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Onstage This Week: Boston Ballet Debuts in Paris, DTH's New York 50th Anniversary Season, and More!

DTH's Da'Von Doane and Ingrid Silva. Rachel Neville, Courtesy New York City Center.

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


Boston Ballet Tours to Paris for the First Time

April 9-11, Boston Ballet makes its Parisian debut at the historic Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. The company is bringing three contemporary works: The European premiere of William Forsythe's latest work, Playlist (EP), along with his Pas/Parts 2018 and Jiří Kylián's Wings of Wax. "Our debut in Paris is a major milestone for Boston Ballet," says artistic director Mikko Nissinen in a statement. "We are thrilled to showcase our company's artistry and versatility."

Happy Birthday, DTH!

Dance Theatre of Harlem celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The company's annual New York City Center season, running April 10-13, is dedicated to co-founder Arthur Mitchell, who passed away last year. It features a number of his ballets, including a reimagining of Tones II, and works by many choreographers, like George Balanchine, Robert Garland, Geoffrey Holder, John Taras and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa.

Grand Rapids Ballet's Mixed Bill Features Alejandro Cerrudo Favorite

Grand Rapids Ballet's Extremely Close program, running April 12-14, features three contemporary works: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo's Extremely Close, Val Caniparoli's Ibsen's House and a world premiere by artistic director James Sofranko titled The Sweet By and By. Above, hear Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Meredith Dincolo discuss the process of setting Cerrudo's work on the company.

Oregon Ballet Theatre Principal Chauncey Parsons Retires From the Stage During Director's Choice Program

Oregon Ballet Theatre's upcoming program, running April 11-14, showcases artistic director Kevin Irving's approach to 21st century American ballet. The list of works include Nicolo Fonte's Presto and Giants Before Us, Gioconda Barbuto's BringingOutsideIn, Nacho Duato's Jardí Tancat and the OBT premiere of Darrell Grand Moultrie's Love, an excerpt from his work Vital Sensations. Director's Choice also marks OBT principal Chauncey Parsons' final bow with the company. Parsons joined OBT as a soloist in 2008, though he's been dancing professionally since 2002; hear him discuss his career above.

Carolina Ballet Pays Homage to Claude Monet's Paintings

April 11-14, Carolina Ballet brings back Monet Impressions, a two part production celebrating French painter Claude Monet's life and work. It opens with Lynne Taylor-Corbett's Picnic on the Grass, a story ballet based on Monet's life, and closes with artistic director Robert Weiss' The Gardens of Giverny, an impressionistic take on Monet's garden paintings. The ballets are set to music by Monet's compatriots: Chausson, Debussy and Poulenc.

Atlanta Ballet Takes the Stage at the New Sandy Spring Performing Arts Center

This weekend, Atlanta Ballet takes part in the inaugural season of performances at the Sandy Spring Performing Arts Center in Sandy Springs, GA. The company is bringing a diverse mix of work, including Jiří Kylián's Return to a Strange Land and Ricardo Amarante's The Premiere, as well as a selection of divertissements by George Balanchine, Marius Petipa and Craig Davidson. Catch Atlanta Ballet April 12-13.

Dances Patrelle Revives "Madame X" Featuring NYCB Guests

Francis Patrelle's troupe presents its spring season at New York Live Arts April 12-14. The program includes three works by Patrelle himself: His 1999 John Singer Sargent-inspired Madame X featuring New York City Ballet principals Abi Stafford and Ask la Cour, American Overture set to Leonard Bernstein and performed by Twyla Tharp Dance's Reed Tankersley, and the world premiere of The American Dream: It's Only Business.

3 Springtime Story Ballets

This week, three companies bring back classic story ballets.

  • Edwaard Liang's Cinderella returns to BalletMet April 12-14 (catch a glimpse above)
  • April 12-14, Ballet Memphis presents Marius Petipa's Giselle
  • Pacific Northwest Ballet brings George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream to the stage April 12-21

Summer Intensive Survival
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There's a sweet spot toward the end of August—after summer intensives have wrapped up and before it's time to head back to school or work—where the days are long, lazy and begging to be spent neck-deep in a pile of good books. Whether you're looking for inspiration for the upcoming season or trying to brush up on your dance history, you can never go wrong with an excellent book on ballet. We've gathered eight titles (all available at common booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble) guaranteed to give you a deeper understanding of the art form, to add to your end-of-summer reading list.

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James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico warm up onstage. Angela Sterling, Courtesy SDC.

On a sunny July weekend, hundreds of Seattle-area dance fans converged on tiny Vashon Island, a bucolic enclave in Puget Sound about 20 miles from the city. They made the ferry trek to attend the debut performance of the fledgling Seattle Dance Collective.

SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.

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Roman Mejia in Robbins' Dances at a Gathering. Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB.

The Princess Grace Foundation has just announced its 2019 class, and we're thrilled that two ballet dancers—New York City Ballet's Roman Mejia and BalletX's Stanley Glover—are included among the list of über-talented actors, filmmakers, playwrights, dancers and choreographers.

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The Royal Ballet's Alexander Campbell and Yasmine Naghdi in Ashton's The Two Pigeons. Tristram Kenton, Courtesy ROH.

While most ballet casts are 100 percent human, it's not unheard of for live animals to appear onstage, providing everything from stage dressing to supporting roles. Michael Messerer's production of Don Quixote features a horse and a donkey; American Ballet Theatre's Giselle calls for two Russian wolfhounds; and Sir Frederick Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee requires a white Shetland pony. Another Ashton masterpiece, The Two Pigeons, is well known for its animal actors. But though ballet is a highly disciplined, carefully choreographed art form, some performers are naturally more prone to flights of fancy—because they're birds.

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