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Onstage This Week: NYCB's Fall Fashion Gala, Richmond Ballet's Maggie Small Retires and More!

Sarah Ferguson, Courtesy Richmond Ballet

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


NYCB's Annual Fall Fashion Gala Features World Premieres by Lauren Lovette and Edwaard Liang

September 26 marks one of ballet's most glamorous days of the year: New York City Ballet's annual Fall Fashion Gala, which pairs couture designers with choreographers. This year's program features world premieres by principal dancer Lauren Lovette and BalletMet artistic director and former NYCB soloist Edwaard Liang. Lovette's work, The Shaded Line, features costumes designed by Zac Posen; Liang has collaborated with Anna Sui on his new ballet Lineage. The gala program also includes George Balanchine's Symphony in C. Audiences will have the chance to see these three pieces, joined by Jerome Robbins' Opus 19/The Dreamer, on select dates throughout the remaining few weeks of NYCB's fall season.

Beloved Richmond Ballet Dancer Maggie Small Takes Her Final Bow

September 27-29, Richmond Ballet presents two major works: George Balanchine's Theme and Variations and John Butler's Carmina Burana. These performances mark longtime company dancer Maggie Small's retirement from the stage. A Richmond native, Small joined Richmond Ballet in 2005 after participating in its trainee and apprentice programs. She's been celebrated in the title roles of Butler's Portrait of Billie and Malcom Burn's Cinderella, among many others.

Pacific Northwest Ballet Opens Fall Season With Two Contemporary Classics

Pacific Northwest Ballet launches its 47th season September 27-October 6 with a powerful double bill featuring George Balanchine's Agon and PNB founding artistic director Kent Stowell's Carmina Burana. The set of Stowell's 1993 work, set to Carl Orff's famous cantata, features an elaborate 26-foot golden wheel designed by Ming Cho Lee.

Fort Wayne Ballet Revives Rarely Seen Edward Stierle Ballet

Fort Wayne Ballet opens its season September 27-28 with a triple bill including Gerald Arpino's Italian Suite, Edward Stierle's Empyrean Dances and a sneak peek of next season's new Dracula. This marks the exciting revival of Empyrean Dances, which was last performed by the Joffrey Ballet in 1992. It debuted the year before, though the then 23-year-old Stierle tragically passed way from AIDS just three days after the work's premiere. Fort Wayne Ballet has been given special permission from Stierle's family to bring this piece back to life.

Indianapolis Ballet Celebrates Balanchine

The fledgling Indianapolis Ballet opens its second full season with a program celebrating the work of George Balanchine. September 27-29, audiences can see the company in three iconic Balanchine ballets: Allegro Brillante, Sonatine and Who Cares? Catch a glimpse of rehearsal for Allegro Brillante in the above video.

Smuin Ballet's Onstage in San Francisco

September 27-29, Smuin Ballet continues touring its Dance Series 01, this time to San Francisco's Cowell Theater. The program includes three contemporary works: James Kudelka's The Man in Black, Michael Smuin's Carmina Burana and company member Rex Wheeler's Take Five.

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During one of Charlotte Nash's first few weeks with Houston Ballet II, she was thrown into a run-through of Balanchine's Theme and Variations. "I had never really understudied before and I didn't know what I was doing," she says. "I fell right away and was quickly replaced." For Nash, now a dancer with Festival Ballet Providence, the episode was a tough lesson. "I was mortified, but then I said to myself, 'Okay, I need to figure out how to learn things more quickly.'"

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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."

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

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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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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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