News
The company is searching for an artistic director who is "humane"—and who might not be a choreographer. Photo by Paul Kolnik
Update: The full job description has been posted here.


Ever since Peter Martins retired from New York City Ballet this January amid an investigation into sexual harassment and abuse allegations, we've been speculating about who might take his place—and how the role of ballet master in chief might be transformed.

Until now, we've only known a bit about what the search for a new leader looks like. But yesterday, The New York Times reported that the company has released a job description for the position. Here's what we're able to discern about the new leader and what this means for the future of NYCB:

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Ballet Careers
Georgina Pazcoguin as Hippolyta in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

In January, when news broke that Peter Martins had retired from New York City Ballet amid allegations of sexual harassment and physical and verbal abuse, I was sitting with my mother, a former dancer and teacher. We stared at the headline in shock, wondering what this meant for the future of ballet as a whole: In the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, cultural shifts were stirring, and conversations about feminism and workplace equality plunged into ballet. Some of my favorite dancers started sharing their statements and stances on Instagram, and their comments sections were bursting with dancers and ballet fans all struggling to define what feminism and equality in our art form would look like—or if it is even possible. Especially since female dancers have historically been considered muses to be seen and not heard, to perform but not lead.

Feminism isn't just possible in ballet—it's necessary, and the biggest part of that is an artistic advantage, too: empowering dancers to have and use their own voices.

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Ballet Stars
Rachel Hutsell Photographed for Pointe by Jayme Thornton.

This is Pointe's June/July 2018 Cover Story. You can subscribe to the magazine here, or click here to purchase this issue.

"I'm very cautious by nature," Rachel Hutsell says over herbal tea at Lincoln Center between rehearsals. You wouldn't think so from the way she moves onstage or in the studio. In fact, one of the most noticeable characteristics of Hutsell's dancing is boldness, a result of the intelligence and intention with which she executes each step. (What she calls caution is closer to what most people see as preparedness.) She doesn't approximate—she moves simply and fully, with total confidence. That quality hasn't gone unnoticed.

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Ballet Stars
"There is a palpable sense of hope for the future." Photo by Devin Alberda via Instagram

New York City Ballet continues its first year without Peter Martins at the helm as our spring season opens tonight.

When he retired at the start of the new year, we plunged headfirst into unknown, murky waters. Who would the new director be? When would we know? Would we dancers get some say in the decision? Who would oversee the Balanchine ballets? Who would be in charge of casting? Would a new director bring along huge upheaval? Could some of us be out of a job?

The dancers currently have little information about the search process and plans to move forward. But Mr. Martins' absence has certainly been felt around the theater.

I've noticed it the most during dress rehearsals, particularly for Balanchine ballets. Although he rarely attended daily rehearsals, he always supervised the final rehearsals before the ballets went before the audience. Frequently, he had a nugget of wisdom to share, often from the mouth of Balanchine himself, to help us fix a tricky partnering maneuver, or a difficult sequence of turns.

Keep reading at dancemagazine.com.

News
Kyle Abraham's "Untitled America" for Ailey. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

Ever since New York City Ballet's interim leadership team took over from Peter Martins, we've been curious whether they'd get a chance to try their hand at programming. (It was unclear how much Martins had done before he retired.)

As it turns out, Martins left room for Justin Peck, Rebecca Krohn, Craig Hall and Jonathan Stafford to select two of the company's six commissions for the 2018-19 season. Their choicesKyle Abraham and Emma Portner—are surprising, and thrilling.

Neither choreographer has made work on a large ballet company before, though Abraham created a duet with Wendy Whelan for her "Restless Creature" series, among his other commissions for companies like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and work for his own company. And though Portner has been a favorite in commercial circles for a few years now, the concert commissions have just recently started rolling in: This fall she'll be collaborating with Lil Buck and Dev Hynesfor a full-length work for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and working with Anne Plamondon on a Fall for Dance North piece.

