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Onstage This Week: Vail Dance Fest Features Major Ballet Stars, RWB Opens 80th Season and More!

Erin Baiano, Courtesy Vail Dance Festival

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


Vail Dance Festival Opens with Performances by American Ballet Theatre and Dancers from New York City Ballet

It's that time of year again—when all your favorite dancers head to the Colorado Rocky Mountains for three weeks of premieres, performances, master classes and out-of-the-box collaborations. This year, the Vail Dance Festival runs from July 26-August 10, starting with an opening night program featuring dancers from New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre in Tiler Peck's On Lincoln Square, excerpts from Swan Lake, Jessica Lang's Let Me Sing Forevermore, and the chance to see Isabella Boylston's debut in George Balanchine's Serenade alongside Lauren Lovette. On July 27, ABT dancers will return with some of the company's masterworks, including Twyla Tharp's Sinatra Suite, the Don Quixote Act III pas de deux, Antony Tudor's Jardin aux Lilas and the world premiere of James Whiteside's New American Romance.

Royal Winnipeg Ballet Opens 80th Season with Ballet in the Park

July 24-26, Royal Winnipeg Ballet will be hosting its annual free Ballet in the Park program at the Assiniboine Park's Lyric Theatre. For this landmark season, RWB will perform both classical and more contemporary works. From La Fille Mal Gardee's pas de deux and Le Corsaire's "Le Jardin Anime" to Nicole Kepp and Sara Goodman's amazingly-soundtracked (think: Fergie and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) Alice and excerpts from Septime Webre's zany take on The Wizard of Oz, there's bound to be something for everyone.

Connecticut Ballet Performs "Under the Stars"

Connecticut Ballet will continue its free, family-friendly "Ballet Under the Stars" program this Friday, July 16, at the Mill River Park with a split bill, showcasing a contemporary ballet by Marden Ramos and "Now and Then," choreographed by Joseph Locarro. The show will be narrated by the company's artistic director, Brett Raphael, and will close with a talk-back with the performers.

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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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