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Onstage This Weekend: The World Premiere of Edwaard Liang's "Giselle," Ballet West's "Cinderella," The Olympics and More

BalletMet's world premiere of Edwaard Liang's "Giselle" opens this weekend. Photo by Jennifer Zumda, Courtesy BalletMet.

This weekend features two romantic ballets right on time for Valentine's Day, a mixed repertory program by New York Theatre Ballet including a work by Gemma Bond and plenty of Olympic figure skating featuring our favorite former dancer, Nathan Chen.


Ballet West presents Sir Frederic Ashton's Cinderella, opening on February 9, 2018 and running through the 25 at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City, UT. This timeless retelling of the classic fairytale promises lots of sparkly tutus and magical sets. We love this short video promo featuring real-life couple Beckanne Sisk and Chase O'Connell. Tickets can be purchased here.




BalletMet's artistic director Edwaard Liang is presenting the world premiere of his Giselle this weekend. This timeless story runs through February 17 at the Davidson Theatre in Columbus, OH. BalletMet is tying the premiere into Valentine's Day, asking fans to tag their Valentine in this Instagram post. Rather than include a long synopsis online, the company had dancers explain the plot of the ballet in these fun videos; we've included dancer Michael Sayre's comedic rendition below. Tickets are available here.



Straying from the theme of romance, New York Theatre Ballet presents their program REP this weekend at the Florence Gould Hall in New York City. Running on February 9-10 (and back on April 27-28 with the addition of two world premieres), the program includes works by Gemma Bond, David Gordon, Pam Tanowitz and Antony Tudor. You can purchase tickets here. If you're looking for a way to entertain any youngsters this weekend you can check out NYTB's Mother GOOSE!, also at Florence Gould Hall this weekend.


The Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea are officially underway. Be sure to catch figure skater Nathan Chen dance his way across the ice. You can read all about his early training at Ballet West Academy here.


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Alicia Alonso with Igor Youskevitch. Sedge Leblang, Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives.

Her Dying Swan was as fragile as her Juliet was rebellious; her Odile, scheming, her Swanilda, insouciant. Her Belle was joyous, and her Carmen, both brooding and full-blooded. But there was one role in particular that prompted dance critic Arnold Haskell to ask, "How do you interpret Giselle when you are Giselle?"

At eight, Alicia Alonso took her first ballet class on a stage in her native Cuba, wearing street clothes. Fifteen years later, put in for an ailing Alicia Markova in a performance of Giselle at New York's Metropolitan Opera House, she staked her claim to that title role.

Alonso received recognition throughout the world for her flawless technique and her ability to become one with the characters she danced, even after she became nearly blind. After a career in New York, she and her then husband Fernando Alonso established the Cuban National Ballet and the Cuban National Ballet School, both of which grew into major international dance powerhouses and beloved institutions in their home country. On October 17, the company announced that, after leading the company for a remarkable 71 years, Alonso died from cardiovascular disease at the age of 98.

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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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Sir Anthony Dowell dedicated four decades for his life to The Royal Ballet, first as a principal dancer, and then as the company's artistic director. His monumental career is a testament to his love for the art form. That love can also be seen in this solo from a 1980 performance of Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen's Four Schumann Pieces, created for the company five years earlier. Van Manen's choreography slips in and out of pedestrian and balletic vocabulary. Dowell demonstrates his virtuosity by ascending into sublime classical shapes without an intimation of effort.

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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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