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Ballet West's Emily Neale. Jayme Thornton.

This is Pointe's Summer 2019 cover story. You can subscribe to the magazine here, or click here to purchase this issue.

In Ballet West's company class at Salt Lake City's historic Capitol Theatre, demi-soloist Emily Neale stands poised in first position, her hair swirled into a slightly disheveled bun. In any other room, her 5' 8" frame would be a standout, but in this company—where the tallest woman is 6' 1"—her height is hardly something to note. Rather, it's her self-possession. As the dancers around her seek to impress on-looking artistic staff, 24-year-old Neale seems unfazed. Her épaulement breezes, her allégro soars and suspends, her technique is solid, and all the while, she is calm.

Her unflappability was built along a very patient path to Ballet West. While clearly talented, Neale struggled to find work for two years, enduring the pressures of rejection while waiting for the right stars to align. Yet she remained steadfast, and despite her difficult start, her timeline caught up with her talent once she landed at Ballet West. Since joining as a trainee in 2015, she's risen rapidly to demi-soloist. In fact, it's the fastest climb the company has seen since principal Beckanne Sisk.

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Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Photo by Steven Trumon Gray, courtesy Complexions.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, and we can hardly contain our excitement. Their longstanding commitment to diversity and daring, edgy repertoire has made them an exemplar of American contemporary ballet today. The company's season opener will be held at the Joyce Theater from February 19–March 3. Works include the world premiere of Complexions co-founder and choreographer Dwight Rhoden's WOKE; a compilation spanning 25 years of the company's repertory titled From Then to Now; the return of the David Bowie tribute Star Dust; and the New York City premiere of Bach 25. A gala evening will be held February 21, in which Complexions co-founder and co-artistic director Desmond Richardson will perform for the last time as a full-time company member.

Pointe caught up with Rhoden and Richardson in separate interviews to hear them reflect on what the past 25 years has meant to them, what audiences can expect from their anniversary season, and why Richardson is choosing to step away from his role as full-time company member.

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Ballet Careers
Justin Peck and Patricia Delgado in The National's "Dark Side of the Gym" video. Photo by Ezra Hurwitz, courtesy Peck.

Last November, New York City Ballet resident choreographer Justin Peck and former Miami City Ballet principal Patricia Delgado masterfully took classical ballet to an entirely new medium in a haunting music video for The National's song "Dark Side of the Gym."


In just five minutes, Peck (acting as both the video's choreographer and director) and Delgado—who are a couple in real life—told the story of a love that's not meant to last. (Ezra Hurwitz, a former MCB dancer, served as the film's producer and editor.) Using tight shots, the audience got to experience ballet through the smallest shift in facial expression, and it was magical—so magical that Peck has been nominated for a 2018 World Choreography Award. He and Delgado performed the piece on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" last Monday, and tonight they're expanding on the video for a world premiere at New York City Center's Fall for Dance Festival.

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