Tragedy, romance and world class dancing, all from the comfort of your local movie theater? Sounds like your weekend plans are complete. On May 12, 13, and 15, San Francisco Ballet's Romeo & Juliet will be playing in select movie theaters around the country as part of Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance. Choreographed by SFB artistic director Helgi Tomasson, this version stars Maria Kochetkova and Davit Karapetyan in the title roles, making it particularly special: Karapetyan retired from SFB in 2017, and Kochetkova gave her final performance with the company just last week. Click here to find a showing near you.
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.
If you'll be in the Chicago area next month, the historic Auditorium Theatre is putting together a one-night-only performance you don't want to miss. The event is in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the theater's reopening in 1967, which featured a performance of George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream by former New York City Ballet principals Suzanne Farrell and Edward Villella. With Farrell and Villella returning to the theater as guests, the November 12th program will include a mixed repertory performed by dancers from companies including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, The Washington Ballet, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Vienna State Ballet and Dutch National Ballet.
The Auditorium Theatre in Chicago from its 1967 opening. Photo by Richard Nickel, courtesy Auditorium Theatre.
While we know you practically live in your leos and tights (and a tightly wound bun), summer is the perfect time to literally let your hair down and show off your style outside the studio.
Not sure where to start? Take a page from these pro dancers' ensembles. From classically chic to kooky and daring, these ballerinas know how to express themselves—on and off the stage. The #1 rule? There are no rules.
For this #MotivationMonday, we mined the “Reverence” section of Pointe’s back issues. Read on for inspiration from some of your favorite dancers. This years-old advice is timeless!
“Being a professional is not an easy life. Students need to ask themselves if they really want to do that, because it takes up your whole life. But for me, it still is the best profession!”
-Polina Semionova, Staatsballett Berlin (February/March 2007)
“Persevere and work harder every day; do extra hours if need be.”
-Carlos Acosta, Royal Ballet (June/July 2008)
“A walk in the mountains, a good movie, a great conversation. You can find inspiration all around you.”
-Maria Kochetkova, San Francisco Ballet (June/July 2009)
“If you’re passionate and you love it, continue. If you’re halfway, there are so many other wonderful things out there to do. I go back to what Mr. Balanchine said: You have to be willing to die for it. It cannot be a maybe.”
-Darci Kistler, New York City Ballet (June/July 2010)
“It’s more than just dancing at a higher level. You have to remember it’s not only about you, even if you’re in the spotlight. You must share yourself with the whole company. You gather that energy so they’re involved with you, so there’s a dialogue. Then it becomes more real and exciting for the audience.”
-Xiao Nan Yu, National Ballet of Canada (June/July 2011)
“Physically speaking, I don’t think I was talented. It was more about work every day. Work, more work and yet more work. There’s no upper limit—you can always go further.”
-Ekaterina Kondaurova, Mariinsky Ballet (December 2013/January 2014)
Maria Kochetkova has a voracious appetite for inspiration. A principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet since 2007, she spent the last few years guesting with American Ballet Theatre during their spring season. “ABT is very different from SFB—it has a very different rep, it has very different dancers, incredible dancers you can learn from,” says Kochetkova. Last summer, she joined the company as an official principal, taking on a grueling schedule that leaves her shuttling between California and New York.
“I really wanted to learn more and also try to balance my repertoire,” she says. “San Francisco Ballet does a lot of new and more contemporary works—we don’t always do full-length and classical ballets, which I feel I need. And at ABT, you get the full-length classicals, but not so many contemporary works.”
Kochetkova spent July through late September working with SFB before flying to New York for ABT’s fall repertoire season through early November. Her spring schedule looks just as busy. “Overall, I’ll spend half of my time in San Francisco, and half in New York,” she says. As for vacation time? “I usually travel a lot during the off-season, but I had to cut down. But that’s okay. I’m more interested in learning something new.” —Amy Brandt
"And I stood and was silent. And he was silent. And I stood, silent. And he was silent." Maria sporting the words of Daniil Kharms. Photo courtesy of Koche-Kova.
Jumping on a couch and tossing what appear to be birthday bows, Maria Kochetkova appears in one of two promotional photos for her new clothing line, Koche-Kova, which launches this month.
I was a student at San Francisco Ballet School when I first laid eyes on Kochetkova (a few years before our April/May 2010 cover story). It was her first year with SFB and, one September afternoon before the company’s season was in full swing, she took the Level 5 technique class. Petite and quiet, she appeared almost mousy with her neutral-toned warm-ups and humble demeanor.
Now a principal on two coasts (with SFB and American Ballet Theatre), Kochetkova’s dancing remains as incandescent as ever. But her fashion sense? It’s a far cry from those modest warm-ups I saw nearly 10 years ago. Her affinity for daring colors, pattern combinations and statement pieces has earned her acclaim outside of ballet circles, and her zaniness seems to increase each year.
Kochetkova's fashion line announcement came sneakily, in the form of an Instagram post and links to the website on her social media pages. As of yet, details are scarce: For all we know the line might include eccentric studio pieces or dragon print street wear. Though we have few clues, we can see a nod to her Russian roots. In the website’s minimal photos, she sports shirts with quotes by Russian poet and novelist Alexander Pushkin and absurdist writer Daniil Kharms.
Absurd? Yes. Delightful? Undoubtedly. Sign up for email updates on the website, and follow Koche-Kova on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
"Sheer ennui." Kochetkova sporting the words of Alexander Pushkin. Photo courtesy of Koche-Kova.
San Francisco Ballet principals Maria Kochetkova and Davit Karapetyan in Romeo & Juliet, Courtesy The Anderson Group
If you’ve been dying to see San Francisco Ballet but, like me, live nowhere near the Bay Area, be sure to mark your calendars for Thursday, September 24 at 7:00 pm. The company’s production of Helgi Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet, starring Maria Kochetkova and Davit Karapetyan as Shakespeare’s doomed young lovers, will be shown at over 600 movie theaters nationwide as part of the “Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance” cinema series. Hosted by Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan of “LIVE with Kelly and Michael,” the screening includes fun extras such as interviews with the principal dancers and behind-the-scenes production footage.
San Francisco Ballet is the first of four American dance companies that Lincoln Center at the Movies is screening this fall. Be sure to catch Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on October 22, Ballet Hispanico on November 12, and New York City Ballet in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker on December 5 and 10. For tickets and a full list of theater locations, visit fathomevents.com. In the meantime, enjoy the sneak preview of the balcony scene here: SFB R&J video, and the Lincoln Center at the Movies season trailer below: