News
Reid Anderson teaching class at Stuttgart Ballet. Photo by Roman Novitsky, courtesy Stuttgart Ballet.

Stuttgart Ballet artistic director Reid Anderson will be the first to admit that his company loves a good party. "We celebrate quite a lot here," he says. Indeed, there's much to celebrate this week in the industrial German city famous for Porsche and Mercedes Benz: after 39 years at Stuttgart Ballet—17 as a dancer and 22 as artistic director—Anderson is retiring. And the company is giving him a grand, 10-day send-off. A Reid Anderson Celebration starts Friday, July 13 and continues through July 22, with a different event almost every night. The festival includes the film premiere of John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, full-length performances of Christian Spuck's Lulu. A Monstre Tragedy and Cranko's Onegin, three mixed-repertory evenings, a one-man show starring Anderson himself, and a star-studded farewell gala.

Hired into Stuttgart Ballet by legendary choreographer John Cranko at 19, the Canadian-born Anderson rose to become a principal dancer. He then directed Ballet British Columbia and the National Ballet of Canada before returning to take the helm of Stuttgart Ballet in 1996. He is leaving behind an impressive legacy: a diverse repertoire that includes 112 world premieres, internationally acclaimed dancers (Alicia Amatriain, Friedemann Vogel and Jason Reilly to name a few), a new building for the John Cranko School, a diaspora of alumni now choreographing or leading companies, and a 94 percent audience attendance rate. I spoke with Anderson over the phone last month to reflect on his career and to see what's next for him.

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2018 YoungArts winner Margarita Armas. Photo by Gesi Shilling, Courtesy YoungArts

If you are a dancer in high school, listen up! The National YoungArts Foundation has announced that now, through October 12, it is accepting applications to become a 2019 YoungArts winner. Every year the foundation identifies talented teenage artists across multiple disciplines, providing monetary awards up to $10,000, mentorship opportunities (with renowned professionals like Mikhail Baryshnikov), and a chance to participate in regional workshops in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. To qualify, dancers need to be between the ages of 15–18 or in high school grades 10–12, as well as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

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Just for fun
Screenshot via YouTube

Other than being one of the nicest and funniest people on earth, Ellen DeGeneres also happens to have a knack for spotting talented dancers. Thanks to the comedian's dance obsession, world-class dancers like Tiler Peck, Lex Ishimoto, and Travis Wall have performed on her hit talk show "Ellen," with dance all-star tWitch retaining a permanent role as the show's DJ.

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News
Kochetkova in Helgi Tomasson's Trio. Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

San Francisco Ballet announced this morning that principal dancer Maria Kochetkova will leave the company at the the end of the 2017–18 season. Her final performance date has not yet been announced, but it will be sometime during the company's Unbound Festival, April 20–May 6.

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"Confetti" by Margot Hallac, of dancer Misa Kuranaga. Used with permission by Hallac, via Instagram

Growing up in Hong Kong, Margot Hallac always knew she had a knack for the arts. After training in ballet as a child and teen, she eventually found herself focusing on visual arts and moved to New York City to study at the Parsons School of Design. Now a graphic designer, she's since resumed her dance training—and is melding her talents together.

Outside of her day job, Hallac started creating her own artwork and noticed that the subject matter was gravitating towards ballet. Shortly after, Pointebrush was born. Not only does she frequently share her work on the site and its wildly popular Instagram account (with over 15,000 followers), she also sells her unique designs on phone cases, mugs, t-shirts, and as framed prints. We caught up with Hallac to hear more about her stunning ballerina art and where she draws inspiration for her work.



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Ballet Stars
Steven McRae at the 2003 Prix de Lausanne performing the variation from "Le Corsaire." Photo Courtesy Prix de Lausanne.

This week, young ballet dancers from across the globe have been studying and competing for coveted scholarships at the Prix de Lausanne. This infamous competition has been a launch pad for many of the ballet world's biggest stars. One such star is Royal Ballet principal Steven McRae, who was a prize winner in 2003 with these two outstanding performances in the finals.

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Ballet Stars
Derek Dunn in William Forsythe's "In the middle, somewhat elevated" at Houston Ballet. Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy HB.

A year ago, Derek Dunn was one of Houston Ballet's brightest young talents (oh, and he was also gracing Pointe's cover). So some were surprised when he announced that he'd be joining Boston Ballet as a soloist this season. We caught up with Dunn as he prepares for two season-opening premieres November 3–12, to see how he's settling in.



You danced with Houston Ballet for five years. Why did you leave?

It wasn't really about me leaving Houston—it was more me being curious about what else was out there. I got really lucky when I landed that job. I did a competition and afterwards Stanton [Welch, HB's artistic director] asked me to audition for an apprenticeship. I wasn't even necessarily looking for a job at the time; I was only a junior in high school, and I wasn't really sure if I was going to continue training for another year. So Houston Ballet was the only place that I even auditioned for, and really all I knew. After five years, I think it's only natural to be curious about how other places work and what their environments might be like. When I came to Boston to take class last year, I felt an immediate positive energy from everyone. On top of everything else the company has to offer—the rep, the talented dancers, the city—it was hard to pass it up.

What's it like being the new guy at Boston Ballet?

I've been really happy with my decision so far. Of course, joining a new company, you're not really sure what you're going to be thrown into. You have to prove yourself right away. But the amount of opportunities I've gotten already has been incredible and I'm really excited to do everything this season. It's been a really good start so far—very busy, but good.

