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.

 

 

 

 

 
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Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet

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

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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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Lindsay Martell at a class performance. Courtesy Martell.

More than once, when I'm sporting my faded, well-loved ballet hoodie, some slight variation of this conversation ensues:

"Is your daughter the dancer?"

"Actually," I say, "I am."

"Wow!" they enthuse. "Who do you dance with? Or have you retired...?"

"I don't dance with a company. I'm not a professional. I just take classes."

Insert mic drop/record scratch/quizzical looks.

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Kevin Lloyd Photography, Courtesy Ballet Jörgen

Canada's Ballet Jörgen is committed to telling Canadian stories by Canadian choreographers. For its next full-length ballet, director Bengt Jörgen turned to what he calls "perhaps the most quintessential Canadian story" of all time: Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, about the flame-haired, precocious orphan Anne Shirley. Jörgen is choreographing the work, which will debut in Halifax, Nova Scotia (not far from Anne's fictional home in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island), on September 28 before embarking on a two-year tour of Canada and the U.S.

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