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From left: Peter Walker, Harrison Coll. Photos by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

A company's corps de ballet is rarely the pool from which title roles are plucked. Yet New York City Ballet seems to buck convention, especially for its full-length production of Peter Martins' Romeo + Juliet. When it debuted back in 2007, the ballet featured a cast of untested corps members and apprentices as the eponymous stars. (A School of American Ballet student was originally tapped to dance Juliet, but she wasn't able to perform due to injury.) At the time Martins, who recently retired as NYCB's ballet master in chief, attributed his casting choices to the characters' ages in Shakespeare's play; Juliet and Romeo are 14 and 19, respectively. Also, he remarked, "Never underestimate youth."

This week, two young Romeos are stepping up from the company's corps. Harrison Coll made his debut on February 13, opening night, alongside principal Sterling Hyltin (the original Juliet in the production's opening night performance back in 2007). Peter Walker follows on Friday, February 16.

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New York Fashion week is well and good, but the dance world awaits New York City Ballet's Fall Gala with equal anticipation. Each year, the company partners with couture designers to create elaborate, unexpected costumes for the handful of world premieres. Peter Copping, the creative director of Oscar de la Renta, has embarked on his first attempt at costume design rather than high fashion: He's redesigning the costumes for Peter Martins' Thou Swell.

Thou Swell premiered in 2003 and was last performed in 2013, and Coppings creations signify a major visual redesign for the piece. How's this green fringed dress for a contemporary tutu?

 

(Photo via Women's Wear Daily)

 

Copping is in good company—Thom Browne, Prabal Gurung, Carolina Herrera, Mary Katrantzou, Olivier Theyskens, Iris Van Herpen and Valentino have all designed for NYCB. As with all of the company's couture collaborations, I'm excited to see how the clothes work onstage. If the movement of that fringe is any indication, it should be glamorous indeed. Check out more costumes for Thou Swell here.

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