Ballet Stars

Red, White and Ballet: Celebrate July 4th With These American-Inspired Ballet Videos

New York City Ballet principal Tyler Angle in Balanchine's Stars and Stripes. Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

You might be on layoff or have a break from your summer intensive today, but ballet is probably still on your brain. That's okay—kick back, relax and enjoy these American-themed ballet videos.


Justin Peck's "Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes"

This ballet just makes you want to jump up and dance. Justin Peck's acclaimed interpretation of Aaron Copeland's score Rodeo keeps the sense of freedom, open spaces and frontier camaraderie of Agnes de Mille's original 1942 ballet— while imbuing it with New York City Ballet's trademark speed, abstract storytelling and musicality. Russell Janzen, Sara Mearns and the male corps of New York City Ballet shine in this 2019 performance.

Agnes De Mille's "Rodeo"

Does this piece bring to mind the musical Oklahoma!? Agnes de Mille's success in creating Rodeo led to her being hired to choreograph the original Rogers and Hammerstein classic. Dancing cowboys tear up the stage in this scene from a 2009 production by Colorado Ballet.

George Balanchine's "Rubies"

"Rubies," from George Balanchine's full-length Jewels, conjures up the Big Apple's fast pace, bright lights, glamour and show biz. In this 2017 Pacific Northwest Ballet performance, principal Lindsi Dec sparkles as the "Tall Girl" soloist in the ballet's finale.

Christopher Wheeldon's "The American"

After you've had a slice of apple pie, enjoy this dreamy dance dessert: Christopher Wheeldon's The American, performed here by Sarasota Ballet. "I always feel like the pas de deux is like spun sugar: delicate but light with a sense of breath," says Wheeldon répétiteur Michele Gifford in this interview during a recent staging at Festival Ballet Providence. "It's really elegant. It also reminds me of a lazy summer day."

George Balanchine's "Stars and Stripes"

The Fourth of July isn't complete without fireworks—in this case, the balletic fireworks of Stars and Stripes, Balanchine's quintessential all-American ballet. Patriotic spirit and dance pyrotechnics join forces in this 2019 NYCB performance led by Megan Fairchild and Tyler Angle.

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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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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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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