Trending
Royal Ballet principal Sarah Lamb taking onstage class at The Joyce Theater. Kyle Froman.

New York City's dance scene is having its own "British invasion" right now. The 2019 edition of The Joyce Theater's annual Ballet Festival, taking place now through August 18, is curated by a team from The Royal Ballet, and a small group of company members are in town to perform. (The festival also features special guests from National Ballet of Canada, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and New York Theater Ballet.) And while Royal Ballet director Kevin O'Hare had a huge hand in developing the event and planning its first program, he tapped two of his principal dancers—Lauren Cuthbertson and Edward Watson—as well as frequent company designer Jean-Marc Puissant, to curate programs of their own. "Anytime I go to dance events I see them there—they're always interested in what's going on and have such deep knowledge of choreographers," says O'Hare. "I thought they would be up for the challenge."

Most exciting for us, of course, is the chance to see some of The Royal's star dancers. In addition to Watson and Cuthbertson (who are dancing heavily in their own programs), principals Sarah Lamb and Marcelino Sambé (newly promoted, and our April/May cover star) are in town, as well as rising dancers Calvin Richardson, Romany Pajdak and Joseph Sissens. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to see them in action, and last week the company graciously allowed us to sit in on morning class for a Pointe photo exclusive. Check them out below!


Keep reading... Show less
News
Sara Mearns and Honji Wang in No. 1. Photo by Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow.

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

Keep reading... Show less

William Shakespeare's plays have provided inspiration to dozens of choreographers, but have you ever wondered how dance-makers translate his complex writing into beautiful dancing?

This video from The Royal Ballet (a company full of natural dance-actors) provides an amazing illustration. Christopher Wheeldon's latest full-length ballet, The Winter's Tale, features Royal Ballet principal Edward Watson as the jealous and possessive King Leontes. In this video, actor Geoffrey Streatfield recites some of King Leontes' lines while Watson dances the scene they inspired. You can see how Leontes is teetering on the brink of madness—both in Streatfield's acting and Watson's movement.

 

It's like a peek inside Wheeldon's creative process!

Curious about how the rest of The Winter's Tale looks, translated into a ballet? The Royal has a ton of information on it's website about how the ballet was choreographed, designed and composed.

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue.

 

Ballet Stars
Edward Watson as Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis. Photo by Tristram Kenton, Courtesy ROH.

Royal Ballet principal Edward Watson is known the world over for his incredible range, whether he's dancing dramatic works like MacMillan's Manon or creating roles with contemporary forces Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon. But when he's working out, Watson leaves his creativity at the door. “For me, it's all about maintenance," he says. “I think of it like brushing your teeth or washing your hair, you know? I have to do certain things in order to make my body do what I want it to."

Pilates prowess: Before class, Watson wakes up his turnout with a progression of Pilates mat exercises. “It's all about opening from the hips," he says, “so that when my muscles are tired I don't turn out from my knees or ankles or grip my feet." He's been working with the same teacher in Notting Hill for the last 15 years.

Keep reading... Show less
Lauren Cuthbertson and Edward Watson in Christopher Wheeldon's The Winter's Tale. Photo by Johan Persson, Courtesy ROH.

In June, The Royal Ballet will tour the U.S. for the first time since 2009. The company will present Carlos Acosta's classical Don Quixote in Washington, DC, and Chicago, while New York City audiences will see two all-British mixed bills: one with heritage work by Kenneth MacMillan and Frederick Ashton and another with contemporary choreography by Wayne McGregor, Liam Scarlett and Christopher Wheeldon. Pointe spoke with Edward Watson and Lauren Cuthbertson, both Royal Ballet principals, prior to the tour.

Keep reading... Show less

Watson in Kim Brandstrup and Wayne McGregor's Machina

You have incredible flexibility—how has that changed over the years?

I’ve learnt how to use it to say what it can, rather than just flashing it around and being a freak. It’s easier to control now; I’m stronger than I was. It’s become a really amazing tool for me to tell a story.

What is it like playing a bug in The Metamorphosis?

It’s extraordinary because—is he a bug? Is it a metaphor for someone who’s had some kind of breakdown, someone who has a physical deformity? I don’t really think of it as a bug. It’s something that isn’t human, and that’s the absurdity of the whole story.

Do you identify with some of your roles?

I have to be careful because they’re all psychos! There are things in all the MacMillan ballets that I identify with: being a bit of an outsider, that kind of obsessive love. You don’t always realize that there is part of that in you until you’ve done it.

How nervous do you get before a performance?

I normally don’t sleep at all the night before, just from thinking about what I want to achieve. I’m anxious until about 5:30 pm on the day, and then something happens to me. I go, “I’m going to do this.” And I’m fine.

What do you enjoy more: performing or being in the studio?

Performing, but, frustratingly, I’ve actually given some of my best performances in the studio.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

Eating out all the time, because I’m the worst cook in the world. I like going to new restaurants, and I’m up for trying anything. I am kind of a foodie—I just don’t want to cook it myself!

Do you like curtain calls?

I hate them. It’s not that I’m not appreciative, but it’s like you’ve been in this other world, and then you snap back into reality. I have this weird moment when I’m completely overwhelmed. I guess I do secretly love it, but it’s not my reason to dance.

There have been rumblings about Wendy Whelan's New York City Ballet retirement for a while now. As of this morning, it's official: The revered principal dancer will take her final bow with the company on October 18.

There's no word yet on what she'll dance for that last show, the culmination of three decades of extraordinary work with NYCB. Yet, however emotional that moment is guaranteed to be, this is just the end of one chapter in Whelan's remarkable career.

Next up is the U.K. premiere of her Restless Creature program in July. (The U.S. Restless Creature tour, which she was forced to cancel this spring due to her longer-than-anticipated recovery from hip surgery, has also been rescheduled for early 2015.) In July of 2015, she'll premiere a new project with the Royal Ballet's Edward Watson in London; that venture will make its way to the U.S. in the spring of 2016. And as if that weren't enough to keep her busy, Whelan has also been appointed artistic associate at New York City Center. For two years, beginning this November, the theater will be her home base, a place for her to develop future projects.

Long story short: Yes, we'll miss Wendy's inimitable presence on the City Ballet stage. But this restless creature isn't abandoning us anytime soon.

This week, The Royal Ballet will premiere Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works, a full-length ballet inspired by the work of modernist writer Virginia Woolf. Paired with a new score by Max Richter, Woolf Works is McGregor’s first full-length piece for the Royal, and it is ambitious.


Woolf hedged a new mode of realism with her beloved texts. This bold, genre-transcendent quality of her work seems to be what has attracted McGregor. Though Woolf Works will focus on three of her novels, The Waves, Mrs. Dalloway and Orlando, along with some of her autobiographical work, McGregor is generally interested in the way “the world keeps shifting” in her writing style. It’s true - perspective shifts constantly in Woolf’s works, destabilizing concepts of time, space and narrator. We got a glimpse of how this will translate to movement in rehearsal footage released earlier this week. Alessandra Ferri and Federico Bonelli capture the fluidity of Woolf’s writing in a duet inspired by The Waves, and Edward Watson embodies the disruptive quality of her narrative style in a fast-paced solo. (Check out a run of each section in the last four minutes of each video!)

 


 


 

 

mailbox

Get Pointe Magazine in your inbox