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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.

Summer Intensive Survival
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There's a sweet spot toward the end of August—after summer intensives have wrapped up and before it's time to head back to school or work—where the days are long, lazy and begging to be spent neck-deep in a pile of good books. Whether you're looking for inspiration for the upcoming season or trying to brush up on your dance history, you can never go wrong with an excellent book on ballet. We've gathered eight titles (all available at common booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble) guaranteed to give you a deeper understanding of the art form, to add to your end-of-summer reading list.

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Site Network
James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico warm up onstage. Angela Sterling, Courtesy SDC.

On a sunny July weekend, hundreds of Seattle-area dance fans converged on tiny Vashon Island, a bucolic enclave in Puget Sound about 20 miles from the city. They made the ferry trek to attend the debut performance of the fledgling Seattle Dance Collective.

SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.

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News
Roman Mejia in Robbins' Dances at a Gathering. Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB.

The Princess Grace Foundation has just announced its 2019 class, and we're thrilled that two ballet dancers—New York City Ballet's Roman Mejia and BalletX's Stanley Glover—are included among the list of über-talented actors, filmmakers, playwrights, dancers and choreographers.

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Trending
The Royal Ballet's Alexander Campbell and Yasmine Naghdi in Ashton's The Two Pigeons. Tristram Kenton, Courtesy ROH.

While most ballet casts are 100 percent human, it's not unheard of for live animals to appear onstage, providing everything from stage dressing to supporting roles. Michael Messerer's production of Don Quixote features a horse and a donkey; American Ballet Theatre's Giselle calls for two Russian wolfhounds; and Sir Frederick Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee requires a white Shetland pony. Another Ashton masterpiece, The Two Pigeons, is well known for its animal actors. But though ballet is a highly disciplined, carefully choreographed art form, some performers are naturally more prone to flights of fancy—because they're birds.

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