Ballet Stars
Behind-the-scenes shot of NYCB dancers on set. Lawrence White, Courtesy Emily Kikta and Peter Walker.

Tonight, New York City Ballet opens its 53 annual summer season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. But if you're away at a summer intensive or busy rehearsing at your home studio and can't make it to a performance, we have the next best thing: seven new site specific videos made by and featuring NYCB dancers.

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News
Joseph Gordon, pictured here in George Balanchine's Who Cares?, became New York City Ballet's newest principal this weekend. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

On October 13, the evening before the close of New York City Ballet's fall season and longtime principal Joaquin De Luz's retirement performance, Jonathan Stafford, the leader of the company's interim artistic team, promoted seven company dancers: six men and one woman. In addition to De Luz, NYCB lost three other principal men this fall. Chase Finlay, Zachary Catazaro and Amar Ramasar were fired last month in the midst of a scandal surrounding the sharing of sexually explicit communications. With principal Adrian Danchig-Waring out of commission while recovering from a broken foot, the company has been in need of male dancers to bolster its upper ranks.

Joseph Gordon has been promoted to principal, and Daniel Applebaum, Harrison Coll, Claire Kretzschmar, Aaron Sanz, Sebastian Villarini-Velez and Peter Walker have been promoted to soloist. All seven made a number of debuts throughout the year and shone in featured roles; we've rounded up some of their recent accomplishments below.

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Viral Videos
via YouTube

What do you do when you finally have some time off after a busy season? Well, if you're the dancers of New York City Ballet, you find new ways to dance, obviously. Ahead of the company's 52nd annual residency at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, corps members (and super creatives) Peter Walker and Emily Kikta teamed up with their fellow dancers to choreograph and produce a series of videos leading up to the mainstage performances July 17-21.

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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
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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Members of NYCB at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Yesterday we told you about New York City Ballet corps dancers Emily Kikta and Peter Walker, the duo behind the Saratoga Performing Arts Center's video campaign in advance of NYCB's summer residency. Each day this week, SPAC has released one of eight short films on its website and social media channels that were choreographed, co-directed and filmed by the two dancers. And they're giving us an exclusive look at the last one of the series.

Shot on location this spring in Saratoga Springs and Troy, New York, these films shows NYCB dancers frolicking in train stations, parks, race tracks and other iconic locations in the area. Fittingly, this last one was filmed onstage at SPAC, where the company opens its summer season July 5. Starring Walker and NYCB corps members Devin Alberda, Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara, Mimi Staker, Sebastian Villarini-Velez, Sarah Villwock and Giovanni Villalobos, it shows off the theater's gorgeous natural surroundings.


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Ballet Careers
NYCB's Emily Kikta

Here at Pointe, we love dancers who use their talent to tap into other creative projects. For New York City Ballet corps dancers Emily Kikta and Peter Walker, their mutual love of choreography and film-making has yielded a major commission: creating eight short, site-specific films to promote NYCB's summer season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Shot on location in Saratoga Springs and nearby Troy, New York, the minute-long videos have been released one a day this week in advance of the season's opening on July 5. And we've got an exclusive sneak-peek at the last two films!



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Lauren Lovette of NYCB as Juliet in Peter Martins' Romeo + Juliet. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

It's been five years since a female choreographer premiered a work at New York City Ballet. Fortunately the 2016 fall gala on September 20 presents a more gender-diverse choreographic lineup, including company principal Lauren Lovette and independent choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. The gala program includes premieres by two other NYCB dancers: resident choreographer Justin Peck and corps member Peter Walker, who creates his first ballet for the company.

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Jim Lafferty

Two years after joining New York City Ballet in 2010, corps de ballet member Emilie Gerrity's career turned a corner. Choreographer Justin Peck selected her to be among eight dancers in his first ballet for the company, In Creases. “It had a huge impact on me," says Gerrity. “It helped me express myself in a way I was never able to before—to say, This is me, and this is my dancing."

Gerrity, a limpid dancer with enormous eyes, credits her exposure in the ballet with opening other doors. After In Creases, the Upstate New York native made her debut in featured roles in Jerome Robbins' Glass Pieces, Christopher Wheeldon's Soirée Musicale and others—all while continuing to dance her previous parts in the corps. “She's feminine, but at the same time deceivingly strong," says company ballet master Jean-Pierre Frohlich, who rehearsed her in Glass Pieces. “You would never think she could be an allégro technician, but she can. I describe her as a creature—beautiful to watch but not easy to put your finger on."

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