Boston Ballet's Kathleen Breen Combes, María Álvarez and Dawn Atkins. Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow.

Onstage This Week: Jacob's Pillow Wraps Up With Boston Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet's Garden Performance and More!

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


Jacob's Pillow's 2019 Fest Closes With Boston Ballet

We know that summer's coming to an end when the annual Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival wraps up. August 21-25, The Pillow closes its 2019 season with Boston Ballet. The company returns for the first time in over 10 years with a contemporary program including William Forsythe's Playlist (EP), Leonid Yakobson's Pas de Quatre and Rodin, and Jorma Elo's Bach Cello Suites.

Grand Rapids Ballet Brings Dance Outdoors

On August 20, Grand Rapids Ballet makes its debut performance at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park's Tuesday Evening Music Club, dancing under the summer sky. GRB will bring a mix of its best-loved contemporary and classical ballets; the program includes Trey McIntyre's Wild Sweet Love, Danielle Rowe's For Pixie, artistic director James Sofranko's Sweet By & By and more.

Kansas City Ballet Shares Dance With All 

Kansas City Ballet opens its doors to the greater Kansas City community on August 24. The company's jam-packed 9th annual KC Dance Day features free dance classes, performances by local schools and dance companies, and an open KCB rehearsal. The rehearsal, running from 5:00-6:00 pm, offers a unique behind-the-scenes chance to see the company in action.

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How Can I Stay Motivated While Training at Home?

Ethan Ahuero was having a good year: he was in his first season dancing with Kansas City Ballet II and had been presented with the opportunity to choreograph on the second company. "The day before we shut down I had a rehearsal, and I was so happy," Ahuero says. "The piece was coming together and this was the first time I felt really proud of my creative process."

Suddenly, the coronavirus pandemic brought everything to a halt. With the company's season cut short and the studios closed, Ahuero found himself attempting to continue dancing from home, with his choreography project put on hold. Like many other dancers around the world, Ahuero is dealing with disappointment while struggling to stay motivated.

Keeping up with daily ballet classes may feel difficult right now; inspiration can seem hard to come by when you're following along on Zoom and short on space at home. Below are a few simple tips for finding new ways to stay motivated.

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THE GINGERB3ARDMEN, Courtesy Complexions Contemporary Ballet

How Jillian Davis Created Her Own Path to Complexions and Learned to Believe in Herself

It's impossible to miss Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Jillian Davis onstage. Tall and glamorous, her commanding stage presence, luxurious movement quality and intuitive musicality have made her one of the company's standout stars. But her road to Complexions was anything but linear. The 6'2" dancer worked tirelessly over several years to find her place in the dance world, ultimately reinventing herself and creating her own path to success. At a time when many early career dancers may be facing uncertainty, her story shows the power of resiliency.

Davis grew up on a dairy farm in Kutzstown, Pennsylvania, where she studied dance at a local studio and in the Philadelphia area, and took private lessons at home. She also started growing, shooting up seven inches over one summer. At 13, she and her family decided to take her daily training up a notch, commuting 100 miles each way to the Princeton Dance & Theater Studio, where she studied under Risa Kaplowitz and Susan Jaffe. By then she was already 5'7", and she soon realized—especially as she started learning how to partner—that her height might be an issue if she wanted to dance ballet professionally.

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Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/21/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

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