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.

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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Giveaways
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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