Ballet Stars

2018 Stars of the Corps: Cincinnati Ballet's Samantha Griffin

Samantha Griffin in Balanchine's Serenade. Photo by Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet.

Intensity is Samantha Griffin's modus operandi, whether she's self-reflecting on an unhappy, gilded existence in Garrett Smith's Facades or violently whipping a metal chair into the wings in artistic director Victoria Morgan's Black Coffee. The 23-year-old Griffin puts all of her flexible 5' 8" frame to use in contemporary movement, which she prefers. "It fits my body well," she says. Yet she's also given dazzling performances in more neoclassical roles, including the Tall Girl soloist in Balanchine's "Rubies" and the Dark Angel in his Serenade.


Griffin with Michael Mengden in Jennifer Archibald's "MYOHO." Photo by Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet.

A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Griffin graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts' high school program. She was a member of Charlotte Ballet II before joining Cincinnati Ballet as a trainee in 2015.

Undoubtedly on the fast track, Griffin says she is grateful for every opportunity she has been given with the company. "I want to fully invest myself onstage and try to understand what I am supposed to be doing in every given moment."

The Conversation
News
Ma Cong in the studio with Tulsa Ballet. Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Without him we wouldn't have The Nutcracker, Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty. But how much do you know about Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the man behind classical ballet's most recognizable music? Did you know that the Russian composer hid his homosexuality for much of his life? He also struggled with depression; there's been speculation that his death in 1893 was in fact a suicide.

Tulsa Ballet resident choreographer Ma Cong dramatically recounts his life in a new full-length ballet titled Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music, premiering March 29-31. If you think a story ballet about the most renowned composer of story ballets set to, yes, a Tchaikovsky score, is a bit meta, you wouldn't be wrong. But considering the renewed importance of LGBTQ rights in society, it's a ballet perfectly timed to our era. In Russia, censorship still asserts that Tchaikovsky was not gay. The subject also calls to mind backlash surrounding an LGBTQ-themed work at Louisville Ballet just last month.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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