Keep reading at dancemagazine.com.

popular
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
From left: Peter Walker, Harrison Coll. Photos by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

A company's corps de ballet is rarely the pool from which title roles are plucked. Yet New York City Ballet seems to buck convention, especially for its full-length production of Peter Martins' Romeo + Juliet. When it debuted back in 2007, the ballet featured a cast of untested corps members and apprentices as the eponymous stars. (A School of American Ballet student was originally tapped to dance Juliet, but she wasn't able to perform due to injury.) At the time Martins, who recently retired as NYCB's ballet master in chief, attributed his casting choices to the characters' ages in Shakespeare's play; Juliet and Romeo are 14 and 19, respectively. Also, he remarked, "Never underestimate youth."

This week, two young Romeos are stepping up from the company's corps. Harrison Coll made his debut on February 13, opening night, alongside principal Sterling Hyltin (the original Juliet in the production's opening night performance back in 2007). Peter Walker follows on Friday, February 16.

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Ballet Stars
Misty Copeland as Juliet with American Ballet Theatre. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

Valentine's Day makes February the perfect month for ballet companies to perform Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's famous tale of star-crossed lovers. A few companies presented their versions earlier this month and many are on their way in the next few weeks. We rounded up eight companies including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Washington Ballet, Les Ballet des Monte Carlo, Orlando Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Carolina Ballet and Ballet BC to find out how they're using this classic ballet to celebrate the holiday of love.

New York City Ballet

A 12-performance run of Peter Martins' Romeo + Juliet comes in the middle of New York City Ballet's winter season, spanning from February 13-23 at the Koch Theater in New York City. This year's production marks the debuts of corps dancers Harrison Coll and Peter Walker as Romeo, and former Pointe cover star Indiana Woodward will be making her debut as Juliet. Below, hear Tiler Peck, who will dance Juliet alongside Zachary Catazarro, point out the tricky technical moments in this role and explain what makes it so special to her.

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Ballet Stars
Karin von Aroldingen and Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Prodigal Son." Photo by Costas, Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives.

"My whole mission in life is to keep Balanchine's work alive," says former New York City Ballet dancer Karin von Aroldingen in Frances Mason's I Remember Balanchine, a collection of interviews by George Balanchine's friends and colleagues. Her words feel especially potent now—and never more true. On Friday, January 5, news came to light that the German-born dancer, teacher, NYCB ballet master and longtime stager for the Balanchine Trust had died at age 76.


Born in East Germany in 1941, von Aroldingen joined Frankfurt Ballet as a first soloist before George Balanchine invited her to join NYCB in 1962. Trained in the Russian method, she had to adjust her technique to fit NYCB's fast, streamlined style. "It took me years to unwind myself, to be good," she says in Mason's book. She eventually rose to principal dancer in 1972. Her dancing was strong, assertive and passionate. During her 22-year career at NYCB, Balanchine created 20 roles for her, including Kammermusik No. 2, Union Jack, Vienna Waltzes, Who Cares?, Robert Schumann's Davidsbündlertanze and her most well-known, Stravinsky Violin Concerto. (Who hasn't marveled at her elastic backbends in the 1972 "Dance in America" broadcast above?)

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

Yesterday evening, Peter Martins announced his immediate retirement as New York City Ballet's ballet master in chief through a letter to the company's board. He had been solely in charge of the company's artistic direction since 1989 and the School of American Ballet's chairman of faculty since 1983. Since December 7, Martins had been on a self-requested leave, amidst an investigation of claims of sexual harassment as well as physical and verbal abuse. In the letter, he stated, "I have denied, and continue to deny, that I have engaged in any such misconduct." However, earlier articles from The New York Times and The Washington Post conveyed accounts of verbal and physical abuse by NYCB dancers, both past and present. In 1992, Martins was charged with third-degree assault of his wife Darci Kistler, though the charges were later dropped.

Despite Martins' resignation, the board emphasized in a statement, also released on Monday, that the investigation will continue until it is completed and that "the board takes seriously the allegations that have been made against him."

To keep reading, go to dancemagazine.com.

News
Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB

As the investigation into claims of sexual harassment by New York City Ballet ballet master in chief Peter Martins remains under wraps, more dancers are speaking publicly on the matter. And while many allegations are decades old, dancers with recent and current ties to the company are becoming more vocal.

