Ballet Stars

The Standouts of 2017: Simone Messmer in Miami City Ballet's "The Fairy's Kiss"

Messmer in "The Fairy's Kiss." Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Miami City Ballet.

An ambiguous figure—does she bless or curse an orphaned boy?—but clear-cut in the beauty of her steps, the title character of Alexei Ratmansky's The Fairy's Kiss gained dimension, thanks to Simone Messmer's bold portrayal. In this history-steeped premiere for Miami City Ballet, the principal dancer—then in her second year with the company—flashed through as an obstinate spirit, a mysterious gypsy and a shrewd seductress: all manifestations of a beguiling dealer in destiny. Whether leading her supernatural posse or intruding upon human affairs, Messmer's fairy stayed aloft on Stravinsky's music to follow the dictates of drama, which Ratmansky distilled from a Hans Christian Andersen story and its earlier ballet productions. Messmer has praised the renowned Russian choreographer for the humanity he shows through the logic of his classicism. That sentiment—really a recognition of a practitioner's reverence for the art form—must certainly be mutual.

Messmer in "The Fairy's Kiss." Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy MCB.

Ballet Stars
Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC

It's hard to imagine the National Ballet of Canada without ballerina Greta Hodgkinson. Yet this week NBoC announced that the longtime company star will take her final bow in March, as Marguerite in Sir Frederick Ashton's Marguerite and Armand.

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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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News
Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

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Viral Videos

What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.

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