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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.

Ballet Training
Hortense Millet-Maurin (third from left) and her classmates perform August Bournonville's La Conservatoire. Svetlana Loboff, Courtesy POB.

As a little girl, Hortense Millet-Maurin fell in love with the wide spiral staircase that dominates the center of the Paris Opéra Ballet School. Today, as a focused 15-year-old POB student, she and her classmate Vincent Vivet navigate the school's spacious architecture on a daily basis. In a hallway strewn with foam rollers and tennis balls, their faces are laced with concentration as they prepare alongside their peers for afternoon ballet class. Color-coded uniforms reflect Vivet's and Millet-Maurin's third division; with only two advanced divisions remaining, they are increasingly close to realizing their professional aspirations: joining the Paris Opéra Ballet. Pointe spoke with these two young dancers to see what it's like studying inside the world's oldest ballet academy.

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Sponsored by Ballet Arizona
Tzu Chia Huang, Courtesy Ballet Arizona

These days, ballet dancers are asked to do more than they ever have—whether that's tackling versatile rep, taking on intense cross-training regimens or managing everything from their Instagram pages to their summer layoff gigs.

Without proper training, these demands can take a toll on both the mind and the body. But students can start preparing for them early—with the right summer intensive program.

The School of Ballet Arizona's summer intensive takes a well-rounded approach to training—not just focusing on technique and facility but nurturing overall dancer growth. "You cannot make a dancer just by screaming at them like they used to," says master ballet teacher Roberto Muñoz, who guests at the program every summer. "You have to take care of the person as well."

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Ballet Training
Emily Giacalone, modeled by Elizabeth Steele of The School at Steps.

If you're feeling wobbly in adagio or wish you could hold your piqué attitude a bit longer, there are ways to assess and improve your balance. Try these four exercises, recommended by Heather Southwick, Boston Ballet's director of physical therapy.

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Courtesy School of Pennsylvania Ballet

While many of us are deep in Nutcracker duties, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet director James Payne has been looking further ahead, finalizing preparations for the school's summer intensive programs. In January, he and his staff will embark on a 24-city audition tour to scour the country for the best young dancers, deciding whether or not to offer them a spot—maybe even a scholarship—in the school's rigorous 5-week intensive focused on high-caliber ballet instruction. Though he'll be evaluating aspirants, he urges that as a student, you should be equally selective in choosing programs that could galvanize your training—and possibly even your career.

We got Payne's advice on strategizing your summer intensive plan before the audition cycle kicks in:

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