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Dancers from José Mateo Ballet Theatre in Mateo's "Schubert Adagio." Photo by Gary Sloan, courtesy JMBT.

A mainstay in Boston's cultural landscape, José Mateo Ballet Theatre will end its 32-year run under founder, artistic director and choreographer José Mateo following the company's Moving Violations program this weekend. The 18-member company will be on hiatus until a new director is found, save for performances of Mateo's The Nutcracker in November and December. The 66-year-old Mateo says that while he is ending his duties as artistic director, he is not retiring from the organization—he's merely shifting his focus to further developing the José Mateo Ballet Theatre School and the Dance for World Community festival he produces each year. Pointe spoke with him recently about his decision and his future plans.

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YAGP 2018 New York Finals Week. Photo by VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.

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


Youth America Grand Prix

After months of semi-finals, the final round of YAGP 2018 is finally here! This week, 1,800 finalists from 30 countries (chosen from the over 10,000 who auditioned) are gathered in New York. On April 18, the competition culminates in the Final Round at the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, where the most promising participants will compete for scholarships and contracts with ballet schools and companies around the world. April 19 marks YAGP's Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow gala, featuring finalists from the competition alongside international ballet stars including Dutch National Ballet principal Sasha Mukhamedov, American Ballet Theatre's Isabella Boylston and Daniil Simkin, and New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht, among others. YAGP is live-streaming the finals all week—you can check it out on their website. Also, keep an eye on Pointe's social media channels tomorrow, April 17, for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the competition.

Competing in YAGP this week? Here's a good luck message from ABT's Stella Abrera.

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A promotion and a premiere at San Francisco Ballet, school director changes at Pennsylvania Ballet, José Mateo receives major award and more.

  • San Francisco Ballet presents the North American premiere of Liam Scarlett’s Frankenstein, a co-production with The Royal Ballet, on February 17.  The ballet, which had its world premiere in London last May, is Scarlett’s first full-length work. In an interview with Pointe last year, Scarlett said the production hews closely to Mary Shelley’s novel, and that he see it as “less a tale of gothic horror and more of a love story.” Watch SFB principal dancer Vitor Luiz transform into the “Creature” below.

 

  • More changes at Pennsylvania Ballet: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that two more staff members have left Pennsylvania Ballet: school directors Anastasia Babayeva and Denis Gronostayskiy. The married, Bolshoi-trained couple, who also have their own school (Academy of Int'l Ballet in Media, PA), were hired on as directors in July. In a letter to parents, artistic director Angel Corella and executive director David Gray stated that running both schools simultaneously was proving unworkable.

 

  • José Mateo, photo courtesy José Mateo Ballet Theatre.

    José Mateo, founder and artistic director of José Mateo Ballet Theatre in Boston, will receive the Commonwealth Award for Achievement on February 15. The award is the highest honor for arts, humanities and sciences in the state of Massachusetts, and comes two days before the opening of his company’s spring season. “I believe that I am receiving this award," Mateo said in a statement, "on behalf of the many artists and their supporters and collaborators who work incessantly to provide artistic experiences that are out of the ordinary and somehow meaningful to all people of our diverse communities.”

 

  • According to the The Seattle Times, Pacific Northwest Ballet has been invited to perform at the Les Étés de la Danse Festival in Paris in June 2018. The prestigious festival invites a foreign company each year to perform several programs over a two-week period. PNB, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary next season,  plans to bring works by Benjamin Millepied, Crystal Pite, Justin Peck, Christopher Wheeldon, William Forsythe and Alejandro Cerrudo.

 

 

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