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Onstage This Week: Justin Peck Makes His Vail Dance Fest Choreographic Debut, Two Premieres at American Contemporary Ballet, and More!

Patricia Delgado in Pam Tanowitz's "Solo for Patricia 2017." Photo by Erin Baiano, Courtesy Vail Dance Festival.

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


Vail Dance Fest Enters Its Second Week

With half a month devoted to creating new art in the midst of stunning nature, Vail Dance Festival seems a dancer's paradise. Last week marked American Ballet Theatre's festival debut. The second week of performances, starting July 30, brings even more amazing ballet, with dancers and choreographers presenting a slew of new collaborations and premieres. Get the scoop on each program below.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet Takes the Vail Stage

July 30-31, Alonzo King LINES Ballet presents two different programs. The first performance, is a free, family-friendly event held in the Avon Performance Pavilion. The second, held at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, presents two works by King: Sand, a piece from 2016 set to jazz music, and Biophony, an exploration of the Earth's diverse ecosystems.


Justin Peck Makes His Vail Choreographic Debut

UpClose, a program devoted to festival debuts held August 1, is curated by Vail artistic director Damian Woetzel and presented "rehearsal-style," with a focus on the relationship between dance and music. The two works presented feature collaborations with Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw, Vail's 2018 Leonard Bernstein Composer-In-Residence. The first is choreographed by Justin Peck, marking his Vail choreographic debut. The second is postmodern choreographer Pam Tanowitz's Blueprint, which premiered at the Kennedy Center last March and features former Miami City Ballet star (and Peck's fiancé), Patricia Delgado. Can't make it to the show? Watch Blueprint in the video below.


International Evenings of Dance Unite Dancers from Major Companies

Two International Evenings of Dance, held August 3 and August 4 are set to feature upwards of 30 dancers ranging from tap extraordinaire Michelle Dorrance to Memphis jooker Lil Buck to ballet stars from American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, The Royal Ballet and more. The programs will feature debuts and collaborations yet to be revealed. Highlights of the all-star cast include ABT's Isabella Boylston and Misty Copeland, NYCB's Tiler Peck and Joseph Gordon, Boston Ballet's Misa Kuranaga, and Francesca Hayward of The Royal Ballet. Watch clips from last year's performance below.


American Contemporary Ballet Presents Two Vastly Different Premieres

August 2-12, Los Angeles-based American Contemporary Ballet will premiere a pair of new ballets by artistic director Lincoln Jones. Candide Overture celebrates the centennial of composer Leonard Bernstein and pays tribute to his jubilant, rhythmic dance music. Transfigured Night explores the internal life of a pair of lovers when one has just revealed a dramatic secret. The music is an early work of 19th and 20th century composer Arnold Schoenberg.


Ballet Hawaii's Sleeping Beauty Brings in Stars from the Mainland

August 3–5, Ballet Hawaii is bringing guest artists from across the continental U.S. to Honolulu for a collaborative production of The Sleeping Beauty in association with Kansas City Ballet. While Ballet Hawaii summer intensive students make up the bulk of the cast, KCB's Amaya Rodriguez and Liang Fu will dance as Princess Aurora and Prince Desiré. Plus, guest artists Katherine Williams of American Ballet Theatre will dance Beauty/Candite and Lesley Rausch of Pacific Northwest Ballet will perform the role of the Lilac Fairy. This production is truly a group effort; Cincinnati Ballet is also lending a hand by providing the costumes!


Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur Opens with BalletMet's Romeo and Juliet

National Ballet of Canada principal Guillaume Côté's summer project, the Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur, runs August 2-12 in Montreal. BalletMet opens the festival with artistic director Edwaard Liang's production of Romeo and Juliet August 2-3. The second week will see appearances by Côté's colleagues at NBoC, as well as performances by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Toronto Dance Theatre. This will be the 26th year of the festival, which Côté has curated and directed since 2015.


International Ballet Festival of Miami Youth Gala

To continue the jam-packed season of summer dance fests, the XXIII International Ballet Festival of Miami's first performance, the Youth Gala, takes place this Saturday, August 4 at the Lehman Theater at Miami Dade College North campus. This showcase of young talent from the U.S. and abroad is intended to promote arts education in the Miami area. Galas with professional dancers from around the world continue next week. In addition, the festival also hosts movie screenings, workshops, master classes and book and art exhibits, all related to dance and the arts. Preview the various performances taking place through August 19 below.

The Conversation
Ballet Stars
Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB

Your teacher at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Marcia Dale Weary, recently passed away. What impact did she have on you?

I feel deeply indebted to her. She shaped my life's course, and I know that were it not for her, I would not be living out my dream today. She led by example through her remarkable commitment to her work, as well as her genuine kindness and generosity.

You were a trainee with San Francisco Ballet. What was that experience like?

It was an exposure to different schools of thought. We were mostly in the full-lengths, and watching run-throughs of Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote was revolutionary for me. But I was young and far away from home. That transition was hard. My body started changing. It wanted to be fleshy. Biology is cruel in that way. I desperately wanted to fit in, but it wasn't meant to be.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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Site Network
Left: Misa Kuranaga in The Veritginous Thrill of Exactitude. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet. Right: Sasha Mukhamedov in Apollo. Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet.

San Francisco Ballet just announced some major news: longtime Boston Ballet star Misa Kuranaga will be joining the company as a principal dancer for the 2019-20 season, while Dutch National Ballet principal Sasha Mukhamedov has been hired as a soloist. They join a slew of newly promoted SFB principals and soloists, announced earlier this year.

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Ballet Stars
Xiao Nan Yu in company class. Aaron Vincent, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

On June 22, National Ballet of Canada principal Xiao Nan Yu will retire from the stage after 22 years with the company. Originally from Dalian, China, Yu studied at the Shen Yang School of Dance and the Beijing Dance Academy before coming to Canada's National Ballet School at age 17. She joined the National Ballet of Canada less than two years later, and was promoted to principal in 2001.

"She is a supreme dance actress with an innate ability to bring the audience into her world," says NBoC artistic director Karen Kain. "Nan has always brought such a calm confidence into the studio and has been a role model for so many dancers I will miss her generosity both inside the studio and out." We spoke with Yu as she prepared for her final week of performances. She opened up about her initial culture shock upon moving to Toronto, her thoughts on artistry and why she chose Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow as her final role.

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