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Onstage This Week: New "Anna Karenina" at the Joffrey, "Firebird" World Premiere at Ballet Arizona, and Much More!

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


Joffrey Ballet Presents a Brand New "Anna Karenina"

The Joffrey Ballet debuts Yuri Possokhov's Anna Karenina February 13–24. Based on Leo Tolstoy's seminal tale of passion and desire, this co-production with The Australian Ballet features original music by Possokhov's frequent collaborator, Ilya Demutsky.

Ballet Arizona's "The Firebird" Has Its World Premiere 

Ballet Arizona artistic director Ib Andersen's new Firebird, based on the Russian fairy tale and set to Igor Stravinsky's celebrated score, hits stages February 14–17. Billed as a cinematic experience, Andersen is also designing the costumes and sets. The program also includes August Bournonville's La Sylphide, staged by Andersen.

San Francisco Ballet's Season Continues With Two Mixed Rep Programs

San Francisco Ballet moves away from story ballets this week with two mixed repertoire programs. The first, Kaleidoscope, runs select dates February 13-23 and features George Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15, the SFB premiere of Benjamin Millepied's Appassionata and Justin Peck's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. In Space & Time, on from February 14-24, brings to the stage SFB artistic director Helgi Tomasson's The Fifth Season, Cathy Marston's Snowblind and Harald Landar's classic Etudes.

The Kennedy Center Celebrates the Lunar New Year With National Ballet of China

This week, National Ballet of China is back at The Kennedy Center February 13-16 with the full length ballet Raise the Red Lantern, which made its DC debut in 2005. Choreographed by Wang Xingpeng and Wang Yuanyuan, the ballet brings together Chinese opera, shadow puppet theater and more to tell a tragic story set in 1920s rural China.

Milwaukee Ballet's Choreographic Competition is Back

Genesis, Milwaukee Ballet's annual choreographic competition, returns February 14-17. The three choreographers chosen were given three weeks to work with the company on new works. This year's choreographers all hail from abroad: Cass Mortimer Eipper is from Australia, Aleix Mañé comes from Spain and Kenneth Tindall, of Scotland, rounds off the group.

Ballet Memphis Gives Audiences a Glimpse of Spring

Ballet Memphis' Spring Mix program running February 15-24 offers viewers "earth, water and sky through different eyes." This celebration of earthly elements includes three works: Steven McMahon's Flyaway, Julia Adam's Dew Point and a world premiere by Rafael Ferreras titled Heartwoods.

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa Takes Center Stage at Ballet Austin

Celebrate Valentine's weekend in style with Ballet Austin's Pieces of Passion: Four Dances by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, featuring some of this choreographic powerhouse's favorite works. Austin audiences can see Requim for a rose, A deux, Symbiotic Twin and Sombrerísimo February 15-17.

Festival Ballet Providence Presents Three Striking Ballets 

Festival Ballet Providence's program Mirrors: Three Striking Ballets is onstage this weekend, February 15-17. The program includes Viktor Plotnikov's Coma, George Balanchine's Serenade and Yury Yanowsky's Smoke & Mirrors.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Presents Mixed Rep in Aspen

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet takes the stage in its Aspen home on February 16 for a one-night-only program of fan favorites. The modern program features Alexander Ekman's Tuplet, Fernando Melo's Dream Play and Jorma Elo's 1st Flash.

8 Companies Celebrate Valentine's Day With Romantic Story Ballets

This weekend, 8 companies are celebrating Valentine's Day by bringing back some of ballet's most romantic story ballets.

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The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

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

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's October 16–27 run honors principal Herman Cornejo, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a pas de deux with his sister, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo.

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Ballet Careers
Gray Davis with wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary, after his graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Courtesy Trenary.

When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office.

Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist Cassandra Trenary, to many he's best known for saving the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The heroic effort earned him the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.

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