News

Mark Your Calendars! The Royal Ballet's 2019/20 Cinema Season Is Coming to North America

Vadim Muntagirov and Marienela Nuñez in the Royal Ballet's Swan Lake. Bill Cooper, Courtesy Trafalgar Releasing.

Get your popcorn ready! The Royal Ballet is making its way to select North American movie theaters starting November 26 as part of The Royal Opera House's 2019/20 LIVE Cinema Season. Filmed at London's Covent Garden, the season continues through the spring and includes seven ballet productions—some pre-recorded, some captured live—ranging from 19th century classics to world premieres by Cathy Marston and Wayne McGregor. "We make sure we really give a mix of what you can get at the Opera House," says Royal Ballet artistic director Kevin O'Hare. "The idea that you're never really far from the theater is a nice one, and it's caught on fast."


The cinema seasons have been beneficial to the company, as well. "We've been on tour to Japan and Los Angeles recently, and many in the audience were waiting for the dancers outside the stage door after the show, having seen them in cinema," says O'Hare.

The company typically makes a recording prior to the scheduled performance, "just as a little safety net," says O'Hare. "That way if there's a disaster—which thankfully hasn't happened—we can splice something in later." On the day of the broadcast performance, the dancers finish rehearsal an hour early to get into the zone. "I'm amazed by the artists, how they take it in stride," says O'Hare. "We have monitors backstage during the live relay so that the dancers can see what it's looking like."

Check out the 2019/20 cinema season below. Dates and availability vary for each screening; click on the links below and enter your city or zip code to find a participating movie theater near you, and use the "Choose Production" drop-down menu to see what's playing.

The Nutcracker

Before Royal Ballet principal Francesca Hayward makes her Hollywood film debut in Cats, catch her as Clara in Sir Peter Wright's The Nutcracker. Hayward stars in the classic holiday ballet alongside principals Alexander Campbell, Lauren Cuthbertson, Federico Bonelli and principal character artist Gary Avis in this 2016 recording.

Click here to find dates, times and movie theaters near you.

Concerto/Enigma Variations/Raymonda Act III

This triple bill, captured earlier this fall, highlights the company's range. The program includes two British classics—Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Concerto, set to Shostakovich's "Piano Concerto No. 2," and Sir Frederick Ashton's Enigma Variations, to music by Edward Elgar. The performance concludes with the last act of Marius Petipa's Raymonda, adapted by Rudolf Nureyev and starring Natalia Osipova and Vadim Muntagirov.

Click here to find dates, times and movie theaters near you.

Coppélia

Marianela Nu\u00f1ez, as Swanilda, looks at her reflection in a handheld mirror, She wears a red tutu. Behind her, Gary Avis, as Dr. Coppelius, reads a book. He wears a gray jacket and white-haired wig.

Gary Avis and Marianela Nuñez in Coppelia.

Gavin Smart, Courtesy Trafalgar Releasing

Ninette de Valois's charming production of Coppélia returns to The Royal Ballet this year, and is a welcome addition to the cinema series. Principals Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov will star as Swanilda and Franz, along with Gary Avis as Dr. Coppelius.

Click here for dates, times and movie theaters near you.

The Sleeping Beauty

Yasmine Nagdhi, in a pink Sleeping Beauty tutu, lies on a bed while Matthew Ball, in a taupe silk jacket and tights, stands over her.

Yasmine Nagdhi and Matthew Ball in The Sleeping Beauty.

Bill Cooper, Courtesy Trafalgar Releasing

Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli will star as Princess Aurora and Prince Florimund in this Petipa classic, with additional choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton, Anthony Dowell and Christopher Wheeldon.

Click here to find dates, times and movie theaters near you.

The Cellist/Dances at a Gathering

Cathy Marston chronicles the life of famed concert musician Jacqueline DePré in the world premiere of The Cellist. "Lauren Cuthbertson will play Jacqueline DePré and Matthew Ball will be her husband, and then there's this idea of the cello, represented by another dancer, as the great love of her life," says O'Hare. "This will be great for cinema, because it's telling a story." Check out rehearsal footage for The Cellist above. Jerome Robbins' classic Dances at a Gathering rounds out the program.

