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Onstage This Week: Justin Peck World Premiere at NYCB, The Beatles, Fred & Ginger, and More!

American Contemporary Ballet presents five Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers duets this week. Victor Demarchelier, Courtesy ACB.

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


NYCB Presents a World Premiere by Justin Peck to a Commissioned Score by Sufjan Stevens 

January 31 marks an exciting night in New York City Ballet's winter season with a triple bill titled New Combinations featuring Kyle Abraham's The Runaway, William Forsythe's Herman Schmerman and Justin Peck's Principia.

The Runaway, which includes music by Jay-Z and Kanye West (artists seldom heard on ballet stages), returns after its smash success at NYCB's Fall 2018 Fashion Gala. And Forsythe's Herman Schmerman, an abstract work for five dancers set to a Thom Willems electronic score, is back in its entirety for the first time since 1994.

The pièce de résistance is the world premiere of Justin Peck's Principia. The ballet, featuring 24 dancers, highlights the talents of a number of frequent Peck collaborators including composer Sufjan Stevens, costume designers Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung and set designer Karl Jensen. Check out a preview above!

ABT Brings "Harlequinade" to The Kennedy Center

American Ballet Theatre is back on the road this week. The company presents the DC premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Harlequinade at The Kennedy Center January 29-February 3. Catch excerpts of this delightful commedia dell'arte ballet (featuring vivid, striking costumes by Robert Perdziola) in the above trailer.

BalletBoyz Presents the New York Premiere of "Young Men"


January 29-February 3 marks the New York premiere of British-based all-male company BalletBoyz' multimedia dance experience Young Men at the Joyce Theater. Choreographed by Netherlands-based dancemaker Iván Pérez, Young Men had its debut at London's Sadlers Wells in 2015. It tells the story of soldiers fighting in World War I, and is interwoven with a feature length film of the same name.

Columbia City Ballet Premieres "Beatles The Ballet"

This week Columbia City Ballet explores the careers of one of the world's most famous bands: The Beatles. This multimedia production was conceived of by CCB executive and artistic director William Starrett, and it features more than 35 songs and choreography by multiple artists. Beatles The Ballet follows the Beatles' careers starting in the 1960s, and examines the role they played in the era's cultural revolution. Beatles The Ballet opens in Columbia, SC, on February 2 and then travels to Hamlet, NC, February 5 and Camden, SC, February 9.

World Premiere Opens at Carolina Ballet, in Time for Valentine's Day

Carolina Ballet artistic director Robert Weiss debuts his new work, Love in the Times of the Day on January 31. Running weekends through February 17, the ballet is based on paintings by Czech artist Alfonse Mucha that Weiss saw on a visit to Prague. The work features a commissioned score by J. Mark Scearse and is being billed as a "ballet for lovers" (after all, Valentine's Day is just around the corner). The program also features Weiss' Time Gallery.

Company Premiere of "The Wizard of Oz" at Colorado Ballet

February 1-10, Colorado Ballet presents the company debut of Septime Webre's The Wizard of Oz. The ballet is a joint production with Kansas City Ballet and Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Featuring original music by Matthew Pierce, this re-telling of the classic children's story is sure to thrill audiences of all ages. Check out this behind-the-scenes glimpse with Webre above.

"The Sleeping Beauty" is Back at PNB

Pacific Northwest Ballet brings back a classic February 1-10: Ronald Hynd's The Sleeping Beauty. After performing it for nearly 20 years, this will be PNB's final run of this production. The company will announce a new version of The Sleeping Beauty later this year.

Missed PNB's livestream of Sleeping Beauty rehearsal last week? Catch it above now!

Smuin Contemporary Ballet's Dance Series 01 Features Works by Company Dancers

Smuin Contemporary Ballet's Dance Series 01 program runs February 1-2 at the Sunset Center in Carmel, CA, with a mixed bill of six works. First up are Trey McIntyre's Blue Until June, set to vocals by Etta James, and founding director Michael Smuin's The Eternal Idol and Schubert Scherzo. Rounding out the program are three works by company dancers being performed on a main stage for the first time: Nicole Haskins' Merely Players, Ben Needham-Wood's Echo and Rex Wheeler's Sinfonietta.

American Contemporary Ballet Celebrates Valentine's Day in Style

Los Angeles-based American Contemporary Ballet presents Astaire Dances 2: Fred & Ginger from February 2-17 at the Cooper Design Space in downtown LA. The program pulls five of Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger's best-loved dances off of the silver screen and onto the stage. They're paired with the jazzy suite from George Balanchine's Who Cares?.

The Conversation
Hamrick rehearsing Port Rouge in St. Petersburg. Photo courtesy Hamrick

Choosing music for your first-ever choreography commission can feel daunting enough. But when you're asked to create a ballet using the vast discography of the Rolling Stones—and you happen to be dating Stones frontman Mick Jagger—the stakes are even higher.

So it's understandable that as of Monday, American Ballet Theatre corps de ballet dancer Melanie Hamrick, whose Port Rouge will have its U.S. premiere tonight at the Youth American Grand Prix gala, was still torn about which songs to include.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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Ballet Stars
Royes Fernandez and Maria Tallchief in "Les Sylphides." Captured via YouTube.

In the early years of professional ballet in the United States, influential American dancers played key roles in changing perspectives of ballet as a strictly European art form. Maria Tallchief and Royes Fernandez were among those dancers who helped establish and define an American ballet aesthetic and identity: she as the original prima ballerina of New York City Ballet and he as American Ballet Theatre's Siegfried in the company's first full-length production of Swan Lake. These two exceptional performers are mesmerizing together in this 1963 excerpt from Fokine's Les Sylphide.

Maria Tallchief, Royes Fernandez - Excerpt from 'Les Sylphides' www.youtube.com

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News
She's back! (Erin Baiano)

Congratulations are in order for Kathryn Morgan! After a long struggle with hypothyroidism, which led to the ballerina's resignation from New York City Ballet in 2012, Morgan is now set to dive back into full-time professional dance as a soloist at Miami City Ballet.

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