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Ballet Training
Danny Rivera (left) is one of six students from San Juan who the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School is hoping to relocate so he can continue his training. Photo by Soho Images, Courtesy SCBS.

Many of us take our ballet training for granted. But for dancers living in Puerto Rico, which is still reeling from the devastating affects of last month's Hurricane Maria, pursuing a ballet career or simply taking class must now feel insurmountable. What do you do when Mother Nature not only destroys your dance studio, but your home and the majority of the city you live in? Priorities must shift to those of basic survival.

Now, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School is trying to help six Puerto Rican dancers resume their training. The students, whose studio in San Juan was badly damaged, had recently attended SCBS's summer intensive. School directors Ariel Serrano and Wilmian Hernandez have started a fundraising effort called "Sarasota And Puerto Rico Dance Together" to temporarily relocate the dancers. While they can easily offer them scholarships, Serrano and Hernandez must raise an additional $36,000 to provide housing, food and living expenses for one year. (SCBS has a dormitory for female students, but not for male students.)

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Millepied in rehearsal for "I Feel the Earth Move" at ABT. Photo by Marisa Kraxberger, Courtesy ABT.

Though American Ballet Theatre is known for producing top-tier stars, the company is giving its more junior dancers a chance to shine during their 2017 fall Lincoln Center season. ABT's opening night gala will feature a world premiere by Jessica Lang performed by ABT apprentices, members of the ABT Studio Company and advanced students from the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.

Today, Artistic director Kevin McKenzie announced the addition of a new work by Benjamin Millepied showcasing 24 dancers from the Studio Company and JKO School. But this is no ordinary piece; Millepied has created a site specific work to be performed during select intermissions on the David H. Koch Theater promenade. Titled Counterpoint for Philip Johnson, the piece is described as "an ode to the theater's architect." It will feature costumes by sportswear designer Rag & Bone and music by minimalist composer Steve Reich. Counterpoint represents the first time that ABT will present a work at Lincoln Center to be performed outside of a proscenium theater. We're excited to see younger dancers at the forefront of such boundary-breaking work.

While site specific work is a valued part of the postmodern canon, it's scarcely used in ballet. Yet Millepied is no stranger to this kind of work. Millepied, the artistic director of L.A. Dance Project, has created a series of films for his company set in different urban locales (like the concrete sprawl of the Los Angeles River.) "Ben takes his work off the stage and offers the audience a different point of view," said McKenzie in a statement. "I think it will challenge one's expectations of how to experience dance."

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Ballet Stars
NYCB Soloist Indiana Woodward in a costume fitting for Justin Peck's premiere. Photo via NYCB on Instagram.

Last night was New York City Ballet's annual Fall Fashion Gala at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater. Billed as "Uniting the Worlds of Ballet and Fashion," the event paired choreographers with high fashion designers. Chaired by known fashion icon and NYCB board of directors vice-chairman Sarah Jessica Parker, the evening attracted big names in the worlds of dance and fashion. This year's gala featured four premieres choreographed by NYCB affiliates: company dancers Troy Schumacher, Lauren Lovette and Justin Peck and School of American Ballet Alumna and current Dresden Semperoper Ballett apprentice Gianna Reisen. Reisen, 18, is the youngest person to choreograph for NYCB to date.

Gain greater insight into the minds of the designers and choreographers in this NYCB produced video, screened at the Koch Theater last night before the start of the show, and check out some of the night's best moments (and outfits) from the red carpet to the stage.

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Miami City Ballet prepares for Hurricane Irma. Photo via Twitter.

As Hurricane Irma made its way through the Caribbean last week, Sarasota Ballet principal Ellen Overstreet was closely following the news. Tracking its progress, she made plans with fellow company members Asia Bui and Madysen Felber: "Wednesday was the most stressful day. We went to five different grocery stores. There was no gas; there was no water. Our plan was to stock up one of our apartments and sleep over all together."

By Friday night, however, the storm had shifted west, its radius enveloping Sarasota and prompting many company members (those who hadn't already booked flights out) to evacuate. In a last-minute decision, Overstreet, Bui and Felber packed up a car and drove to Tampa, where they spent the night safely. Yet the storm progressed, and in another night flight they headed for Orlando to stay with Overstreet's friend's family. The central Floridian city saw flooding damage, downed awnings, and power outages like much of the state, but Overstreet says that she was in "a strong house and felt secure" while hunkering down to wait out the storm.

Few things are more terrifying than the prospect of 170+ mile per hour winds literally chasing you upstate. But the anticipation for Irma intensified sharply in Hurricane Harvey's aftermath. Last week, we reported that the Houston Ballet Center for Dance and its home theater sustained serious flooding damage. The company's first program has been postponed, to be performed at a later date in a back-up venue.

We checked in with some of Florida's ballet companies to see how they weathered this most recent storm.

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Fairchild and Sterling Hilton in "Duo Concertant." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

New York City Ballet announced today that principal dancer Robert Fairchild will give his final performances with the company this October. Since his 2015 leave of absence to make his Broadway debut as Jerry Mulligan in Christopher Wheeldon's An American in Paris, Fairchild's presence on the Koch Theater stage has been rare. A true song-and-dance man, as a child he dreamt of following in the footsteps (or tap shoes) of Gene Kelly. Fairchild leaves the world of ballet to take on the surplus of opportunities in musical theater that have recently come his way.


Fairchild in "Apollo." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

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