Yesterday, Kathryn Morgan—a former NYCB soloist with a hugely popular YouTube channel and an advice column in Dance Spirit—posted a candid video addressing questions she's received about the scandal. Although Morgan left the company in 2012, her post sheds light on the mixed emotions that current NYCB dancers may be feeling right now. "This is an issue that NEEDS to be discussed," she writes in the comments section. "And I appreciate that you all understand I am in no way defending him. I just wanted to give you my honest and true experience with dealing and working with Peter."



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News
From left: Justin Peck, Rebecca Krohn, Jonathan Stafford and Craig Hall. Photo by Erin Baiano, Courtesy New York City Ballet.

The New York City Ballet Board of Directors announced on Saturday the interim team that has been appointed to run the artistic side of the company during ballet master in chief Peter Martins' leave of absence. Martins requested a temporary leave from both NYCB and the School of American Ballet last Thursday while the company undergoes an internal investigation into the sexual harassment accusations aimed at him.

The four-person group is made up of members of the company's current artistic staff, led by ballet master and former principal dancer Jonathan Stafford. Joining Stafford are NYCB resident choreographer and soloist Justin Peck and ballet masters Craig Hall and Rebecca Krohn, both former dancers with the company. While the members of this group haven't had much leadership experience, their close familiarity with the company (Krohn left the stage for her new role just two months ago) should help to ease the dancers' transition.

The team will be responsible for the day-to-day artistic needs of the company including scheduling, casting and conducting rehearsals. While there's no word yet on the length of their tenure, we'll continue to keep you updated as the story surrounding Martins unfolds.

News
PC Getty Images

Last night, the New York City Ballet board of directors approved ballet master in chief Peter Martins' request for a temporary leave of absence amidst an ongoing investigation into sexual harassment.

The investigation came to light on Monday, when the New York Times reported that NYCB and the School of American Ballet had hired a law firm to investigate their leader after receiving an anonymous letter detailing instances of harassment.

Yesterday, the first named accuser came forward in the Washington Post: Kelly Cass Boal, a former NYCB dancer and wife of Peter Boal, artistic director of Pacific Northwest Ballet, accused Martins of attacking her after a tense rehearsal. She told the Post's Sarah Kaufman that Martins "grabbed my shoulder and pulled me out into the hallway, shaking me by the shoulders, screaming at me 'You f---ing bitch, why can't you listen to what I have to say? I need to break your spirit.' He had his hands around my neck, choking me and screaming at me. And then he pushed me away and left." Peter Boal and several other sources corroborated Kelly Cass Boal's experience.

A new story in the Times last night includes several additional anonymous sources, current and former dancers who accused Martins of sleeping with dancers who then received better parts, and of being violent in rehearsals. One former dancer recalled a time she asked Martins what she needed to do to be promoted to soloist, and he seemed to suggest that she should sleep with him.

To keep reading, go to dancemagazine.com.

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

(Update: Peter Martins will be taking a leave of absence from the company as more accusations surface. Read more here.)

Yesterday The New York Times reported that New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet are jointly investigating sexual harassment claims involving Peter Martins. According to a statement from SAB, it "recently received an anonymous letter making general, nonspecific allegations of sexual harassment in the past by Peter Martins at both New York City Ballet and the school."

Martins, who serves as NYCB's ballet master in chief and SAB's chairman of faculty and artistic director will not be teaching his weekly class at the school as the investigation continues. He currently maintains his positions at both organizations.

While sexual harassment allegations have recently been made against a growing list of Hollywood heavy-hitters, politicians, news anchors and other men in positions of power, this is the first investigation this year of a major figure from the dance world.

Immediate reactions were varied, though emotionally charged.

Keep reading at dancemagazine.com.

Ballet Stars
Tiler Peck with Andrew Veyette in "Allegro Brillante." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy New York City Ballet.

"I was particularly excited when I saw my name on casting for Allegro Brillante in 2009," remembers principal dancer Tiler Peck. "Balanchine had said Allegro was, 'everything I know about classical ballet in 13 minutes,' and of course that terrified me." To calm her fear, Peck followed her regular process for debuts: begin by going back to the original performers to get an idea of the quality and feeling of the ballet and ballerina. "It is never to imitate, but rather to surround myself with as much knowledge from the past as I can so that I can find my own way," says Peck.

