News
Houston Ballet's Karina González and Chun Wai Chan in rehearsal for Jerome Robbins' The Cage. Lawrence Knox, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

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

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Ballet Stars
Sergei Polunin and Misty Copeland lead a corps of 18 dancers in choreography by Liam Scarlett. Photo courtesy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The wait for Disney's reimagining of The Nutcracker is over. Although The Nutcracker and The Four Realms is not a full-length ballet, woven into the plot is a five-minute performance by megastars Misty Copeland and Sergei Polunin alongside 18 supporting dancers, with a CGI Mouse King moved by jookin sensation Lil Buck (aka Charles Riley). Royal Ballet artist in residence Liam Scarlett led the film's choreography in his first major motion picture experience. "It was a call I didn't expect to get," says Scarlett. "I really am the biggest Disney fan, so I couldn't believe it!"

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Just for fun
Sergei Polunin and Misty Copeland lead a corps of 18 dancers in choreography by Liam Scarlett. Photo courtesy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The wait for Disney's reimagining of The Nutcracker is over. Although The Nutcracker and The Four Realms is not a full-length ballet, woven into the plot is a five-minute performance by megastars Misty Copeland and Sergei Polunin alongside 18 supporting dancers, with a CGI Mouse King moved by jookin sensation Lil Buck (aka Charles Riley). Royal Ballet artist in residence Liam Scarlett led the film's choreography in his first major motion picture experience. "It was a call I didn't expect to get," says Scarlett. "I really am the biggest Disney fan, so I couldn't believe it!"

Keep reading... Show less
News
Los Angeles Ballet's Tigran Sargsyan and Petra Conti. LAB opens their fall season this week with a mixed bill including two company premieres. Photo by Reed Hutchinson, Courtesy LAB.

Fall for Dance FestivalWonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've pulled together some highlights.

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News
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will revive "An Evening with Pianist Joyce Yang" this weekend in Aspen. Photo by Rose Eichenbaum, Courtesy of ASFB.

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


Vail Dance Festival Races to the Finish Line

This Sunday, Vail Dance Festival wraps up an eventful few weeks jam-packed with premieres, collaborations and guests. The final week of the festival has us looking forward to appearances from American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Hispánico and more.


Vail's NOW: Premieres Includes New Michelle Dorrance Work for ABT

On August 6, Vail's NOW: Premieres program features new works commissioned for the festival. Choreographers include New York City Ballet star Tiler Peck (making her festival choreographic debut), Lauren Lovette, Justin Peck and Claudia Schreier, who is creating a ballet on dancers from Ballet Hispánico. Tap maverick Michelle Dorrance is also choreographing a piece on American Ballet Theatre, the second of Dorrance's three works on the company this year. Watch some of the same choreographers' premieres at the 2017 edition of NOW below.

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News
Patricia Delgado in Pam Tanowitz's "Solo for Patricia 2017." Photo by Erin Baiano, Courtesy Vail Dance Festival.

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


Vail Dance Fest Enters Its Second Week

With half a month devoted to creating new art in the midst of stunning nature, Vail Dance Festival seems a dancer's paradise. Last week marked American Ballet Theatre's festival debut. The second week of performances, starting July 30, brings even more amazing ballet, with dancers and choreographers presenting a slew of new collaborations and premieres. Get the scoop on each program below.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet Takes the Vail Stage

July 30-31, Alonzo King LINES Ballet presents two different programs. The first performance, is a free, family-friendly event held in the Avon Performance Pavilion. The second, held at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, presents two works by King: Sand, a piece from 2016 set to jazz music, and Biophony, an exploration of the Earth's diverse ecosystems.

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I have a serious weakness for great swan arms. When Odette pulls off smooth ripples outwards from the center of her spine through to her tips of the fingers, it gives me chills. Because I know how crazy hard they are to do well! Swan arms can take hours of practice and many varying ways of thinking about the movement. I've even watched top ballerinas continue working on them over and over in rehearsal—even after already having performed the ballet dozens of times.

 

Which is why my mouth literally dropped open in awe watching Lil Buck perform The Dying Swan at Fall For Dance last week. (He improvises it every time, but you can catch a similar clip here.) This hip hop riff on the iconic Fokine ballet was brilliant from start to finish. But what particularly caught me were his arms. They were fantastically swan-like, but completely different from anything I've ever seen in classical ballet. Memphis Jookin (Lil Buck's style) has a very particular convergence of lightening-fast fluidity and held resistance that creates amazing visuals with the body. Sometimes the movement is so quick and quirky it almost seems like an optical illusion.

 

I'd recommend that any ballet dancer learning Swan Lake should watch Lil Buck's version, not necessarily for imitation, but definitely for inspiration.

This fall, visual artist JR's The Eye of New York City Ballet, a large-scale installation for the company's annual Art Series, took social media by storm. (Just search the Instagram hashtag #NYCBArtSeries if you don't believe me.) But will he have as much success making art for the stage?

NYCB has announced that the Parisian will choreograph a theatrical piece to premiere at the opening performance of the company's spring season, Tuesday, April 29. The currently untitled work will be set to an original score by neofolk musician Woodkid, who has directed music videos for stars like Rihanna and Katy Perry. If that's not enough celebrity power, everyone's favorite jookin star Lil Buck will perform alongside NYCB. And of course, it wouldn't be a JR event without an impressive visual display: The piece will include video projections and costumes designed by him.

It's hard to predict if all these wild elements will come together under a novice choreographer's direction. But the announcement came with a subtle note about Peter Martins overseeing the process. Either way, the behind-the-scenes looks we're getting from JR's Instagram intrigue: There are plenty of artistically-framed rehearsal shots, and apparently NYCB had some studio time with Madonna and Robert DeNiro—we're not quite sure what that's about.

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