News
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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Ballet Stars
Postelwaite and Pantastico's powerful reunion in "Cendrillon." Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB.

Lucien Postlewaite's Prince was anything but charming last February in Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of Cendrillon, Jean-Christophe Maillot's contemporary take on the Cinderella story. He strutted and preened, egged on by his friends. But once this prince met Cendrillon at the ball, his egotism gave way to lyrical grace, from the curve of his neck through his elegant extensions. For her part, Noelani Pantastico embodied the role of Cendrillon, taking us on her journey from a lonely, unwanted stepdaughter to a lovestruck young woman. Both dancers glided through the technically demanding choreography, infusing it with heartfelt emotion. This may be a fairy tale, but the romance felt real.

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Ballet Stars
Vladislav Lantritov and Ekaterina Krysanova in "Taming of the Shrew." Photo by Alice Blangero, Courtesy Bolshoi Ballet.

If you haven't checked your local movie listings yet for this weekend, hop to it. The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema series and Fathom Events is broadcasting a performance of Jean-Christophe Maillot's The Taming of the Shrew to theaters nationwide on Sunday, November 19. (To see if it's playing near you and to purchase tickets, click here.) While the rest of the Bolshoi's cinema season features 19th- and 20th-century classics, The Taming of the Shrew gives audiences a chance to see the revered Moscow company in a thoroughly modern, 21st-century take on Shakespeare's famous play.

Aside from a limited run in New York City this July, American audiences have had little exposure to Maillot's 2014 production. To learn more, check out these two exclusive, behind-the-scenes webisodes below. Principal dancer Ekaterina Krysanova, who stars as the hotheaded Katharina, gives an intimate play-by-play of two major scenes in Act I. The first is her fiery rejection of three potential suitors (who all would prefer to marry Katharina's younger sister Bianca).

The second scene breaks down Katharina's first encounter with Petruchio (danced by the larger-than-life Vladislav Lantritov), the only man who seems to be able to challenge her. Here, too, we see the shrew's heart start to soften. (Don't miss her time-stopping attitude turn at 4:27.)

The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Series continues through June; for more details on upcoming screenings, click here.

Ballet Stars

In a dream world we'd all be able to pop over to the Bolshoi to see the best of Russian ballet whenever we want. But because (unfortunately) that's not a possibility for most of us, the Bolshoi makes it easier by bringing their masterpieces to the silver screen. Now in its 8th year, the 2017-18 Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema season presents a wide range of classic story ballets restaged by some of today's most celebrated choreographers. Movie theaters nationwide will screen these ballets starting on October 22; you can find the closest cinema to your hometown here. So grab a ballet-loving friend and a bucket of popcorn and be sure to get your tickets soon—if these knockout trailers are any indication, tickets are bound to sell out fast.

First up is Le Corsaire. Reworked by Alexei Ratmansky (a theme of this year's selections) from Petipa's 19th century classic, this ballet is billed by the Bolshoi as one of their "most lavish productions." A full shipwreck on stage? Yeah, "lavish" seems about right.

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Admit it: You've considered the various ways you could sneak your favorite costume home with you. We don't blame you. Whether it's a jaw-dropping tutu or the world's most comfortable slip, costumes are made to make dancers look and feel beautiful. Here, we've rounded up some of our favorites, that just happen to be street-style ready.

Justin Peck's Entre Chien et Loup, at the Paris Opéra Ballet, featured stunning dresses by couture designer Mary Katrantzou which wouldn't look out of place on the streets of New York City. Peck and Katrantzou also worked together for his Belles Lettres at New York City Ballet—though those sheer, lace covered costumes are probably best left onstage.

Paris Opéra Ballet's Sae Eun Park (photo by Francette Levieux)

The costumes for Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette were designed by Jérôme Kaplan and the iridescent dresses are utterly 90s-chic. Throw a choker on with Juliette's party-scene dress and you're ready to step out tonight.

Former Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Carla Körbes (photo by Angela Sterling)

The costumes for Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room are iconic: Bright red, with black and white stripes (not to mention crisp white sneakers and red pointe shoes). The costumes were designed by another famous name in couture: Norma Kamali. Her costumes for Tharp wouldn't be out of place at an art opening or summertime concert.

