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Onstage This Week: NYC's Fall For Dance Festival Opens, Royal Winnipeg Ballet Celebrates 80th Season with New "La Bayadère," and More!

Yi Yin, Courtesy Oregon Ballet Theatre

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


Premieres and Cross-Genre Collabs at Fall for Dance Festival

The annual Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center kicks off on October 1. Now in its 16th year, the two-week fest will bring together 20 companies from every corner of the globe over 10 performances—and for only $15 a ticket. The first week's line-up includes three jam-packed, stylistically diverse programs. The opening bill (October 1-2) features a Kyle Abraham commission for Misty Copeland and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in Crystal Pite's A Picture of You Falling, along with premieres by Caleb Teicher and Company and South African troupe Vuyani Dance Theatre. In program 2 (October 3-4), The Washington Ballet presents Dana Genshaft's Shadow Lands, sharing the bill with Mark Morris Dance Group, all-male Argentinian troupe Malevo and French hip-hop company Dyptik. Program 3 (October 5-6) rounds out the week, with The Mariinsky Ballet in Alexander Sergeev's At the Wrong Time and English National Ballet in Akram Khan's Dust Duet alongside Skånes Dansteater and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

A New "​La Bayadère​" Starts the Season at Royal Winnipeg Ballet

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet opens its 80th anniversary season October 2-6 with the Canadian premiere of Greg Horsman's La Bayadère at the Centennial Concert Hall. In this production, co-produced by RWB, Queensland Ballet and West Australian Ballet, Horsman seeks more authentic representation of 19th-century India, incorporating British colonial influences and elements of Indian classical dance. Listen to Horsman discuss his inspirations for this recreation in the video above.

Oregon Ballet Theatre Season Opener “ROAR(S)” with Excitement

Oregon Ballet Theatre starts its 30th anniversary season with ROAR(S), an ambitious mixed bill that pays homage to the company's history and vision for the future. On the program is Forsythe's In the middle, somewhat elevated, Balanchine's Stravinsky Violin Concerto and former OBT associate director and resident choreographer Dennis Spaight's Scheherazade. Above, watch OBT dancers rehearse with Forsythe repetiteur Agnès Noltenius. ROAR(S) opens at the Keller Auditorium in Portland October 5-6.

Ballet X Brings "The Little Prince" to The Joyce

The Philidelphia-based contemporary ballet company Ballet X returns to The Joyce Theater this week with the New York premiere of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's The Little Prince. Ochoa, winner of the 2019 Jacob's Pillow Choreography Award, reimagined Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic novella as a whimsical, abstract evening-length ballet. Just like the story, the ballet resonates with audiences of all ages. The Little Prince runs October 1-6.

Colorado Ballet Takes the Stage in "Don Quixote"

Colorado Ballet begins a run of Don Quixote this weekend with performances October 4-13 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver. The company last performed Don Q ten years ago and is bringing the ballet back to start off this year's athleticism-inspired season. Catch a peek at principals Dana Benton and Francisco Estevez rehearsing in the video above!

"Blue Suede Shoes" Arrives at Alabama Ballet

Alabama Ballet is bringing Dennis Nahat's jazzy Blue Suede Shoes to the stage in Birmingham at the BJCC Concert Hall October 4-6. The ballet, which premiered in 1996 and is set to a score of original Elvis Presley recordings, follows three friends through life changes and cultural shifts from the '50s through the '70s. The production is complete with sets and over 200 costumes by the Emmy-award winning designer Bob Mackie. Check out one of the ballet's stylized swing sequences in this rehearsal video.

American Repertory Ballet’s "Beauty and the Beast" Heads to Philly

American Repertory Ballet tours to Philadelphia on October 5 with resident choreographer Kirk Peterson's Beauty and the Beast. The company premiered this original story ballet set to a Tchaikovsky score in May, and now Philly audiences can see Beauty at Drexel's Mandell Theater this Saturday. Above, former artistic director Douglas Martin discusses the ballet's inception.

Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

When you're looking for a ballet program to take you to the next level, there are a lot of factors to consider. While it's tempting to look for the biggest name that will accept you, the savvy dancer knows that successful training has more to do with the attention and opportunities you'll get.

We put together a few of the most important things for dancers to look for in a summer or year-round training program, with the help of the experts at Colorado Ballet Academy:

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Everything Nutcracker
Pennsylvania Ballet demi-soloist Thays Golz as the Sugar Plum Fairy during a stage rehearsal for George Balanchine's Nutcracker. All photography by Arian Molina Soca.

For many professional ballet dancers, Nutcracker means weeks of performances. That usually translates to multiple casts—and important breakout opportunities for those in the junior ranks. On the afternoon of December 13, Pennsylvania Ballet demi-soloist Thays Golz made her debut as the Sugar Plum Fairy along with her Cavalier, corps member Austin Eylar. For the Brazilian-born dancer, who joined PAB in 2018 after two seasons at Houston Ballet, Sugar Plum marks one of her first principal roles.

"I'm really excited," says Golz. PAB artistic director Angel Corella appointed 12 casts of Sugar Plum Fairies over the run's 29 performances. "When I first found out, I was like, 'Pinch me!' I still can't believe it."

We caught up with Golz just before her debut to see how she prepared for her big break.

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Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy US Prix de Ballet

The US Prix de Ballet is taking an unconventional approach to the ballet competition—by putting the competitors' health first. After a successful first year in 2018, the Prix is returning to San Diego, CA this February with an even more comprehensive lineup of wellness workshops and master classes, in addition, of course, to the high-level competition.

Though the talent is top-notch, the environment is friendly, says HARID Conservatory faculty member Victoria Schneider, who serves on US Prix de Ballet's elite panel of judges. "The wellbeing of the dancer is the main focus," says Schneider, who awarded three scholarships to HARID at last year's competition.

US Prix de Ballet was born after its founders traveled to the Japan Grand Prix International Ballet Competition in 2016. "The company ran every aspect of the competition with professionalism, dignity, honor and precision," says founder Neisha Hernandez. "We knew we wanted this level of experience for America."

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