Ballet Stars
Misty Copeland as Juliet with American Ballet Theatre. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

Valentine's Day makes February the perfect month for ballet companies to perform Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's famous tale of star-crossed lovers. A few companies presented their versions earlier this month and many are on their way in the next few weeks. We rounded up eight companies including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Washington Ballet, Les Ballet des Monte Carlo, Orlando Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Carolina Ballet and Ballet BC to find out how they're using this classic ballet to celebrate the holiday of love.

New York City Ballet

A 12-performance run of Peter Martins' Romeo + Juliet comes in the middle of New York City Ballet's winter season, spanning from February 13-23 at the Koch Theater in New York City. This year's production marks the debuts of corps dancers Harrison Coll and Peter Walker as Romeo, and former Pointe cover star Indiana Woodward will be making her debut as Juliet. Below, hear Tiler Peck, who will dance Juliet alongside Zachary Catazarro, point out the tricky technical moments in this role and explain what makes it so special to her.

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Health & Body
Emma Love Suddarth and Dylan Wald in Price Suddarth's Signature. Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Monday morning class after a three-day weekend? Stiff. After eight weeks off? Agonizing.

For most professional dancers on their summer layoff, a break from the daily grind is simultaneously exciting and unnerving. These months are often reserved for recovery and rest—a necessary opportunity to let the body repair and recharge. How dancers spend their summer break is mixed: some teach at summer intensives; some take the extended time to travel, visiting family or exploring internationally; some choose not to pause, performing at galas or festivals; and some just want to stay home, feet up, movies on. Depending on where you dance, the break might span a couple weeks or a couple months. Regardless of length, it involves a physical wind down, as well as a build back up. While it's never going to feel entirely easy, here are a few pro tips to help smooth the transition between 1 and 100 percent.

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Ballet Careers
Alexis Fletcher rehearsing Crystal Pite's Solo Echo. Photo by Michael Slobodian, Courtesy Ballet BC.

Vancouver, British Columbia's 2010 Olympic Winter Games were golden for more than just big-name athletes.

Like so many Vancouverites at that time, Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher and her husband, former rehearsal director Sylvain Senez, struggled to keep pace with the skyrocketing cost of living. The couple wondered if they could rent out two empty bedrooms to Olympic visitors to help make ends meet. “We posted our place on Craigslist, just to see what would happen," Fletcher explains.

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I've never met a dancer who didn't wish she had the perfect ballet body. But ballet is about making the most of what we do have—and directors understand that. During her interview for Pointe's June/July issue, Ballet BC artistic director Emily Molnar told writer Michael Crabb:

 

“When you watch someone dance and you find yourself looking at her feet, that's usually because that dancer finds her feet to be the most interesting thing about her dancing. That misses the potential of this artform. Some of the greatest dancers in the world have difficult bodies. They do not have perfect feet. They do not have great lines. And they become interesting to watch. Why? Because they have to work through those challenges and they have to find the science and that intelligence inside of movement to make something of what is not perfect. A lot of times you see these bodies that should be ‘perfect,’ and yet they’re not saying anything because it just happens for them. I think the perfect body is more about what someone does with what they have. You only see it when people are alive in what they're doing.”


Andrew Bartee made a bold choice last year when he decided to leave Pacific Northwest Ballet to join Ballet BC, the dynamic Vancouver-based troupe. Now, he's preparing for their upcoming performances at Jacob's Pillow, June 24-28Pointe spoke with Bartee about his new company life for our bi-weekly newsletter. 

How was your first season with Ballet BC?
Incredible. I was looking for a huge push--physically, mentally, collaboratively--and I've found that here. Obviously, it's a much smaller group than at PNB, but we all push each other. And I adore artistic director Emily Molnar. She's a wonderful coach and is in the studio all the time with us.

Coming from PNB, how has your experience with classical ballet informed your approach at Ballet BC?
It's been a great thing to have, but also a challenge. A lot of what we do is more grounded, so I'm learning a new way to work in the studio. My body feels different now: I take much wider second positions, I try to really feel the floor and I always take class in socks!

What will you be dancing at Jacob's Pillow?
Workwithinwork by William Forsythe is very balletic, but also incorporates all the new things I'm learning. Then we're doing Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's Consagración, his Rite of Spring that deals with the idea of coming into yourself. The third piece is Cayetano Soto's Twenty Eight Thousand Waves. It has a very quiet, spiritual beginning, but later I get to break free, be myself and use everything I have.

What advice would you offer dancers seeking a similar transition to more contemporary ballet work?
When I was still at PNB, I found some drop-in classes. I took a lot of Gaga and extra modern classes. It helped me in my work at PNB but was also a window to experiment. At drop-in classes, there's really no pressure. I was going there to learn, and it helped initiate my move.
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Photo by Michael Slobodian, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow

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