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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Viral Videos
Bucharest National Ballet's 2013 trailer for "La Sylphide,' via YouTube

Few things are more powerful for promoting ballet performances than captivating trailers—especially in today's visually-focused, digitally-connected world.

We've rounded up some eye-catching ads from seasons past and present that not only make us wish we could have seen the show, but also stand alone as short films.

Bucharest National Opera's La Sylphide

Magnifying the scarf which—spoiler alert—brings about the ballet's tragic conclusion, this 2013 Bucharest National Opera's trailer turns that fateful fabric into a beautiful, deadly web. Its windswept movements form a dance of its own.

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Just for fun
Bucharest National Ballet's 2013 trailer for "La Sylphide,' via YouTube

Few things are more powerful for promoting ballet performances than captivating trailers—especially in today's visually-focused, digitally-connected world.

We've rounded up some eye-catching ads from seasons past and present that not only make us wish we could have seen the show, but also stand alone as short films.

Bucharest National Opera's La Sylphide

Magnifying the scarf which—spoiler alert—brings about the ballet's tragic conclusion, this 2013 Bucharest National Opera's trailer turns that fateful fabric into a beautiful, deadly web. Its windswept movements form a dance of its own.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Careers
BalletX's Caili Quan found value in her early years of career building. Photo by Alexander Izilaev, Courtesy BalletX.

After two years as a trainee and then one as a second company member at Orlando Ballet, 22-year-old Aurélio Guimarães wasn't able to audition much due to an injury. When The Washington Ballet offered him another traineeship, Guimarães debated what to do. He would ultimately be embarking on a fourth year of doing professional work without a livable salary or title. “It was absolutely a hard decision," Guimarães reflects. “But I also had to consider the work that I would be doing." Knowing his traineeship would entail close work with the artistic director, he essentially took a demotion, with the hope that starting over in Washington would yield a paid contract at the end of the year.

In the past, it was common for a year or two of apprenticeship to lead directly to a corps contract. But today's ballet world involves more no- to low-paying rungs at the bottom of the ladder. Many companies now have three gatekeepers: trainee programs that are often the top level of the school and involve corps work with the company; second companies that work independently as well as more intimately with the main company; and apprenticeships, the most entry-level rank inside the professional hierarchy.

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Views

Upleger as Dracula with Daniella Zlatarev and Julia Mitchell. Photo by David Bailey, Courtesy Nashville Ballet.

 

If anyone has blood lust, it's Dracula. In Paul Vasterling's version of the tale for Nashville Ballet, the title vampire, danced by Jon Upleger, also has pointed feet and a generous plié. For the first time since 2007, Dracula returns to Nashville Ballet Oct. 22-24. For Pointe's biweekly newsletter, we spoke with Upleger about this macabre revival.

What did you do outside of the studio to prepare?
Paul Vasterling liked the gothic feel of Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula, so I watched that movie. The thing I really like about that version, as opposed to the novel, is the big connection, love-story wise, between Dracula and Mina. He's powerful, and he takes advantage of others when it suits him. But with Mina, there's definitely a longing for something else, to want something good.

How would you describe the ballet in a nutshell?
This version is going for the heightened emotions. You've got good, which is Jonathan and Mina. And on the other side is Dracula, who's inherently evil. But there are also moments when even the good slips into the bad. Paul worked with the idea that everybody is evil, and they're trying to be good for society. It gives more layers to the ballet. 

Is there anything special about Dracula's costume?
I love getting to work with a cape. We jokingly call it cape-ography. I'm trying to not just lug the thing around but to get it to move well with me, so it fulfills and sustains my steps. When I turn, it floats after me and makes the motion that much bigger. And it has quite a bit of weight to it, which really changes the timing of my movement.
For even more interviews, tips, audition info and giveaways, sign up for our FREE e-newsletter.

 

Ballet Training
San Francisco Ballet principal Maria Kochetkova in "Esmeralda." Photo by Erik Tomasson, courtesy SFB.

Interviews by Christopher Blank, Rosie Gaynor and Nancy Wozny

A firestorm of controversy over recent reviews that singled out dancers' bodies for criticism has raised the question of whether body type still matters in today's ballet world. Does ballet's identity rest on presenting a certain image of the ballerina? Pointe asked leading dancers and artistic directors what impact issues like height and weight have on their casting.

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