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Onstage This Week: NYCB and SFB Open Their Winter Seasons and More!

NYCB's Peter Walker will be back onstage in Agon this week. Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

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


NYCB Winter Season Opens on Balanchine's 115th Birthday

The winter ballet season is officially underway, and we couldn't be more excited. New York City Ballet's season opens January 22 and runs through March 3. Week one features two all-Balanchine programs. The first, opening appropriately on the 115th anniversary of the great choreographer's birth, features the Stravinsky/Balanchine "Greek Trilogy": Apollo, Orpheus and Agon. The second program includes three Balanchine works to Tchaikovsky: Serenade, Mozartiana and Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, which showcases brand new costumes designed by NYCB's Marc Happel.

San Francisco Ballet Opens With Don Quixote

San Francisco Ballet's Repertory Season opens January 25 and runs through May 12. The first of the company's eight programs is Don Quixote, on through February 3. Don Quixote is an SFB audience favorite; it was last performed in 2015, and the company is referring to it as "the stylish rom-com of classical ballet." In the above video, principal Mathilde Froustey talks through Kitri's Act III solo.

Sarasota Ballet Presents a World Premiere by Ricardo Graziano

Ellen Overstreet and Weslley Carvalho in Four Scottish Dances

Frank Atura, Courtesy Sarasota Ballet

January 25-28 marks Sarasota Ballet's Transcending Movement program featuring four unique works: David Bintley's Four Scottish Dances, Frederick Ashton's Meditation from Thaïs and Varii Capricci (a company premiere), and a world premiere by principal dancer and resident choreographer Ricardo Graziano. Former American Ballet Theatre star Marcelo Gomes is also back in Sarasota as a guest performer.

The Conversation
Ballet Stars
Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB

Your teacher at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Marcia Dale Weary, recently passed away. What impact did she have on you?

I feel deeply indebted to her. She shaped my life's course, and I know that were it not for her, I would not be living out my dream today. She led by example through her remarkable commitment to her work, as well as her genuine kindness and generosity.

You were a trainee with San Francisco Ballet. What was that experience like?

It was an exposure to different schools of thought. We were mostly in the full-lengths, and watching run-throughs of Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote was revolutionary for me. But I was young and far away from home. That transition was hard. My body started changing. It wanted to be fleshy. Biology is cruel in that way. I desperately wanted to fit in, but it wasn't meant to be.

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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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Site Network
Left: Misa Kuranaga in The Veritginous Thrill of Exactitude. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet. Right: Sasha Mukhamedov in Apollo. Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet.

San Francisco Ballet just announced some major news: longtime Boston Ballet star Misa Kuranaga will be joining the company as a principal dancer for the 2019-20 season, while Dutch National Ballet principal Sasha Mukhamedov has been hired as a soloist. They join a slew of newly promoted SFB principals and soloists, announced earlier this year.

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Ballet Stars
Xiao Nan Yu in company class. Aaron Vincent, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

On June 22, National Ballet of Canada principal Xiao Nan Yu will retire from the stage after 22 years with the company. Originally from Dalian, China, Yu studied at the Shen Yang School of Dance and the Beijing Dance Academy before coming to Canada's National Ballet School at age 17. She joined the National Ballet of Canada less than two years later, and was promoted to principal in 2001.

"She is a supreme dance actress with an innate ability to bring the audience into her world," says NBoC artistic director Karen Kain. "Nan has always brought such a calm confidence into the studio and has been a role model for so many dancers I will miss her generosity both inside the studio and out." We spoke with Yu as she prepared for her final week of performances. She opened up about her initial culture shock upon moving to Toronto, her thoughts on artistry and why she chose Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow as her final role.

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