ABT Studio Company dancers Joseph Markey and Chloe Misseldine in the latest episode of "No Days Off." Screenshot via YouTube.
If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a member of American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company, you're in luck. The latest episode of "No Days Off," a documentary web series profiling young and inspiring athletes, spotlights 17-year-old Joseph Markey, a first-year Studio Company member. The doc not only underscores the physical aspects of Markey's training, but also the artistic refinements he must make on his road to becoming a professional dancer.
Gillian Murphy spent some time in Canada this summer. Image via Instagram @gillianemurphy
We'll admit it: As excited as we are for fall performance season to start, we are in deep, deep denial that the end of summer is in sight. And we're also experiencing some serious FOMO looking at the vacation photos flooding our Instagram feeds from some of our favorite dancers and choreographers. So where in the world do they go to unwind before gifting us with yet another season of incredible dance?
Summertime may be slipping away, but this clip from Sir Frederick Ashton's The Dream will transport you to a warm, enchanted summer evening. In this clip from an American Ballet Theater performance from 2004, Alessandra Ferri and Ethan Stiefel play Titania and Oberon, rulers of the woodland fairy realm from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream. At once regal and whimsical, the proud lovers reunite and make peace after a quarrel in this final pas de deux.
In the midst of American Ballet Theatre's annual eight-week long season at the Metropolitan Opera House, so much focus is on the company's rising stars. But it's always fun to look back at some of our ABT favorites from years past.
We love this full-length film of the third movement of Clark Tippet's 1987 Bruch Violin Concerto starring Ashley Tuttle and Ethan Stiefel. In case that's not enough, Julie Kent, Robert Hill, Paloma Herrera, Keith Roberts, Yan Chen and Angel Corella join the leads on stage in a flurry of jewel-colored tutus.
Since 2000, megastars and budding ballet celebrities alike have graced the covers of Pointe. Take a walk with us down memory lane as we recall some of the biggest names from some of our earliest issues. Whether they continue to perform or have transitioned to a position at the front of the studio, these stars have real staying power.
Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky (May/June 2001)
Then: Pegged as "Ballet's Hottest Couple" on our cover, the duo had recently joined American Ballet Theatre as principals.
Now: Though both have retired from ABT, they run a summer intensive in New York City, give limited performances as guest artists and have even designed items, like ballet booties, for Bloch.Dvorovenko also had a major role in the Starz's ballet drama "Flesh and Bone."
Svetlana Zakharova (July/August 2001)
Then: Zakharova was a young principal with the Mariinsky Ballet.
Now: She's still tantalizing audiences with her breathtaking performances of ballets like Swan Lake—but with the Bolshoi Ballet. Last year, Zakharova also became a guest artist with Bavarian State Ballet.
Tamara Rojo (November/December 2001)
Then: The Spanish dancer was a leading performer with The Royal Ballet.
Now: If someone can do it all, it's Rojo. She's currently balancing dual roles at English National Ballet as artistic director and principal dancer. Pointe even named her performance with Irek Mukhamedov in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Broken Wings one of the Standouts of 2016.
Misty Copeland (February/March 2002)
Then: Way before Misty Copeland became a household name, she scored her first Pointe cover as a promising member of ABT's corps.
Now: As ABT's first female African American principal, she's an all-around ballet superhero. Copeland has catapulted ballet into the mainstream and has championed issues like having a positive body image and diversity in dance.
Then: The international ballet star had loads of fans at The Royal Ballet, but Big Apple audiences were also getting acquainted with him since he'd recently appeared as a guest with ABT.
Now: He's busy leading his own company, Acosta Danza, in his native Cuba.
Paloma Herrera (December 2002/January 2003)
Then: The Argentinian dancer was wowing New York audiences as a principal at ABT.
Now: Earlier this month, Herrera became artistic director of Teatro Colón's ballet company in Buenos Aires. We can't wait to see what she does in her new position.
Ethan Stiefel (February/March 2003)
Then: Though he launched his professional career with NYCB, Stiefel was an ABT principal by the time he appeared on our cover.
Now: Stiefel had a short stint as artistic director of Royal New Zealand Ballet from 2011 to 2014, but now, he's focusing on choreographing. His first major choreographic commission will premiere in May at The Washington Ballet.
Former American Ballet Theatre star Ethan Stiefel will choreograph a new work to complete The Washington Ballet's triple bill in late May. When we first heard about artistic director Julie Kent's 2017 programming, we wondered which choreographer would join the bill alongside Frederick Ashton's The Dream and Antony Tudor's Jardin aux Lilas.
The Washington Postreports that Stiefel's ballet will take inspiration from John F. Kennedy's investment in the U.S. space program and will feature a commissioned score by composer Adam Crystal. The ballet, with the working title Frontier, is set to coincide with the president's centennial.
Ethan Stiefel on the set of Flesh and Bone. Photo by Myles Aronowitz, courtesy Starz.
Earlier this year, former American Ballet Theatre principal Cynthia Harvey became the new artistic director of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. Now, she's made her first faculty appointments. The faculty for the 2016-17 school year (Harvey's first season in her new role) was announced yesterday, and the lineup is pretty stellar. Here are a few of the highlights:
—Ethan Stiefel, the former ABT principal, Center Stage star and Flesh and Bone choreographer, will join the faculty as a principal guest instructor, working with the pre-professional division students.
—Robert LaFosse, a former ABT and New York City Ballet principal, will also teach in the pre-professional division.
—Former Hamburg Ballet and Royal Winnipeg Ballet dancer Fabrice Herrault is also joining the faculty. Now a world-renowned teacher, he's worked with dancers like Aran Bell and The Royal Ballet's Beatriz Stix-Brunell.
—A former dancer with Paris Opéra Ballet, Karin Averty has become a well-known New York City-based teacher, and now joins the JKO School's faculty.
This year's students are a lucky bunch. The JKO School is known for producing some of ABT's most exciting rising dancers—artists like Calvin Royal III, Skylar Brandt and our June/July cover star, Cassandra Trenary. And with such a strong group of teachers leading the way, who knows what exciting things we might expect from a new crop of students.
Chances are you've heard a lot about Starz's "Flesh and Bone" over the past year, from its casting choices (22 professional dancers make up the show's fictional ballet company) to Sarah Hay's Golden Globe-nominated performance as a talented yet troubled young dancer who runs away from an abusive home to join a New York City ballet company.
But have you seen it yet? For those who have been eagerly waiting, here's a piece of welcome news: the series was recently released on DVD and Blu-ray. Full disclosure: due to depictions of graphic sexuality and drug use, this show has a MA rating and is not for kids. But while the show's mature content and dark themes don't always present the ballet world in the best light, there's no doubt that it also features some pretty great dancing—as evidenced in the exclusive behind-the-scenes clip below. The video provides a glimpse of choreographer Ethan Stiefel working with the dancers on two ballets: Balanchine's "Rubies," and a new work that Stiefel created for the series.