Joffrey Ballet's April Daly, Yoshihisa Arai and Amanda Assucena in Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake. Assucena will make her debut in the role of Odette/Odile this week. Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey.

Onstage This Week: ABT Fall Season Opens, NBoC Tours to Russia for the First Time, and Much More!

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


ABT's Fall Season Opens With Two World Premieres 

After American Ballet Theatre's leisurely eight-week long summer run, their fall stint at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater goes by in a flash. Running October 17-28, the season puts an emphasis on female choreographers as part of the company's new Women's Movement. Week one includes two world premieres: one by tap extraordinaire Michelle Dorrance titled Dream within a Dream (deferred) and the other by Jessica Lang titled Garden Blue. Also on the program are works by Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Alexei Ratmansky and Lauren Lovette. We can't get enough of ABT's season trailer; watch it now!

National Ballet of Canada Tours to Russia for the First Time Ever 

This week National Ballet of Canada heads to Russia for the first time in its nearly 70-year history. They'll perform at the Stanislavsky Theatre in Moscow October 15-16 and at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg as part of Diana Vishneva's Context festival on October 19. NBoC is bringing three contemporary ballets on this historic tour: Justin Peck's Paz de la Jolla, Guillaume Côté's Being and Nothingness and Crystal Pite's Emergence. Catch a glimpse of the company in Paz de la Jolla in the above trailer.

Joffrey Ballet Brings Back Christopher Wheeldon's "Swan Lake"

October 17-28, Joffrey Ballet brings back an audience favorite: Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake. First performed by the company in 2014, Wheeldon's re-telling is a modern-day take on the storied classic set in the studios of the Paris Opéra Ballet. Above, hear former Pointe cover star Amanda Assucena discuss her debut as Odette/Odile.

Grand Rapids Ballet Presents First Show Under New Artistic Director James Sofranko

Grand Rapids Ballet's 2018-19 season opens October 19-21 with a program titled Wild Sweet Love. The first show under the direction of James Sofranko, Wild Sweet Love features three diverse works: George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante, Trey McIntyre's Wild Sweet Love and Penny Saunders' Ghost Light. Can't wait? On October 18, GRB is holding a gala performance which will include showings of the above works as well as a world premiere by Sofranko himself.

Karole Armitage Presents Two New Works at National Sawdust

Karole Armitage, known as the "punk ballerina," debuts two new works with her group Armitage Gone! Dance at the Brooklyn-based National Sawdust on October 20. Titled Art of the In-Between, the program features Día de los Muertos, which explores the Mexican holiday through humor. Also on the bill is Donkey Jaw Bone, based on the theatricality of the Latin American wrestling practice, Lucha Libre.

Nashville Ballet Celebrates Halloween With "Seven Deadly Sins" 

Nashville Ballet gets into the Halloween spirit October 18-20 with a program including two works: Resident choreographer Christopher Stuart's Seven Deadly Sins and Jennifer Archibald's Superstitions. Both ballets feature original scores by Nashville-based artists. Seven Deadly Sins is a collaboration with the singer-songwriter collective Ten Out of Tenn, who will play live with the company this week. Superstitions' score is by frequent dance composer Cristina Spinei.

Ballet Fantastique's Wild West Ballet "As You Like It" Returns

October 19-21, Eugene, Oregon-based dance theater company Ballet Fantastique brings back As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet. Choreographed by mother-daughter duo Donna and Hannah Bontrager, As You Like It takes Shakespeare's famous comedy and sets it in the Wild West with a live honkey-tonk saloon piano playing American hits. Catch a peek with the above rehearsal footage.

Ballet 5:8 Presents Reimagination of C.S. Lewis at Chicago's Athenaeum Theatre

The faith-based company Ballet 5:8 returns to Chicago's Athanaeum Theatre October 20-21 with a program featuring two works by artistic director Julianna Rubio Slager. The Space In Between, Slager's newest work, is inspired by C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce and explores the author's concept of hell. Also on the program is Slager's Four Seasons of the Soul, which connects nature's seasons to Slager's spiritual and religious life.

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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."

#TBT: Royal Ballet Principals in a Gala Tribute to Tchaikovsky (1993)

It's not often that you get to see eight principal dancers sharing a stage, but Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's centennial is a special circumstance. In a 1993 gala honoring the composer, former Royal Ballet principals Darcey Bussell and Zoltan Solymosi, Leanne Benjamin and Tetsuya Kumakawa, Lesley Collier and Irek Mukhamedov and Viviane Durante and Bruce Sansom performed alongside The Royal Opera Chorus in Madame Larina's ball scene from the opera Eugene Onegin.

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