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Onstage This Week: Cincinnati Ballet's Annual Kaplan New Works Series, New Chamber Ballet Opens 15th Anniversary Season, and More!

Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

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


Cincinnati Ballet Presents Six World Premieres as Part of Kaplan New Works Series

Cincinnati Ballet's annual Kaplan New Works Series starts the season off on an exciting foot. This year's program, running September 12–22, features six world premieres, including Heather Britt's When I Still Needed You, Andrea Schermoly's Swivet and San Francisco Ballet principal Sarah Van Patten's Skylight. The other three choreographers—Melissa Gelfin, Taylor Carrasco and David Morse—are all Cincinnati Ballet dancers, selected through the company's Choreographer's Workshop.

New Works by Ma Cong and Garrett Smith at Tulsa Ballet

September 12–22 Tulsa Ballet presents Creations in Studio K, a celebration of contemporary choreography. The program includes two world premieres: resident choreographer Ma Cong's Escaping the Weight of Darkness and Garrett Smith's Fading Figures. These works join the return of Val Caniparoli's Prawn-watching.

A New Collaboration by Zalman Raffael and Robert Weiss Takes the Stage at Carolina Ballet

Carolina Ballet opens its fall season with a program blending classic and new work. Running September 12–29, the company presents George Balanchine's "Rubies," founding artistic director Robert Weiss' Meditation from Thaïs and a world premiere by Weiss and artistic director Zalman Raffael set to music by San Francisco–based composer Shinji Eshima.

Louisville Ballet Brings Back "The Merry Widow"

Louisville Ballet brings back Ronald Hynd's The Merry Widow September 13–14. Hynd first created this version of the opulent ballet, to a score by Franz Léhar, for The Australian Ballet. Set in the glamour of early-20th-century Paris, The Merry Widow tells the story of the widow Hanna's relationship with the dashing Count Danilo.

New Chamber Ballet Opens Its 15th Anniversary Season with a World Premiere

New Chamber Ballet opens its 15th anniversary season at New York City Center's studios September 13–14 with a new full-length work by artistic director Miro Magloire. The ballet is set to four chamber pieces by contemporary German composer Wolfgang Rihm; Magloire's premiere coincides with a New York–based festival of Rihm's music, organized in collaboration with the German Consulate New York.

Kathryn Posin Explores the Life of Charles Darwin in New Work

September 13–14, the Kathryn Posin Dance Company presents three new works by Kathryn Posin at New York's 92nd Street Y as part of the Dig Dance Series. The first, Evolution: The Letters of Charles Darwin, is a spoken word ballet based on the life and letters of the famous scientist. Also on the program are Triple Sextet, set to Steve Reich's Double Sextet, and Memoir, a solo to Bach.

Ballet Careers
Sisters Isabella Shaker and Alexandra Pullen. Photo Courtesy Alexandra Pullen.

This is the second in a series of articles this month about ballet siblings.

My mom was in the corps de ballet at American Ballet Theatre. A generation later, so was I. As if that's not enough for one family, my younger sister Isabella Shaker dreams of following in our dancing footsteps. Her endeavor, and her status as somewhat of a child prodigy, stirs feelings of pride and apprehension within me, since I have lived through the ups and downs of this intense yet rewarding career.

Ballet will always be my first love and the thing that brings me the most joy, and my dance career has opened endless opportunities for me. However, it's a difficult career path that requires a lifelong dedication. It's super competitive and can lead to body image issues, physical injury and stress. Most dancers will face some of these problems; I definitely dealt with all three.

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Ballet Stars
Photo by Gabriel Davalos, Courtesy Valdés

For decades the name Alicia Alonso has been virtually synonymous with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the company she co-founded in Havana in 1948. Alonso died on October 17, just shy of what would have been her 99th birthday. In recent years, she had stepped back from day-to-day decision-making in the company. As if preparing for the future, in January, the company's leading ballerina, 42-year-old Viengsay Valdés, was named deputy director, a job that seems to encompass most of the responsibilities of a traditional director. Now, presumably, she will step into her new role as director of the company. Her debut as curator of the repertory comes in November, when the troupe will perform three mixed bills selected by her at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso. The following has been translated from a conversation conducted in Spanish, Valdés' native tongue.

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Ballet Stars
Photo by Jayme Thornton

It's National Bullying Prevention Month—and Houston Ballet breakout star Harper Watters is exactly the advocate young dancers facing bullying need. Watters is no novice when it comes to slaying on social media, but his Bullying Prevention Month collaboration with Teen Vogue and Instagram is him at his most raw, speaking about his own experiences with bullies, and how his love of dance helped him to overcome adversity. Watters even penned an incredible op-ed for Teen Vogue's website, where he talks candidly about growing up queer. Catch his amazing anti-bullying video here—and, as Watters says, "Stay fabulous, stay flawless, stay flexible, but most importantly, stay fearless."

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News
Alicia Alonso with Igor Youskevitch. Sedge Leblang, Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives.

Her Dying Swan was as fragile as her Juliet was rebellious; her Odile, scheming, her Swanilda, insouciant. Her Belle was joyous, and her Carmen, both brooding and full-blooded. But there was one role in particular that prompted dance critic Arnold Haskell to ask, "How do you interpret Giselle when you are Giselle?"

At eight, Alicia Alonso took her first ballet class on a stage in her native Cuba, wearing street clothes. Fifteen years later, put in for an ailing Alicia Markova in a performance of Giselle with Ballet Theatre, she staked her claim to that title role.

Alonso received recognition throughout the world for her flawless technique and her ability to become one with the characters she danced, even after she became nearly blind. After a career in New York, she and her then husband Fernando Alonso established the Cuban National Ballet and the Cuban National Ballet School, both of which grew into major international dance powerhouses and beloved institutions in their home country. On October 17, the company announced that, after leading the company for a remarkable 71 years, Alonso died from cardiovascular disease at the age of 98.

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