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Ballet Stars
Gianna Reisen in rehearsal with NYCB corps de ballet dancer Ghaleb Kayali. Photo by Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB.

This Thursday marks New York City Ballet's annual Fall Gala. Spearheaded by actress and NYCB board member Sarah Jessica Parker, this glamorous event unites the worlds of ballet and fashion by partnering choreographers with top designers to collaborate on new works. This year, alongside premieres by NYCB company members/choreographers Lauren Lovette, Justin Peck and Troy Schumacher, 18-year old School of American Ballet alumna Gianna Reisen will present her first work for the stage at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater.

NYCB Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins noticed Reisen's work at SAB's Student Choreography Workshop and invited her to create a piece for The New York Choreographic Institute in 2016 before offering her the Fall Gala commission. This opportunity came as part of a whirlwind year for Reisen; after finishing her studies at SAB she was offered an apprenticeship at Dresden Semperoper Ballett late last spring. Reisen spent only three weeks getting settled in Germany before returning to NYC in late August to start rehearsals for the gala.

We caught up with Reisen to hear what it's been like to work alongside such high-caliber artists and to get the inside scoop on her premiere.

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Director's Notes
Gen Horiuchi with dancers Lauren Lane and Elliott Geolat. Photo by Sabrine Rhodes.

When Gen Horiuchi became the executive and artistic director of Saint Louis Ballet, his mentor Peter Martins offered the same wisdom that George Balanchine had given him: Running a company isn't just about ballet—you have to do and oversee everything. That leadership philosophy is what Horiuchi, now 53, has adopted at Saint Louis Ballet.

The Tokyo native and former New York City Ballet principal took over the financially troubled company from longtime artistic directors Ludmila Dokoudovsky and Antoni Zalewski in 2000. Within two years Horiuchi stabilized the organization's finances and restructured and revitalized the Saint Louis Ballet School. In 2010, he moved the organization into a new 7,500-square-foot facility with four studios.

Now in his 18th season with SLB, Horiuchi has increased the company's annual operating budget from $200,000 in 2000 to $2 million currently, grown the number of dancers from 13 to 25, and added more productions (when he arrived they were only perform- ing Nutcracker). He's also increased ticket sales and bolstered the school's enrollment from 50 to 350 students.

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Views

Admit it: You've considered the various ways you could sneak your favorite costume home with you. We don't blame you. Whether it's a jaw-dropping tutu or the world's most comfortable slip, costumes are made to make dancers look and feel beautiful. Here, we've rounded up some of our favorites, that just happen to be street-style ready.

Justin Peck's Entre Chien et Loup, at the Paris Opéra Ballet, featured stunning dresses by couture designer Mary Katrantzou which wouldn't look out of place on the streets of New York City. Peck and Katrantzou also worked together for his Belles Lettres at New York City Ballet—though those sheer, lace covered costumes are probably best left onstage.

Paris Opéra Ballet's Sae Eun Park (photo by Francette Levieux)

The costumes for Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette were designed by Jérôme Kaplan and the iridescent dresses are utterly 90s-chic. Throw a choker on with Juliette's party-scene dress and you're ready to step out tonight.

Former Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Carla Körbes (photo by Angela Sterling)

The costumes for Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room are iconic: Bright red, with black and white stripes (not to mention crisp white sneakers and red pointe shoes). The costumes were designed by another famous name in couture: Norma Kamali. Her costumes for Tharp wouldn't be out of place at an art opening or summertime concert.

(Photo via Miami City Ballet)

The new costumes for NYCB ballet master Peter Martins' Thou Swell were designed by Oscar de la Renta's Peter Copping. The results are spectacularly glamorous, and we can't really think of an occasion that would merit wearing something so fabulous. Maybe the Met Gala?

 

NYCB principals Sara Mearns and Rebecca Krohn (photos by Erin Baiano)

 

NYCB principals Sterling Hyltin and Teresa Reichlen (photos by Erin Baiano)

The costumes for Mark Morris' After You were designed by none other than Isaac Mizrahi. The jumpsuits would be so much fun to wear to an early-summer picnic...or maybe jet-setting around the Mediterranean.

