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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.

Ballet Stars
From left: Douane Gosa, Gianni Goffredo, James Whiteside, Maxfield Haynes and Matthew Poppe in WTF. Yo Poosh, Courtesy Kimberly Giannelli PR.

We've always known that Madonna loves dance. After all, the "Queen of Pop" studied at the Martha Graham School in the 1970s. Nevertheless, we were still surprised (and thrilled) to see that she invited James Whiteside to perform at her 61st birthday party in The Hamptons last weekend.

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Giveaways
Modeled by Daria Ionova. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Elevé Dancewear.
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Boston Ballet's Kathleen Breen Combes, María Álvarez and Dawn Atkins. Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow.

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

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Ballet Stars
Alexandra MacDonald (front row, third from left) didn't win a medal at the Genée International Ballet Competition, but says she came home inspired and newly motivated by the people she met there. Photo Courtesy Genée IBC.

Ballet competitions are an exciting part of any dancer's career. Yet while scholarships, prize money, job offers and the prestige that comes with winning a medal are compelling incentives to participate in one, they're not the only benefits. In fact, many dancers who go home empty-handed still look fondly on the experience and go on to become successful professionals.

This week, the 2019 Genée International Ballet Competition kicks off in Toronto. From August 20-29, over 50 dancers, ages 15–19 and trained in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus, will perform three solos in the hopes of winning a medal and a $10,000 cash prize. Many past medalists have gone on to illustrious careers—but so have those who didn't win anything. We spoke with three Genée alumni now dancing professionally who know what it's like not to place. Read on to find out why they deem their comp experiences a success, and how you can make the most of yours—whether you win or not.

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