(Photo via Miami City Ballet)

The new costumes for NYCB ballet master Peter Martins' Thou Swell were designed by Oscar de la Renta's Peter Copping. The results are spectacularly glamorous, and we can't really think of an occasion that would merit wearing something so fabulous. Maybe the Met Gala?

 

NYCB principals Sara Mearns and Rebecca Krohn (photos by Erin Baiano)

 

NYCB principals Sterling Hyltin and Teresa Reichlen (photos by Erin Baiano)

The costumes for Mark Morris' After You were designed by none other than Isaac Mizrahi. The jumpsuits would be so much fun to wear to an early-summer picnic...or maybe jet-setting around the Mediterranean.

American Ballet Theatre dancers (photo by Rosalie O'Connor)

 

The simple color palate of the costumes for Jiří Kylián's Forgotten Land brings to mind twilight and the approaching end of the year. These flattering dresses, designed by Kylián himself, would fit right in at a winter holiday party.

Pennsylvania Ballet dancers (photo by Alexander Iziliaev)

What are your favorite "street-style" costumes?

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

 

Click here to watch video footage from the 2011 Tremplin Jeunes Ballets. Look for more on the event in an upcoming issue of Pointe.

The dreaded audition tour: It's a time-consuming, expensive, nerve-wracking part of a young dancer's career. And yet, until a few years ago, it was pretty much the only way to get a job, particularly if you had your sights set on a company on the other side of the country--or the world.

Enter Tremplin Jeunes Ballets ("youth ballet springboard"), an international and, as of this year, annual event that streamlines the cumbersome audition process. Last week, 50 dancers from schools and youth ballets all over the world gathered in beautiful Monaco to audition for 35--count 'em--35 company directors, a truly mind-boggling meeting of the minds. The goal? To broker as many dancer-company marriages as possible. Last year, 30 dancers signed contracts by the end of the week-long event; this year, to date, 31 contracts have been offered.

And forget about scraping together enough money for the plane fare: All participating dancers' expenses are covered each year by the Princess Grace Foundation. Jean-Christophe Maillot, artistic director of the Monaco Dance Forum (which hosts the event), told me that he has not-so-fond memories of begging his grandmother for money to buy train tickets for his own audition tour. "Sometimes--most of the time--talent isn't accompanied by money," he said. "I thought, 'Let's fix that problem.'"

The directors who attended this year, invited by Maillot, were a carefully curated group. Though most were from European troupes--Het National Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, and Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève among them--companies from Russia (Eifman Ballet), Australia (Australian National Ballet) and Canada (National Ballet of Canada, BJM Danse) were also represented. Big classical groups, small contemporary groups, groups from all corners of the globe--everyone, it seemed, came out to play.

You might think that would translate to a lot of pressure on the young auditionees. But the atmosphere last week inside Monaco's sleek new Grimaldi Forum, where the audition was held, was relaxed, even convivial. TJB is structured so as to encourage friendly interaction between the participating students, who room together and spend a few days preparing audition material together before the directors even arrive. The multi-part audition itself allows dancers to show off their personalities as well as their technical prowess.

In other words: Tremplin Jeunes Ballets offers the opportunities of a big ballet competition--minus the competition part.



TJB has been around since 2000 (it was held biannually until last year), but so few American dancers know about it, and that's a darn shame. In Monaco, I spoke with the Kirov Academy's Patricia Zhou, and she said she'd never even heard of TJB until about a month ago. She arrived not knowing what to expect--and walked away with a bunch of new friends and a contract offer. What better way to spend a week in February?

About a dozen schools and youth ballets, which send anywhere from one to ten dancers apiece, participate in each TJB. Though up to this point Maillot has invited most of these organizations himself, he says he's not adverse to lobbying. "If anybody writes me to say, 'What about us? What about my school?'--I'm totally open," he said. "I want to mix things up every year." American ballet students: Start writing.

Nothing seems to intimidate Diana Vishneva. The Mariinsky prima toured her own solo show. She signed up for a guest spot with the Martha Graham Dance Company. She is forever chasing after new challenges. Her latest project? A new creation by Les Ballets de Monte Carlo director Jean-Christophe Maillot. She just spent two weeks in Monaco learning the choreography, and will be performing it in Russia over the next year. Check out this dramatic shot of their rehearsal together.

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