Ángel Corella On His Plans for Pennsylvania Ballet

Ángel Corella. Pablo Hojas, Courtesy PAB.

"That was fast" is an understatement. In July, after only two months of searching, Pennsylvania Ballet announced Ángel Corella—a longtime star of American Ballet Theatre who recently directed his own company, the Barcelona Ballet in Spain—as its new artistic director. Corella spoke with Pointe about his future plans.

What drew you to Pennsylvania Ballet?

I was familiar with PAB, since my sister and her ex-husband used to dance here. I've always admired the talent in the company and their great repertoire. Since dissolving Barcelona Ballet, I'd been thinking about coming back to the States to direct a company, and PAB was one of the first that came to mind. Funny enough, a few months later, the position opened.

Do you plan on making changes right away?

I'll ease into it. I don't plan on changing the structure because I think it's already a great company with a very clear look. What I will do is inject it with the passion and love that I have for dance.

What do you look for in a dancer?

The main things are passion, a willingness to work and trust. There's nothing worse than a dancer completely blocked and closed to change, because they won't go where you want to take them.

Are there any choreographers you want to bring in?

I would love to have Christopher Wheeldon, Justin Peck, Liam Scarlett, Wayne McGregor, Édouard Lock, Sol León and Paul Lightfoot. Matthew Neenan is our resident choreographer, and I want to continue that relationship. I also want to search for new choreographers within the company and around the nation.

What did you learn from your experience in Spain?

Companies here don't have much support from the government, but at least people can donate to the arts in exchange for a tax deduction. In Spain, there's no other way to fundraise besides asking the government for help, and they gave us minimal support. Sometimes I sewed costumes because we didn't have people to do it, so I'm very aware of everything that goes on in a company.

Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

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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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Ballet Careers
Ali Cameron, Courtesy Queensland Ballet

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Seven years later, Li's contribution has been dramatic. Queensland Ballet, once a struggling choreographer-led company, has become one of Australia's most exciting repertoire ensembles, with Liam Scarlett on board as artistic associate. The budget has more than quadrupled, to over $20 million USD, and Li has launched not one but three major construction projects, with world-class headquarters, a theater and a new academy all in progress.

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