapist's suggestion. "What I learned is that you're not going to get injured from being on an elliptical for 20 minutes or by taking a Pilates class," says Macy. Today, it's not uncommon to find the soloist training on the elliptical, doing ankle stability exercises, using the Pilates reformer or taking a hot yoga class.

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Courtesy School of Pennsylvania Ballet

While many of us are deep in Nutcracker duties, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet director James Payne has been looking further ahead, finalizing preparations for the school's summer intensive programs. In January, he and his staff will embark on a 24-city audition tour to scour the country for the best young dancers, deciding whether or not to offer them a spot—maybe even a scholarship—in the school's rigorous 5-week intensive focused on high-caliber ballet instruction. Though he'll be evaluating aspirants, he urges that as a student, you should be equally selective in choosing programs that could galvanize your training—and possibly even your career.

We got Payne's advice on strategizing your summer intensive plan before the audition cycle kicks in:

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