Julie Kent makes her mark on The Washington Ballet's Giselle, and more.

  • The Washington Ballet performs Giselle, March 1–5. Though it's not a premiere, former American Ballet Theatre star Julie Kent now helms the company, and Giselle was one of her signature roles with ABT. It's her first season as artistic director, and she'll be staging the ballet with her husband Victor Barbee. Check out some behind the scenes footage of Kent coaching TWB dancers, like the princely Brooklyn Mack:

  • Reset—a French documentary film that follows former Paris Opéra Ballet dancer Benjamin Millepied during the creation of his ballet Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward—will be available for streaming on Sundance Now, starting March 2. You'll see the mind-boggling efforts required from an artistic director/choreographer, and the equally stunning beauty of the POB dancers.

  • Sergei Polunin, whose foray into film seems to be evolving into a serious second career, joins the cast of Ralph Fiennes' Nureyev biopic, titled White Crow. Though Russian dancer Oleg Ivenko will play the lead, opposite Blue is the Warmest Color's Adele Exarchopoulos, Polunin is officially listed as a member of the cast. Recently, he's been working on Red Sparrow, a major Hollywood film billed as a spy thriller. We don't have many details, but we're looking forward to the first teasers from both of these films!

  • New York Theatre Ballet performs Vaslav Nijinsky's L'Après-midi d'un faune (The Afternoon of a Faun), March 1–4. The rarely performed ballet was created for Ballets Russes and was hugely controversial when it premiered in 1912, and over 100 years later it's as intriguing as ever. New York Theatre Ballet has been working with stager Ann Hutchinson Guest, whose dance notation research made possible the reconstruction of the ballet. The program also includes Frederick Ashton's La Chatte metamorphosée en femme, Antonia Franceschi's She Holds Out Her Hand, and world premieres by Pam Tanowitz and NYTB company member Steven Melendez.

Nureyev as the Faun

  • The University of Utah announced that, starting with the 2017–2018 school year, it will be offering an MFA in ballet, the only school in the U.S. to do so. The program will provide coursework in pedagogy, choreography and dance theory both in the classroom and onstage. Students will also undertake a self-designed thesis project as a culmination of their work. For more information, click here.

 

 

 

 

 
Summer Intensive Survival
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There's a sweet spot toward the end of August—after summer intensives have wrapped up and before it's time to head back to school or work—where the days are long, lazy and begging to be spent neck-deep in a pile of good books. Whether you're looking for inspiration for the upcoming season or trying to brush up on your dance history, you can never go wrong with an excellent book on ballet. We've gathered eight titles (all available at common booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble) guaranteed to give you a deeper understanding of the art form, to add to your end-of-summer reading list.

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James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico warm up onstage. Angela Sterling, Courtesy SDC.

On a sunny July weekend, hundreds of Seattle-area dance fans converged on tiny Vashon Island, a bucolic enclave in Puget Sound about 20 miles from the city. They made the ferry trek to attend the debut performance of the fledgling Seattle Dance Collective.

SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.

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Roman Mejia in Robbins' Dances at a Gathering. Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB.

The Princess Grace Foundation has just announced its 2019 class, and we're thrilled that two ballet dancers—New York City Ballet's Roman Mejia and BalletX's Stanley Glover—are included among the list of über-talented actors, filmmakers, playwrights, dancers and choreographers.

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The Royal Ballet's Alexander Campbell and Yasmine Naghdi in Ashton's The Two Pigeons. Tristram Kenton, Courtesy ROH.

While most ballet casts are 100 percent human, it's not unheard of for live animals to appear onstage, providing everything from stage dressing to supporting roles. Michael Messerer's production of Don Quixote features a horse and a donkey; American Ballet Theatre's Giselle calls for two Russian wolfhounds; and Sir Frederick Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee requires a white Shetland pony. Another Ashton masterpiece, The Two Pigeons, is well known for its animal actors. But though ballet is a highly disciplined, carefully choreographed art form, some performers are naturally more prone to flights of fancy—because they're birds.

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