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Sarasota Ballet Just Announced Marcelo Gomes As a Guest Artist For Next Season

Marcelo Gomes and Victoria Hulland in Sir Frederick Ashton's The Two Pigeons. Photo Frank Atura, Courtesy Sarasota Ballet.

Last December, in the midst of the #MeToo movement and the scandal surrounding Peter Martins, the ballet world was shocked when longtime American Ballet Theatre principal Marcelo Gomes resigned suddenly. A statement from the company revealed that ABT had learned of an allegation of sexual misconduct against Gomes related to an incident eight years prior. Gomes kept a very low profile in the aftermath before reemerging this spring. He presented a world premiere at The Washington Ballet in March and has been guesting internationally (this summer alone has him dancing in Japan, Mexico and Russia.) Now he will have a new company to call home: The Sarasota Ballet has just announced that Gomes will be joining their company as a guest artist for the 2018-2019 season.


Marcelo Gomes in Jorma Elo's "Still of Kings." Vutti Photography, Courtesy Sarasota Ballet.

Gomes will start his tenure with Sarasota Ballet by dancing the final pas de deux of Sir Frederick Ashton's The Two Pigeons during the company's New York City tour to the Joyce Theater in August. He'll later perform George Balanchine's "Diamonds" with the company in December and a world premiere by Ricardo Graziano in January. Then in March, Gomes will dance in the revival of Ashton's Apparitions.

Gomes is no stranger to Sarasota: He guested with the company in works by Ashton twice last year, and choreographed a world premiere titled Dear Life... which debuted last December. Most recently he returned in April to perform at a company gala with Misty Copeland. Last year, Pointe asked artistic director Iain Webb about his decision to commission a ballet by Gomes. "He seemed to fit like a glove with us down here," he said. In a statement released today, Gomes said, "I'm thrilled to return to The Sarasota Ballet as a guest artist for this coming season. Working alongside these wonderful dancers, and of course working with Margaret and Iain in the studio, is such a joy."

Ballet Careers
Gray Davis with wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary, after his graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Courtesy Trenary.

When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office.

Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist Cassandra Trenary, to many he's best known for saving the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The heroic effort earned him the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.

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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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Megan Amanda Ehrlich, Courtesy LEAP Program

Claire Sheridan wanted to change the status quo. Leading up to the 1990s, she recalls, "there was a 'shut up and dance' mind-set," and as the founder of the dance program at St. Mary's College of California and a longtime teacher in professional companies, she had seen too many dancers retire with no plan for a successful career transition. "At that time, if you thought about education and the future," she says, "you were not a committed dancer. I wanted to fight that."

With the support of St. Mary's, Sheridan developed the Liberal Education for Arts Professionals program, or LEAP, an innovative liberal-arts bachelor's degree program designed especially for professional dancers. She first presented her idea to executives at San Francisco Ballet. "Kudos to that company, because they said, 'This is great,'" she says. "Eleven of the first 18 dancers who started in August 1999 were from SFB."

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I'm a college freshman, and my dance program isn't challenging enough. We only have ballet three times a week and a few hours of modern, and my classmates aren't as dedicated as I am. There's a small dance company nearby, where I was hoping to take extra classes, but I don't have a car. I want to transfer, but I feel like I won't be in good enough shape for auditions. —Tara

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