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Onstage This Week: Robert Binet Tackles Orpheus for National Ballet of Canada, Russian Ballet Theatre Tours the Northeast, and More!

The National Ballet of Canada's Harrison James and Emma Hawes in Orpheus Alive. Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC.

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


The National Ballet of Canada Presents Robert Binet's New Take on Orpheus and Eurydice

The National Ballet of Canada presents a world premiere November 15-21: Robert Binet's Orpheus Alive. Binet, the company's choreographic associate, brings a fresh take to the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice with mixed-gender casting; Orpheus will be danced by a woman, and Eurydice by a man. This new ballet features a commissioned score by Missy Mazzoli. Orpheus Alive joins the company premiere of George Balanchine's Chaconne on this mixed bill program. It's an apt pairing: Chaconne is set to Gluck's music for the opera Orfeo ed Euridice, and is Balanchine's abstract meditation on the same myth.

Russian Ballet Theatre's "Swan Lake" Tours the Northeast

Russian Ballet Theatre's tour of Swan Lake makes its way across the Northeast this week. November 12-17, the company makes stops in Albany and Syracuse, NY, Burlington, VT, Pittsfield, MA, New London, CT and New York City. This new production adds new choreography by Nadezhda Kalinina, designs by Sergey Novikov and special effects makeup by Irina Strukova to the classic ballet.

Tom Gold Dance Fall Season Features World Premiere

Tom Gold Dance's fall season runs November 15-16 at New York's Florence Gould Hall with the world premiere of Tom Gold's Spectral Preludes to Lera Auerbach's 24 Preludes for Piano. The cast of dancers includes former Miami City Ballet dancer and Conversations on Dance co-host Michael Sean Breeden, former Pennsylvania Ballet soloist and current dancewear designer Abigail Mentzer and more.

Bodiography Collaborates With UK-Based Company Matrifisc

Pittsburgh-based contemporary ballet company Bodiography presents its annual concert November 15-16 at La Roche University's Byham Theater. The mixed-bill program features works by company artists Kirstie Corso, Nicole Jamison and Bethany Schimonsky, and Canadian choreographer Giverny Welsch. The program also includes Bodiography's partnership with Manchester, UK-based company Matrafisc. Matrifisc co-founder Antonella Apicella and Bodiography artistic director Maria Caruso have created new works for each other's dancers.

Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

When you're looking for a ballet program to take you to the next level, there are a lot of factors to consider. While it's tempting to look for the biggest name that will accept you, the savvy dancer knows that successful training has more to do with the attention and opportunities you'll get.

We put together a few of the most important things for dancers to look for in a summer or year-round training program, with the help of the experts at Colorado Ballet Academy:

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Courtesy Nichols

On Instagram this week, Misty Copeland reposted a picture of two Russian ballerinas covered head to toe in black, exposing the Bolshoi's practice of using black face in the classical ballet La Bayadère. The post has already received over 60,000 likes and 2,000 comments, starting a long overdue conversation.

Comments have been pouring in from every angle imaginable: from history lessons on blackface, to people outside of the ballet world expressing disbelief that this happens in 2019, to castigations of Copeland for exposing these young girls to the line of fire for what is ultimately the Bolshoi's costuming choice, to the accusations that the girls—no matter their cultural competence—should have known better.

I am a black dancer, and in 2003, when I was 11 years old, I was dressed up in blackface to perform in the Mariinsky Ballet's production of La Bayadère.

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Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy US Prix de Ballet

The US Prix de Ballet is taking an unconventional approach to the ballet competition—by putting the competitors' health first. After a successful first year in 2018, the Prix is returning to San Diego, CA this February with an even more comprehensive lineup of wellness workshops and master classes, in addition, of course, to the high-level competition.

Though the talent is top-notch, the environment is friendly, says HARID Conservatory faculty member Victoria Schneider, who serves on US Prix de Ballet's elite panel of judges. "The wellbeing of the dancer is the main focus," says Schneider, who awarded three scholarships to HARID at last year's competition.

US Prix de Ballet was born after its founders traveled to the Japan Grand Prix International Ballet Competition in 2016. "The company ran every aspect of the competition with professionalism, dignity, honor and precision," says founder Neisha Hernandez. "We knew we wanted this level of experience for America."

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