Click here to find dates, times and movie theaters near you.

Swan Lake

If you missed Liam Scarlett's new production of Swan Lake in 2018, you're in luck: The Royal Ballet is bringing this critically acclaimed production, with designs by John McFarlane, to cinemas this spring. Lauren Cuthbertson and first soloist William Bracewell are set to star in this Tchaikovsky classic.

Click here to find dates, times and movie theaters near you.

The Dante Project

This black and white image shows a mountain range.

Detail of postcard sketch (MOUNTAINS), 2007. Collage of Found Postcards. Courtesy Tacita Dean; Frith STreet Gallery, London and Marian Goodman Gallery New York-Paris.

Courtesy Trafalgar Releasing

The Royal Ballet's cinema season closes with a world premiere: Wayne McGregor's Dante Project. McGregor, the company's resident choreographer, takes on Dante's Divine Comedy in collaboration with composer Thomas Adés, artist Tacita Dean, lighting designer Lucy Carter and dramaturg Uzma Hameed. Part I, which is based on Dante's Inferno and premiered in July in Los Angeles, will feature Royal Ballet stars Edward Watson, Francesca Hayward, Marcelino Sambé and more. The rest of the ballet's casting is still TBA.

Click here to find dates, times and movie theaters near you.

Ballet Careers
Lenai Alexis Wilkerson. Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Michelle Tabnick Public Relations.

This is one of a series of stories on recent graduates' on-campus experiences—and the connections they made that jump-started their dance careers. Lenai Alexis Wilkerson graduated from University of Southern California with a BFA in dance (dance performance concentration) and a political science minor in 2019.

As Lenai Alexis Wilkerson looked at colleges, she wanted a school that would prepare her for two totally different professions: dancing and law. "I knew, pretty much when I was 16, that I wanted to go to law school," she says. "So I wanted the opportunity to have a dual college experience, where I could have a conservatory training style within a university and I could focus equally on my academics." When she auditioned for the inaugural class of University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, she knew it was the right fit.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Ballet Arizona
Tzu Chia Huang, Courtesy Ballet Arizona

These days, ballet dancers are asked to do more than they ever have—whether that's tackling versatile rep, taking on intense cross-training regimens or managing everything from their Instagram pages to their summer layoff gigs.

Without proper training, these demands can take a toll on both the mind and the body. But students can start preparing for them early—with the right summer intensive program.

The School of Ballet Arizona's summer intensive takes a well-rounded approach to training—not just focusing on technique and facility but nurturing overall dancer growth. "You cannot make a dancer just by screaming at them like they used to," says master ballet teacher Roberto Muñoz, who guests at the program every summer. "You have to take care of the person as well."

Keep reading... Show less
News
Nicolas Pelletier in Carmina Burana. Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet.

Last week, Colorado Ballet interrupted Nutcracker rehearsals for an exciting announcement: Four dancers were being promoted. Though all made the jump from the company's corps de ballet, Nicolas Pelletier ascended directly to the rank of soloist, while Sean Omandam, Emily Speed and Melissa Zoebisch were promoted to demi-soloist. This news comes hot on the heels of last August's promotion of Francisco Estevez to principal.

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy School of Pennsylvania Ballet

While many of us are deep in Nutcracker duties, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet director James Payne has been looking further ahead, finalizing preparations for the school's summer intensive programs. In January, he and his staff will embark on a 24-city audition tour to scour the country for the best young dancers, deciding whether or not to offer them a spot—maybe even a scholarship—in the school's rigorous 5-week intensive focused on high-caliber ballet instruction. Though he'll be evaluating aspirants, he urges that as a student, you should be equally selective in choosing programs that could galvanize your training—and possibly even your career.

We got Payne's advice on strategizing your summer intensive plan before the audition cycle kicks in:

Keep reading... Show less