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Onstage This Week: Stars Abound at the Fire Island Dance Festival, Maria Kochetkova Takes the Joyce and More!

Maria Kochetkova presents Catch Her If You Can at the Joyce Theater this week. Manfredi Gioacchini, Courtesy Joyce Theater.

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


Star-Studded Fire Island Dance Festival Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary 

Festival season is in full swing. July 19-21 marks Long Island's 25th Fire Island Dance Festival, a benefit series in support of Dancers Responding to AIDS. This year's line up is chock full of ballet stars and world premieres: Kyle Abraham presents an excerpt of a new work featuring American Ballet Theatre's Calvin Royal III, tap extraordinaire Michelle Dorrance debuts a world premiere featuring Robbie Fairchild, Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers Lucien Postlewaite and Christopher D'Ariano dance in a new ballet by Garrett Smith, ABT's James Whiteside has created a new work for colleagues Aran Bell and Catherine Hurlin and Christopher Wheeldon makes his Fire Island Dance Fest choreographic debut.

NYCB Returns to Its Summer Home

Saratoga Performing Arts Center has long been New York City Ballet's summer home. July 16-20, NYCB is back upstate with three varied programs: SPAC Premieres by 21st Century Choreographers, Tschaikovsky and Balanchine, and George Balanchine's Coppélia. For the past few years, NYCB dancers Peter Walker and Emily Kitka have created site-specific dance films to promote the season; check out their newest above.

Maria Kochetkova Takes the Stage at the Joyce Theater 

Since leaving San Francisco Ballet last year, Maria Kochetkova has been exploring a new path. Now she presents her own program, Catch Her If You Can, July 16–21 at New York City's Joyce Theater, dancing alongside four friends—Sebastian Kloborg, Carlo Di Lanno, Sofiane Sylve and Drew Jacoby—in works by Jacoby, Jérôme Bel, William Forsythe, David Dawson, Marco Goecke and Marcos Morau.

Newport Dance Festival Welcomes 5 Visiting Companies

July 14-21 marks Island Moving Company's Newport Dance Festival. This Rhode Island-based summer staple features five visiting companies from around the world: Thomas/Ortiz Dance, Breathing Art Company, Ballet Dallas, Matthew Westerby Company, Trainor Dance and CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet. All performances are held outdoors; each evening opens with live music, a Q&A and a short piece choreographed that day for a group of self-selected dancers.

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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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