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

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.

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 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.

The Conversation
Summer Intensive Survival
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It is easy to feel as though the entire ballet year revolves around summer: more hours in the day for dance, and another summer intensive to add to your resumé. You've likely dreamt about which program you want to attend, traveled to auditions and gotten excited about the new challenges in a big city school. But what if you find yourself staying home?

It can feel heartbreaking to watch your peers take off for their intensives. Whether you're staying home by choice or because of injury or finances, you can still improve and have fun at your local studio. Unlike those headed off to big intensives, you have flexibility and money on your side. Jody Skye Schissler, owner of Skye Ballet Center in Herndon, Virginia, encourages dancers to start by asking, "How can you make your summer more focused on yourself and what you need for your future?" Here are tips for making the most of your time at home.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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Ballet Stars
Royal Ballet principal Steven McRae with his kids. Via Instagram.

With Father's Day just around the corner, we wanted to take a minute to acknowledge some of the dancer dads out there who are doing double duty at home and onstage. So in between feting the father figures in your life this weekend (and thanking them for sitting through countless hours of dance recitals throughout the course of your lives), check out these eight ballet dads below.

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Ballet Stars
Antonio Carmena (right) coaches a Barnard College student. Photo by Marcus Salazar, courtesy Carmena.

Some ballet dancers, the lucky ones at least, get to enjoy long, successful careers. Yet their dancing schedule usually allows little time for anything else. At New York City Ballet, for instance, most dancers don't have secondary jobs on the side, although layoffs between seasons provide short opportunities to flex new muscles, like teaching. But performance careers inevitably come to an end, and dancers must then "become" something else.

When former NYCB soloist Antonio Carmena retired from the company in 2017, he realized he wasn't quite prepared for the next step. His retirement uncovered an insecurity buried deep within him—that without dance, he wasn't "good" at anything anymore. It's taken two years for Carmena to develop more work experience as he searches for a new place for himself in the dance world. And while he admits it's an ongoing journey, the pieces are finally starting to come together.

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