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

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

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.

Ballet Stars
Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC

It's hard to imagine the National Ballet of Canada without ballerina Greta Hodgkinson. Yet this week NBoC announced that the longtime company star will take her final bow in March, as Marguerite in Sir Frederick Ashton's Marguerite and Armand.

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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News
Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

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Viral Videos

What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.

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