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Peter Martins. Photo by Adam Shankbone, Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The New York Times reports that a two-month long internal investigation into sexual harassment and physical abuse allegations against Peter Martins, New York City Ballet's former ballet master in chief, has found that the accusations could not be corroborated. In December, an anonymous letter sent to NYCB and its affiliated School of American Ballet accused Martins of sexual harassment, although the claims were non-specific. Afterwards, several former dancers and one current company member came forward to the press accusing him of physical assault and verbal abuse. Martins, who directed the company for 35 years and has denied the accusations, retired on New Year's Day after taking a leave of absence. An interim team led by ballet master Jonathan Stafford has been overseeing the company in the meantime.

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Ballet Stars
Fairchild and De Luz brought wit and jazzy abandon to "Rubies." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

Ask the Paris Opéra Ballet, the New York City Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet to share a stage, with each performing one act of Balanchine's Jewels, and you might expect a degree of friendly (or less-than-friendly) competition. But as POB gave its exquisitely polite rendition of "Emeralds" during the Lincoln Center Festival's three-company production this summer, one-upsmanship seemed far from everyone's mind.

Then the curtain rose on New York City Ballet, its dancers visibly shaking with excitement in their "Rubies" finery. And the David H. Koch Theater audience collectively leaned forward.


Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

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Everything Nutcracker
New York City Ballet in "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy Lincoln Center.

Nutcracker season is upon us, with productions popping up in on stages in big cities and small towns around the country. But this year you can catch New York City Ballet's famous version on the silver screen, too. Lincoln Center at the Movies and Screen Vision Media are presenting a limited engagement of NYCB's George Balanchine's The Nutcracker at select cinemas nationwide starting December 2. It stars Ashley Bouder as Dewdrop and Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz as the Sugarplum Fairy and Cavalier.

While nothing beats seeing a live performance (the company's theatrical Nutcracker run opens Friday), the big screen will no doubt magnify some of this production's most breathtaking effects: the Christmas tree that grows to an impressive 40 feet, Marie's magical spinning bed, and the stunning, swirling snow scene. Click here to find a participating movie theater near you—then, go grab some popcorn.

Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin in "Diamonds." Photo by E. Fetisova, Courtesy Bolshoi Ballet

In November, Lincoln Center announced that three of the world's biggest companies—New York City Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet—would present a collaborative performance of George Balanchine's Jewels July 20–23 in honor of the ballet's 50th anniversary. Each company will take an act, with the Paris Opéra performing "Emeralds" and NYCB and the Bolshoi alternating performances of "Rubies" and "Diamonds." Yesterday, Lincoln Center finally announced what we've all been waiting for: the all-star cast list. (As well as rising stars–Alena Kovaleva and Jacopo Tissi, two young Bolshoi corps members, are slated to dance the leads in "Diamonds" for one performance.) Check out the list below this trailer!

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Sara Mearns in Walpurgisnacht Ballet. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

When New York City Ballet went on a three-week tour to Paris last summer, we wished we could tag along. The company presented 20 ballets at the historic Théâtre du Châtelet, including 14 by Balanchine.

Thanks to PBS and their Great Performances series, you can now get a taste of what it was like to be in that audience. The network will air the closing night performance in a two-part broadcast on February 17 (that's tonight!) and February 24, hosted by artistic director Peter Martins.

The lineup features four Balanchine works, all set to the music of French composers—and the casting alone is enough to make you want to tune in.

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News
Sarah Lane as Aurora in ABT's Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.

Lately, it seems like mentorship is having something of a moment: Many pro dancers are coming up with creative ways to give back to the dance community and act as a resource for young students striving to reach the top. Take Kathryn Morgan, who started her own blog and YouTube channel to pull back the curtain on the ballet world, and writes an advice column for Dance Spirit. Or David Hallberg, who's opened up about the challenges of being a young male ballet dancer, and worked to mentor boys at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. Or New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild, who shares advice in her "Ask Megan!" podcast.

