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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.

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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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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