American Ballet Theatre dancers (photo by Rosalie O'Connor)

 

The simple color palate of the costumes for Jiří Kylián's Forgotten Land brings to mind twilight and the approaching end of the year. These flattering dresses, designed by Kylián himself, would fit right in at a winter holiday party.

Pennsylvania Ballet dancers (photo by Alexander Iziliaev)

What are your favorite "street-style" costumes?

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue.

 

News

I can't even imagine the adrenaline that must have been pumping through Taylor Stanley's veins during New York City Ballet's performance last night. Minutes before the NYCB soloist jumped in for an injured Gonzalo Garcia in Hallelujah Junction, ballet master in chief Peter Martins promoted him to principal dancer backstage. According to an article in the New York Times, it was a spontaneous decision on Martins' part. Stanley's promotion is effective immediately.

Still, this announcement doesn't come as a surprise. Stanley has been garnering attention ever since he joined the company in 2009. He's a favorite of resident choreographer Justin Peck, having danced in every one of his premieres at NYCB (including the lead in February's The Most Incredible Thing). A beautifully lyrical and instinctive mover, he's one of those dancers you simply can't take your eyes off of. We certainly couldn't, which is why we chose him for our August/September cover story last year.

Want to get to know NYCB's new principal a little better? Here's a look at Stanley's thoughts on dancing one of his signature roles, George Balanchine's Square Dance.

News
Martins overseeing a rehearsal. The company performs the Bournonville classic next spring. Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

New York City Ballet will add Peter Martins' production of La Sylphide, the quintessential Bournonville ballet, to its repertoire next year. Martins debuted his version in 1985 at Pennsylvania Ballet. Now, 30 years later, it comes to Martins' own company.

La Sylphide has long been a staple of the Royal Danish Ballet, where Martins started his career. Bringing the work to NYCB, he says, is a very personal gesture. "This is an homage to my Danish heritage, as the ballets of Bournonville are the foundation of my own technique." Bournonville also informs the technique of many NYCB dancers. Those who attend the School of American Ballet are exposed to the style during their training. Martins' Sylphide—which will be paired with a revival of Stanley Williams' Bournonville Divertissements—will reinforce NYCB's connection to the style.

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Ballet Stars
Sterling Hyltin photographed for Pointe by Nathan Sayers.

Daylight saving time had been in effect only a few hours last November when New York City Ballet principal Sterling Hyltin entered an NYCB rehearsal studio to recapture history. In Classroom 2 on the seventh floor, the clock had been turned back to 1968, when NYCB premiered Balanchine's La Source, a demanding pas de deux with four solos set to a Léo Delibes score and made on Violette Verdy and John Prinz. The George Balanchine Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving the choreographer's ballets in a state as close to the original as possible, had arranged to tape Hyltin and Gonzalo Garcia in practice clothes performing La Source.

Verdy herself was there as an expert observer and advisor, while Helgi Tomasson, who often performed La Source at New York City Ballet before becoming artistic director of San Francisco Ballet, served as co-critic. Lined up along one mirrored wall of the classroom were an accompanist at a grand piano, a movie cameraman, sound technicians and an assistant responsible for keeping a boom mike hovering out of camera range to catch every word Verdy and Tomasson said to Hyltin and Garcia.

Choosing Hyltin for taping this demanding role would have surprised no one who saw her debut in La Source the last week of the 2010 spring season. She had only one opportunity to achieve its many piquant subtleties, such as the brace of gargouillades that blossom amid a flourish of footwork, and she performed each with the assurance and precision of a veteran. “NYCB ballet master Sally Leland invited me to observe the company rehearse the three casts," Verdy recalls. “Sterling was incredible, with endless arms and legs, and she was always open to criticism. Her dancing has a quality I call 'true from the inside.' "

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The following is guest blog by New York City Ballet soloist (and February/March 2010 cover girl) Kathryn Morgan. Stay tuned for more posts from Kathryn!

