Ballet Stars
From left: Jennifer Stahl, Lonnie Weeks and Sasha De Sola in rehearsal for Trey McIntyre's new work. Photo by Christian Peacock for Pointe.

Photography by Christian Peacock

Summer is always a lively time at San Francisco Ballet, as the dancers return from vacation and launch into rehearsals for the upcoming season. But last July through September felt absolutely electric with creativity as the company created 12 world premieres for Unbound: A Festival of New Works, a cutting-edge program that will run April 20–May 6 at the War Memorial Opera House.

Artistic director Helgi Tomasson invited a wish list of international choreographers to participate: David Dawson, Alonzo King, Edwaard Liang, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Cathy Marston, Trey McIntyre, Justin Peck, Arthur Pita, Dwight Rhoden, Myles Thatcher, Stanton Welch and Christopher Wheeldon. Each got about 12 dancers, three weeks' studio time and, aside from a few general guidelines, total artistic freedom.

Keep reading... Show less
Corps member Andreas Kaas and soloist Ida Praetorius rehearsing The Flower Festival in Ganzano. Photo by Kyle Froman for Pointe.

Before Balanchine and Petipa, there was Bournonville. A key figure of ballet's Romantic era, August Bournonville directed the Royal Danish Ballet for 43 years during the 19th century, choreographing around 50 ballets. After his death, his successors codified his teachings into a formal pedagogical method that's still used at the Royal Danish Ballet School today. Bournonville's distinct style—highly intricate petit allégro, low and rounded port de bras, a head that follows the leading leg—aligns with his credo, in which he states that “the height of artistic skill is to know how to conceal the mechanical effort and strain beneath harmonious calm."

Keep reading... Show less
Susanne Grinder and Ulrik Birkkjær in Napoli . Photo by Costin Radu, Courtesy RDB.

The Royal Danish Ballet will perform a program featuring excerpts from August Bournonville's Napoli and La Sylphide, among other pieces, at the Joyce Theater January 13 through 18. The performances mark the 60th anniversary of the company's U.S. debut. The tour, consisting of only principals and soloists, was organized by the dancers themselves—with the blessing of artistic director Nikolaj Hübbe. Pointe spoke with principal dancer and tour coordinator Ulrik Birkkjær to find out what to expect.

What prompted the tour?

I organized our tour to Jacob's Pillow in 2007, and during our time there David Howard suggested that we perform at the Joyce Theater in New York. Since it's an anniversary year, it felt like the right moment.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Pointe Magazine in your inbox