The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.
Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.
Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?
San Francisco Ballet in class during World Ballet Day 2016. Photo Courtesy SFB.
Here at Pointe, every day feels like World Ballet Day, though the official 2018 event took place on Tuesday. While WBD is a thrill for any bunhead, it can also be overwhelming. How are you supposed to sit in front of your computer all day when you have class and rehearsal and work and a life? We get it, and we're here to help.
To give you a chance to catch up, we've rounded up WBD videos from 26 companies. So grab some popcorn, a backlog of pointe shoes to sew, and settle in. If you start watching now, you might just be done in time for WBD 2019.
Uliana Lopatkina seconds before going in for the headbutt. Screenshot via @cloudandvictory Instagram.
Whether you're a die-hard sports fan or Team Bunhead all the way, Cloud & Victory (aka the dancewear company with the world's cheekiest social media) has found a way for everyone to enjoy this summer's World Cup.
Signed pointe shoes donated by ballet dancers from some of the world's best companies will be sold online from November 8-19. The proceeds will be donated to two non-governmental organizations committed to fighting against child slavery, sexual abuse and exploitation for the empowerment and welfare of underprivileged children. The first is Destiny Rescue, a U.S.-based organization that since 2011 has rescued 2,000 children enslaved in Thailand, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines and India. The second organization is The Promiseland Project in Nepal. The Singapore-based Promiseland Project is working to build a school and orphanage in Dhamphus, Nepal to "shelter, raise and nurture the poor, needy and orphaned children of Nepal and equip them with an education and skill sets to make a better life for themselves." The earthquakes that devastated Nepal two years ago have set the project back, and they're looking for funds to finish construction.
Pointe shoes worn by Marianela Núñez during the Royal Ballet's Fall/Winter season. Photo via Cloud & Victory.
Dancers are famously resourceful and particular when it comes to the products that they keep around to get them through the day. And we all know where those items live: the dance bag. While most dance bags are filled with basics like leotards, pointe shoes, Therabands and granola bars, we rounded up some of the quirkier items that dancers carry with them to provide comfort, inspiration and organization.
These snippets come from longer stories on the contents of each ballerina's dance bag—click on each dancer's name for more.
Howard with Christopher Gerty in Balanchine's "The Four Temperaments," Photo by Edwin Luk, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada
This National Ballet of Canada first soloist keeps a hand-carved wooden ballerina with her that her husband made in his high school woodworking class. After they married, Howard added her own little touch—a little rhinestone stuck onto the figurine's finger to mimic a ring. "They had to pick characters out of a book, and he chose the ballerina," she says. "It was so serendipitous! When I see this, I think about how that was years before we even met."
Marianela Nuñez with artists of The Royal Ballet in Sir Frederick Ashton's "Sylvia." Photo via ROH.
The Royal Ballet principal Marianela Nuñez exudes femininity and strength. It's no surprise, then, that her interpretation of the mythological huntress Sylvia, an independent, cunning young woman, is spot on. In this 2008 clip of the ballet choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton, Nuñez commands the stage with her natural presence and effervescent personality.
Performing Sylvia's Act III variation, the Argentinian ballerina captures the pure, English style with expressive epaulement, fluid port de bras, and crystalline clarity in her legs and footwork. Her calm musicality throughout makes Ashton's intricate choreography look easy. The variation begins with a challenging sequence of hops on pointe which Nuñez executes with delicate lightness. Then at 0:50, her snappy petite sissones are buoyant and precise. Perhaps the most beautiful moment in this variation is Nuñez's gorgeous balance at 1:34. She sustains an arabesque with her face lifting upward toward her arms in a high, open fifth position. She has a huge smile and you can sense the joy she feels on stage. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!
Zenaida Yanowsky and Roberto Bolle in Sir Frederick Ashton's "Marguerite and Armand." Photography by Tristram Kento, Courtesy ROH.
If you, like many of us here at Pointe, wish you could have seen Royal Ballet star Zenaida Yanowsky's retirement performance on June 7, you're in luck. The Royal will screen a recording of it in select movie theaters across the U.S. starting Sunday, June 25. (In many cities, it will be screened on Tuesday, July 11.) The program includes three works by the company's founding choreographer, Sir Frederick Ashton: The Dream, Symphonic Variations and Marguerite and Armand—the latter of which stars Yanowsky and Roberto Bolle. You can also catch other Royal favorites like Marianela Nuñez, Vadim Muntagirov, Steven McRae, Akane Takada and Yasmin Naghdi. Make sure to bring tissues!
To find dates, times and theaters near you, click here.
Marianela Nunez in Swan Lake. Photo by Dee Conway, Courtesy The Royal Opera House.
When Marianela Nuñez isn't in rehearsal, there's a good chance you'll find her in her dressing room sewing pointe shoes. “I go through a lot of shoes—usually two pairs a day," said the Argentine-born Royal Ballet principal during last summer's U.S. tour. “And if I'm doing a full-length like Don Q, I go through three pairs a night." Nuñez has her sewing down to a 20-minute science (darning included). “It's quiet time for me—I find it quite therapeutic."
Nuñez keeps most of her daily essentials in her tidy London dressing room. “It's so cute—I have a little fridge and a small sofa bed. I'm a bit OCD, too," she says, laughing, “so everything is in its proper place." But on tour, she carries her supplies in her high-end leather tote. “This was a present from a friend," says Nuñez. “It's quite posh for a ballet bag, but it's actually very strong." And one thing you'll always find stashed inside is a quilted vest from Uniqlo. “I am always cold, no matter where I am in the world, so these vests are always with me."