Ballet Stars

The Standouts of 2017: Adrienne Benz in BalletMet's "Romeo and Juliet"

Benz with David Ward in Edwaard Liang's "Romeo and Juliet." Photo by Jennifer Zmuda, Courtesy BalletMet.

Romeo wasn't the only one falling in love during Edwaard Liang's production of Romeo and Juliet at BalletMet last April; those in the audience witnessing retiring company star Adrienne Benz's final performance as Juliet were equally captivated.

Benz and Ward. Photo by Jennifer Zmuda, Courtesy BalletMet.

The diminutive powerhouse capped her 14-year BalletMet career with a passionate portrayal of the young heroine, one that coursed with the innocence and exuberance of youth. Her combination of adroit acting and assured technique was helped along by her onstage chemistry with her partner David Ward. Together, they were utterly believable as Shakespeare's fabled star-crossed lovers.


Benz and Ward. Photo by Jennifer Zmuda, Courtesy BalletMet.

With Sergei Prokofiev's iconic score performed by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Liang's rich, operatic three-act production provided the perfect backdrop to Benz's spellbinding portrayal of Juliet—one that stands with any given in recent years.

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Stella Abrera in Alexei Ratmansky's The Seasons. Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.

Yesterday, Kaatsbaan, the Tivoli, NY-based cultural park for dance, announced that Stella Abrera will join the organization as its new artistic director, effective January 1, 2020. This news come just weeks after we learned that Abrera will be taking her final bow with American Ballet Theatre in June.

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Rachel Neville, Courtesy Audition Dancewear

When you dig through your collection of leotards before class, do you ever think about how they're made, or what they're made from? Chances are, most dancers don't, and Audition Dancewear wants to do something about that.

The company—run by two mother-daughter duos, Kathy and Caroline Perry and Shelly and Suzanna Lathrum—has begun making leotards from recycled materials to reduce their carbon footprint and raise awareness around plastic consumption. The result is a sleek line of leos that don't sacrifice style or function, and that use four or five recycled water bottles per leo.

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Francesca Hayward (center) in Cats (courtesy NBCUniversal)

Get excited, Jellicle fans: It's almost time meow!

We're about a month out from the release of the new movie version of Cats. To mark the occasion, the film's team has dropped another dance-filled trailer. The vid offers further peeks at Andy Blankenbuehler's choreography—and at the "digital fur technology"-enhanced versions of the celebrities (dance-world and, uh, world-world) involved, from Taylor Swift to Francesca Hayward.

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Sponsored by The Rock School
From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

What inspires busy pros to keep returning to their alma mater? We talked to three of The Rock School's buzziest alums about why they make it a priority to come back and teach:

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