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Ballet Stars
Megan Fairchild with Joaquin De Luz. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

Do you prefer the consistency of doing the same show eight times a week or the variety of mixed rep?

I like both. I'm a creature of habit, so I completely took to the Broadway lifestyle. What's nice about it is that you know your show: you know the little moments you've got to tackle, and other than that you just have fun. And coming back now, I'm definitely loving City Ballet's schedule. A lot of these ballets I've been doing for a decade. Now I'm excited to do them again; everything feels fresh.

Do you have any advice for students wanting to be professional dancers?

If it doesn't happen the way you thought it was going to happen, there's always going to be another audition or another year. Try not to let discouragement hold you back from continuing to work hard, because that's what gets you to where you need to go.

Ballet Stars
Megan Fairchild in Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gatherin. Photo by Paul Kolnik.


This story originally appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of Pointe.

You took a year off to perform on Broadway as Ivy Smith in On the Town. What did you learn from that experience?

If I'm not being classical I can be kind of a goofy dancer, so it was a good push for me. And dancing for a different audience, where it's purely based on how much fun everybody's having, takes the emphasis off being technically perfect. That was something I held on to a little too tightly before. I learned that just being me is enough.

What role do you find particularly challenging?

The Cuckoo Bird in Justin Peck's The Most Incredible Thing! He's very specific about the steps and the timing he wants—it's a whole new vocabulary for me. The costume has heavy wings that “whoosh" as you turn. During my first show I fell. Then the next show, I fell again. To get out there and try a third time after falling twice was a fun challenge, but a difficult one.

Fairchild in Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

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News

Ballet dancers are nothing if not enterprising, and Rebecca King is certainly one of the most ambitious. The Miami City Ballet corps member has long been something of a social media maven—she helped coordinate an Instagram campaign for MCB and even started her own social media management company. She's also contributed regularly to her popular blog, Tendus Under a Palm Tree, since 2010. This week, King and fellow MCB corps member Michael Sean Breeden have started a new media venture: podcasting. Their self-produced show, “Conversations on Dance" (available on King's blog and on iTunes), will include discussions on training, technique and choreography, as well as interviews with other professional dancers. This week's timely topic: summer intensives.

King and Breeden join an increasing number of dancers taking to the virtual airwaves, including MCB soloist Lauren Fadeley, whose show, “ReDiscovering the Dream," chronicles her recent career move and new life in Miami. American Ballet Theatre principal James Whiteside, New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild and advice guru Kathryn Morgan have also started hosting their own podcasts on Premier Dance Network. So get your headphones ready. Dancers on dancing? Yes, please!

News
Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope in An American in Paris. Photo Courtesy Broadway World.

If you haven't seen Christopher Wheeldon's Tony Award winning musical An American in Paris yet, you better hop to it. The hugely successful Broadway production closes on January 1, 2017 after a nearly two-year long run. Don't panic if you can't drop everything and buy a plane ticket to New York, though: The show will commence its national tour in October 2016.

The U.S. tour will star former San Francisco Ballet soloist Garen Scribner as Jerry Mulligan (who has been performing the role on Broadway) and former Miami City Ballet soloist Sara Esty as Lise Dassin. At the show's London opening in March 2017, New York City Ballet principal Robert Fairchild and The Royal Ballet's Leanne Cope will reprise their originating roles.

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News
Megan Fairchild and the cast of On the Town. Photo by Joan Marcus, Courtesy On the Town.

New York City Ballet soloist Georgina Pazcoguin will step into the role of Ivy Smith, aka Miss Turnstiles, from August 11–23 in the Broadway musical On the Town. She'll be filling in for New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild who will take her last Broadway bow (for now!) on August 9.

Pazcoguin will be followed by American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland, who will perform the role August 25 to September 6. While we love the run of ballet dancers on Broadway, we're excited to have Fairchild back onstage with NYCB for the company's fall season.

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