Ballet Stars
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We might be biased, but we think that ballet dancers are unusually good at Halloween. After all, they wear costumes for a living, are familiar with elaborate hair and makeup techniques and own leotards in most colors of the rainbow (the perfect base for any costume).

We perused Instagram to find our favorite dancer looks from Halloween 2019. Though it was certainly hard to narrow down the pool, we've rounded up 12 of our favorite posts below. So pull out what's left of your Halloween candy, and enjoy!

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News
Many of this morning's students outside the "GMA" studios with the five teachers in the front row. Chava Lansky.

At 6:30 this morning, I exited the subway in Times Square and walked towards the group of dancers gathered outside the "Good Morning America" studios. The moment I entered the fray, any lingering early morning grogginess disappeared; the energy in the crowd was palpable. By 7 am, the time that "GMA" goes live to millions nationwide, over 300 dancers of all stripes had gathered, and class began.

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Joseph Gordon, pictured here in George Balanchine's Who Cares?, became New York City Ballet's newest principal this weekend. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

On October 13, the evening before the close of New York City Ballet's fall season and longtime principal Joaquin De Luz's retirement performance, Jonathan Stafford, the leader of the company's interim artistic team, promoted seven company dancers: six men and one woman. In addition to De Luz, NYCB lost three other principal men this fall. Chase Finlay, Zachary Catazaro and Amar Ramasar were fired last month in the midst of a scandal surrounding the sharing of sexually explicit communications. With principal Adrian Danchig-Waring out of commission while recovering from a broken foot, the company has been in need of male dancers to bolster its upper ranks.

Joseph Gordon has been promoted to principal, and Daniel Applebaum, Harrison Coll, Claire Kretzschmar, Aaron Sanz, Sebastian Villarini-Velez and Peter Walker have been promoted to soloist. All seven made a number of debuts throughout the year and shone in featured roles; we've rounded up some of their recent accomplishments below.

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Ballet Stars
Jacques d'Amboise and Adrian Danchig-Waring in conversation at the National Dance Institute. Photo Courtesy NDI.

"Jerry, throughout his life, wanted a world where races, cultures and people came together without conflict and hate and anger, but lovingly, to make a community." These words were spoken earlier this week by Jacques d'Amboise at an event titled Upper West Side Story: A Celebration of Jerome Robbins, hosted by National Dance Institute, which d'Amboise founded in 1976 to provide free arts education to children in New York City and beyond. D'Amboise then reiterated his point by quietly singing the famous refrain from West Side Story, which Robbins choreographed and directed for both screen and stage: "There's a place for us."

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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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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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In just five short years, New York City Ballet corps member Troy Schumacher has grown BalletCollective from a small side project into a company ready to take the stage at the Vail International Dance Festival. For Pointe's bi-weekly newsletter, we spoke with Schumacher as he prepped his troupe for their debut in the mountains on Aug. 2.

What will BalletCollective be performing at Vail? 
A duet I choreographed called Dear and Blackbirds that premiered last October. It's danced by Harrison Coll and Ashley Laracey and is fairly unique because every element was created for these two dancers. Poet Cynthia Zarin wrote a poem that served as inspiration for the structure and tone for both the music and the choreography.

How would you describe the movement language?
When I choreographed the piece, Harrison Coll was just finishing his first year with NYCB as an apprentice, and Ashley is a soloist with NYCB. Her choreography is beautiful, grounded and languid and just very calm and confident. Harrison's is extremely energetic, and he has a wonderfully springy movement quality where everything's kind of fresh. It's about them slowly having their energy dynamics meet somewhere in the middle.

What's it like working with your wife Ashley Laracey on such an intimate project?
All of BalletCollective's works are very dancer specific, and I know Ashley so well. For this duet, there are even certain snippets that I choreographed on the two of us, visualizing Harrison and what he could do. That has extra meaning. And last fall Harrison broke his foot, so I ended up dancing the premiere with Ashley.

How does having your own company help you in your work at NYCB?
I've always been really fascinated with how companies work. I think having to start this from the ground up--I do the majority of BalletCollective's administrative work myself--has made me appreciate what everybody on NYCB's administrative side puts into our seasons. I also think that when you start choreographing, you approach dancing in a different way.
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Above: BalletCollective's Ashley Laracey and Harrison Coll. Photo by Whitney Browne, Courtesy Helene Davis Public Relations.

 

Onstage at New York City Ballet, principal Ashley Bouder is known for her explosive jumps and stage presence. Offstage, she's developing directorial skills with The Ashley Bouder Project, a group of fellow NYCB dancers who will perform works by Adriana Pierce, Andrea Schermoly and Joshua Beamish this week. For Pointe's bi-weekly newsletter, we caught up with Bouder via email before her Project's shows at the Joyce Theater's Ballet Festival, Aug. 8-9.

What inspired you to create The Ashley Bouder Project?
I am from a small town, and ballet gave me a career and a life. If I can travel to other small towns and share my love of dance with new audiences, or reach people on their phones and tablets who don't have dance where they live, then I'm doing my part to share ballet. I think my generation is doing great work to further the potential of what ballet can be and the place the arts have in society.

How do you juggle the roles of dancing and directing for this project?
It can be challenging! In addition to working with the collaborators, I am running to costume fittings, coaching the dancers, creating the new works with the choreographers, and then sitting down to dinner with a supporter. All of this on top of an already demanding schedule with New York City Ballet. But I'm lucky to have a great co-producer, Phil Chan. That allows me the time to really work on the artistic quality for each piece.

Much of what you're presenting at the Joyce showcases the work of female choreographers. Why is this important to you?
There is historically a lack of women in positions of power in ballet--except onstage. If the ballet repertory is the creative soul of a dance company, whose stories are we telling? On a more basic level, it's great to collaborate with a female choreographer who knows the female body inside and out, what is possible on pointe, where my weight is, because they have actually lived it.

For even more interviews, tips, audition info and giveaways, sign up for our FREE e-newsletter.
Above: Bouder with Amar Ramasar in Joshua Beamish's Rouge et Noir. Photo by Rebekah Spurlock, Courtesy The Ashley Bouder Project.

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