 

What a whirlwind week I've had! For the past month and a half, I've been busy rehearsing Peter Martins' new ballet for the New York City Ballet's Architecture of Dance Season, as well as our regular Balanchine/Robbins repertoire. I thought I wasn't going to be performing until May 7--but little did I know that a week before our spring gala, I'd end up replacing an injured Janie Taylor in Benjamin Millepied's new ballet. By the way, I hadn't ever seen a step of the piece! I'm not going to lie--I was slightly panicked! They had been working on this piece for weeks and were just starting to really fine-tune details.

So, a rehearsal was scheduled right away for me, and somehow I managed to learn the entire ballet in two hours. I definitely got a great brain workout that day! Thankfully I still had six days (which is actually an eternity at New York City Ballet) to feel comfortable with the ballet and get it in my body. For the next few days I had private rehearsals with Sean Suozzi, my partner for the piece, followed by complete rehearsals with everyone.

Finally, after many impromptu costume fittings, separate orchestra rehearsals, and lots of notes, the performance went exceedingly well. I am so happy that Benjamin was pleased, and even though I wasn't his original vision, I hope I did the ballet justice.

However, the greatest thing for me was how supportive everyone was through this crazy week. The entire cast was so wonderful helping me remember where to go and what came next. At City Ballet, injuries happen all the time, and there are people constantly getting thrown into ballets at the last minute. One of the great treasures of our company is that we are a little family. The encouragement, support, and respect we all have for each other are what make times like this manageable. I don't know how I would have done this without all of my fellow dancers' help. I received many compliments about how quickly I learned the ballet and how incredible it was that I could perform it so well under the pressure of the time crunch, but honestly, without every single person in that ballet, it never would have happened. So I thank each and every one of them from the bottom of my heart! It's times like this that make me realize how special the New York City Ballet truly is.

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.

It seems the Balanchine–Bournonville connection is alive and strong in the U.S. Not only did the Royal Danish Ballet recently complete a successful tour to NYC, and not only will New York City Ballet—helmed by Dane Peter Martins—present Martins' La Sylphide during its Spring Season, but on February 12 Ballet Arizona will be the first U.S. company to dance Bournonville's Napoli in its entirety.

Ib Anderson, the artistic director of Ballet Arizona, is also Danish and trained in Bournonville technique at the Royal Danish Ballet School. Like Martins, he also danced with New York City Ballet. Ballet Arizona has become notable through Anderson's coaching of Balanchine ballets, but now the company is making history with Bournonville.

Get tickets here.

Hyltin in Bournonville's La Sylphide. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

 

Tomorrow, New York City Ballet presents the company premiere of the quintessential Bournonville ballet La Sylphide, staged by ballet master in chief Peter MartinsNYCB principal Sterling Hyltin will dance the lead role of the Sylph on opening night. For Pointe's bi-weekly newsletter, we spoke with Hyltin about embodying the timeless classic.

What has embodying the Bournonville style in rehearsal been like? 

It has been wonderful from beginning to end. I admit the first week was really tough, because we're not used to dancing exactly this way. To achieve the airiness, you have to jump without your arms because you're supposed to lift them on the descent. You're really taking it all in the legs.


How would you describe your character of the Sylph? Do you feel like you relate to her in any way? 

The Sylph is innocent and pure. And she's all positivity. In general, I'm a really happy person, so I do relate to her in that sense. But I'm human, I have my bad days, so it's a little bit of mind over matter. You want to think about the positive instead of concentrating on the negative.


What are some of the challenges and hallmarks of the ballet? 

You do need to have an extra awareness of the feet at all times, and always be on your guard about articulation. Something that's been really wonderful is getting to do more pantomime. To concentrate on not just meaning love, but "Do you love me? I need to know." I'm finding little nuances that I can add to my other roles--it will really trickle into all of the repertory.


What advice would you offer to other dancers who are learning a role for the first time? 

My advice, which applies to me as well, is to enjoy every second of it. It's easy to get caught up--you want to do well, you're nervous--but you have to remember that this is why you work so hard every day. This is the fruit. You can't shy away from something you live for. Embrace it and enjoy it.

 

For even more interviews, tips, audition info and giveaways, sign up for our FREE e-newsletter.

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