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Onstage This Week: Justin Peck and Pam Tanowitz World Premieres at NYCB, Canadian Premiere of Septime Webre's "Wizard of Oz," And More!

Royal Winnipeg Ballet dancers Josh Reynolds, Katie Bonnell, Stephan Azulay and Yosuke Mino in Septime Webre's Wizard of Oz. David Cooper, Courtesy RWB.

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


NYCB's Spring Gala Features World Premieres by Justin Peck and Pam Tanowitz

New York City Ballet's spring season continues this week with two world premieres, presented as part of the company's annual spring gala on May 2. The first, by Justin Peck, is titled Bright and is set to music by Mark Dancigers. The second is by postmodern choreographer Pam Tanowitz, who will be making her NYCB debut. Set to music by Béla Bartók, Tanowitz's work is aptly titled Bartók Ballet. The premieres, which will both return for four additional dates later this season, share a program with George Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3.

Royal Winnipeg Ballet Presents the Canadian Premiere of Septime Webre's "The Wizard of Oz"

Royal Winnipeg Ballet presents Septime Webre's The Wizard of Oz May 1-5. This long-awaited ballet is a joint production with Colorado Ballet and Kansas City Ballet. RWB is the last of the three companies to present Webre's full-length story ballet; this debut will also mark its Canadian premiere. The Wizard of Oz features an original score by Matthew Pierce, costumes by Liz Vandal and puppetry (including a Toto puppet) by Nicholas Mahon.

Company Premiere of Balanchine's "Emeralds" at Ballet Arizona

This week, Ballet Arizona showcases a sampling of George Balanchine's broad oeuvre. The program, titled All Balanchine, runs May 2-5 and includes the company premiere of Balanchine's elegant "Emeralds" as well as his Theme and Variations and Square Dance. Above, hear a handful of BA dancers discuss what makes dancing Balanchine's ballets so exciting.

"Alice in Wonderland" Returns to Grand Rapids Ballet

Grand Rapids Ballet brings familiar characters including the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat back to life May 3-5 and 10-11 with the return of Brian Enos' Alice in Wonderland. First presented in 2017, this full-length ballet features surrealist imagery and projections by visual artist Luis Grané. Catch a glimpse in the above video.

"Cinderella" Takes the Stage at Ballet Idaho

May 3-4, Ballet Idaho presents Edwaard Liang's Cinderella. This beloved fairy tale, set to Sergei Prokofiev's score, is billed as a treat for audience members of all ages. Ballet Idaho's trailer, above, shows some of the romance and opulence of this classic ballet.

Diablo Ballet Presents Diverse Mixed Rep Program

California-based company Diablo Ballet presents Celebrated Masters May 3-4. The program features three diverse works: Val Caniparoli's Tryst to Mozart, KT Nelson's Walk before Talk to music by Michael Neiman, and excerpts from Marius Petipa's Swan Lake titled Swan Lake Suite.

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The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

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

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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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Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's October 16–27 run honors principal Herman Cornejo, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a pas de deux with his sister, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo.

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Ballet Careers
Gray Davis with wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary, after his graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Courtesy Trenary.

When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office.

Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist Cassandra Trenary, to many he's best known for saving the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The heroic effort earned him the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.

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