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Onstage This Week: Justin Peck World Premiere at Houston Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet in NYC, and More!

Justin Peck rehearsing his new ballet, Reflections, with Houston Ballet. Lawrence Knox, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.


Justin Peck Creates a World Premiere for Houston Ballet

March 21-24, Houston Ballet presents a program aptly titled Premieres, featuring the world premiere of Justin Peck's Reflections. With an original score by frequent collaborator Sufjan Stevens, this marks Peck's first time creating on the company; catch a glimpse of his process in the above video. The program also includes two company premieres: Jiří Kylián's Dream Time, set to a score by Japanese composer Toru Takamitsu, and Aszure Barton's Come In, a ballet for 13 male dancers.

Atlanta Ballet Showcases Ballet's Playful Side 

Atlanta Ballet's Look/Don't Touch program, running March 22-24, features three playful works: Alexander Ekman's Cacti, Mark Morris' Sandpaper Ballet and the world premiere of AON <All or Nothing> by former Boston Ballet principal Yury Yanowsky. Hear more from Yanowsky about his work above.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Brings Three New York Premieres to the Joyce Theater

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet brings three New York premieres, all featuring live music by concert pianist Joyce Yang, to the Joyce Theater March 20-24. The program features Jorma Elo's Half/Cut/Split set to Schumann's Carnaval, Fernando Melo's Dream Play to Erik Satie, and Nicolo Fonte's Where We Left Off to Philip Glass.

Boston Ballet Presents George Balanchine's "Coppélia" 

Boston audiences can catch George Balanchine's Coppélia starting this week. Boston Ballet presents the clever, comedic classic March 21-31; catch a glimpse in the above trailer.

Sacramento Ballet Nurtures Company Choreographers

March 21-April 7, Sacramento Ballet continues its annual Beer and Ballet program, wherein company dancers have the chance to create new work on their peers in an informal setting. This year, Sacramento Ballet brings in Val Caniparoli as a choreographic advisor and mentor.

Ballet Memphis Rethinks "Giselle"

Leading up to Ballet Memphis' run of Giselle next month, on March 23, choreographers Julie Marie Niekrasz and Pablo Sanchez dive into the ballet with Through the Veil: Giselle Redux. In this one night only performance, Niekrasz and Sanchez reimagine the classic through a modern lens, including new movement and music and discussion.

San Francisco Ballet's Trainee Program Makes Rare East Coast Appearance

On March 23, Jenkintown, PA-based Metropolitan Ballet Company presents an evening of variations and collaborations in Philadelphia. The program, including works by Jessica Lang, Sarah Mettin and Ashley Walton, will feature special guest artists from San Francisco Ballet School's Trainee Program.

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The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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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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Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's October 16–27 run honors principal Herman Cornejo, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a pas de deux with his sister, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo.

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Ballet Careers
Gray Davis with wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary, after his graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Courtesy Trenary.

When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office.

Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist Cassandra Trenary, to many he's best known for saving the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The heroic effort earned him the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.

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