English National Ballet has just named Tamara Rojo as it’s new artistic director. The 37-year-old Royal Ballet principal will take the reins from Wayne Eagling, who resigned a few weeks ago. Rojo has had her sights set on becoming an artistic director for quite some time—she has a master’s degree in scenic arts and has previously shadowed National Ballet of Canada’s Karen Kain to gain insight into the position. The task ahead for Rojo won't be easy: ENB has been plagued by challenging finances since before Eagling took the helm in 2005, and it’s managing director recently left a few weeks before Eagling. Yet despite the hurdles, the company boasts a packed touring schedule with 170 performances a year (ENB was originally designed as a way to show off fancy guest artists to the English countryside) as well as name dancers like Zdenek Konvalina, Bridgett Zehr and the flashy youngster Vadim Muntagirov. Rojo may be taking over a shaky company, but it’s one with serious potential. Beyond the implications for ENB, the appointment spells good news for the ballet world in general: Rojo joins Kain and the recently-announced future Miami City Ballet director Lourdes Lopez as the rare women leading top ballet companies today. See ballet.org.uk

 

 

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During one of Charlotte Nash's first few weeks with Houston Ballet II, she was thrown into a run-through of Balanchine's Theme and Variations. "I had never really understudied before and I didn't know what I was doing," she says. "I fell right away and was quickly replaced." For Nash, now a dancer with Festival Ballet Providence, the episode was a tough lesson. "I was mortified, but then I said to myself, 'Okay, I need to figure out how to learn things more quickly.'"

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Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's October 16–27 run honors principal Herman Cornejo, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a pas de deux with his sister, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo.

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