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Onstage This Week: The Royal Ballet in LA, ABT's Met Season Comes to a Close, and More!

The Royal Ballet's Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae in Mayerling. Alice Pennefather, Courtesy The Music Center.

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


The Royal Ballet Brings "Mayerling" to Los Angeles 

The Royal Ballet heads to Los Angeles for two weeks of performances at The Music Center this summer. From July 5–7, the company presents Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Mayerling, based on the true story of the 1889 deaths of Crown Prince Rudolf and his teenage mistress. July 12–13, the company joins forces with choreographer Wayne McGregor and composer-conductor Thomas Adès for Adès & McGregor: A Dance Collaboration. For this landmark production of music and dance world premieres, The Royal Ballet is joined by Company Wayne McGregor and the L.A. Phil.

ABT's Final Week of the Season Features "The Sleeping Beauty"

The eighth and final week of American Ballet Theatre's spring Met season is finally here. July 1-6 the company presents Alexei Ratmansky's lavish 2015 reconstruction of The Sleeping Beauty. This week's run features a few exciting debuts: ABT ballet master Keith Roberts will have his turn as Carabosse, Katherine Williams and Catherine Hurlin will dance Princess Florine, Joo Won Ahn takes on Bluebird and Aran Bell will perform Prince Désiré.

SFB Takes on Ballet Sun Valley

Summer dance festival season is officially underway. San Francisco Ballet makes its way to Idaho's Ballet Sun Valley on July 5 and 7 with two separate programs. The first is a gala style evening featuring artistic director Helgi Tomasson's The Fifth Season and six other short ballets and excerpts. On July 7, the company presents three ballets from its 2018 Unbound Festival of New Works: Stanton Welch's Bespoke, Trey McIntyre's Your Flesh Shall Be a Great Poem and Justin Peck's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.

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Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

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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Viral Videos

What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.

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Ballet Careers
Ali Cameron, Courtesy Queensland Ballet

An artistic director's position was far from Li Cunxin's mind when the Brisbane-based Queensland Ballet came calling in 2012. Since his retirement from the stage in 1999, the Chinese-Australian dancer had embarked on a highly successful career at the helm of a stockbroking firm. His wife, former dancer and current Queensland ballet mistress Mary McKendry Li, changed his mind, Li remembers. "She said, 'Wouldn't it be nice to give something back to the art form that we both have benefited so much from?' "

Seven years later, Li's contribution has been dramatic. Queensland Ballet, once a struggling choreographer-led company, has become one of Australia's most exciting repertoire ensembles, with Liam Scarlett on board as artistic associate. The budget has more than quadrupled, to over $20 million USD, and Li has launched not one but three major construction projects, with world-class headquarters, a theater and a new academy all in progress.

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