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Onstage This Week: World Ballet Day 2019, John Heginbotham Makes Ballet Debut, and Houston Ballet Comes to NYC!

The Washington Ballet's NEXTsteps program opens this week. Here are company dancers Ashley Murphy-Wilson and Alexandros Papajohn. Procopio Photography, Courtesy The Washington Ballet.

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


World Ballet Day 2019 Is Here!

Like us, you might feel like every day is World Ballet Day, but that doesn't mean we're not excited for the all-day live stream event coming our way on Wednesday October 23. This year's edition is co-hosted by three major international companies—The Royal Ballet, The Australian Ballet and The Bolshoi Ballet—but it also features streams from over 30 companies worldwide including Hong Kong Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet, English National Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Check out the Facebook pages for World Ballet Day, The Royal and Australian Ballet for up-to-date information, schedules and links to the streams.

John Heginbotham Breaks Into Ballet

The Washington Ballet opens its fall season with NEXTsteps, a program devoted to world premieres. October 23–27, the company performs works by a diverse pool of choreographers: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Jessica Lang and John Heginbotham.

While Ochoa and Lang are ballet-world veterans, Heginbotham is new to the scene. "John is one of the most creative, musical and theatrical choreographic voices today," says TWB artistic director Julie Kent. A former member of the Mark Morris Dance Group, Heginbotham most recently choreographed the innovative Broadway revival of Oklahoma! His new ballet will be a palindrome in movement and in music, using a suite of high-energy and quick-moving percussion quartets composed by Jason Treuting of So Percussion and played live. —Cadence Neenan

Hosuton Ballet Onstage at New York City Center

Seldom seen on the East Coast, Houston Ballet heads to New York City Center this week with a triple-bill program. The October 24-26 run features two New York premieres: Mark Morris' 2015 The Letter V and Justin Peck's 2019 Reflections. Also on the docket is Aszure Barton's all-male Come In.

ABT Fall Season Closes With Two Premieres and a Homecoming

American Ballet Theatre's fall Lincoln Center season closes October 27, but not before throwing another two premieres our way. October 23 marks the world premiere of former ABT dancer Gemma Bond's A Time There Was and the New York premiere of company principal James Whiteside's The New Romantics.

On October 26, ABT honors Herman Cornejo, who is celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company this year, with a special performance including a pièce d'occasion. Cornejo will be joined by his sister, former ABT soloist and Boston Ballet principal Erica Cornejo, for a performance of Ana María Stekelman's 1998 El Chamuyo.

Ballet Fantastique is Tutu Spooky

Ballet Fantastique co-directors Donna and Hannah Bontrager present the world premiere of Nevermore: Stories of Edgar Allan Poe October 25–27 in Eugene, Oregon. The ballet features some of Poe's most macabre and best-loved stories and poems, with original music played live by local folk orchestra Mood Area 52.

Boston Ballet Provides a Platform for Company Choreographers

October 24-25, Boston Ballet presents BB@home, an intimate black box theater performance that offers company members a chance to present their choreography. This year's program, ChoreographHER, features new works by six female Boston Ballet dancers: Lia Cirio, Chyrstyn Fentroy, Lauren Herfindahl, Sage Humphries, Abigail Merlis and Joy Womack. Learn more about the ChoreograpHER initiative in the above video.

Cincinnati Ballet Presents Septime Webre's "The Wizard of Oz" 

Last year, Colorado Ballet, Kansas City Ballet and Royal Winnipeg Ballet joined forces to produce Septime Webre's new The Wizard of Oz. This week, the yellow brick road extends to Ohio; Cincinnati Ballet presents the full-length ballet for the first time October 25-November 3. Catch a glimpse of rehearsal above (and check out this video of the company's wardrobe department bedazzling Dorothy's shoes).

Sarasota Ballet Opens Its Season with a Tribute to Ricardo Graziano

The first program of Sarasota Ballet's 2019-20 season runs October 25-27. Titled Graziano, Retrospective, it's a tribute to principal dancer and resident choreographer Ricardo Graziano's 10th anniversary with the company, and features three of his original works: Shostakovich Suite (2011), En las Calles de Murcia (2015) and In a State of Weightlessness (2015).

Ballet Careers
American Contemporary Ballet in rehearsal. Anastasia Petukhova, Courtesy ACB.

Lincoln Jones felt there was a pertinence missing from ballet when he decided to form American Contemporary Ballet. "People looking at a film today can pick apart screenwriting versus art direction and editing," says Jones. "They are really conversant with it. I thought ballet is never going to feel super-relevant until people can do that."

So how to do that? Connect the audience to the show.

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Rachel Neville, Courtesy Audition Dancewear

When you dig through your collection of leotards before class, do you ever think about how they're made, or what they're made from? Chances are, most dancers don't, and Audition Dancewear wants to do something about that.

The company—run by two mother-daughter duos, Kathy and Caroline Perry and Shelly and Suzanna Lathrum—has begun making leotards from recycled materials to reduce their carbon footprint and raise awareness around plastic consumption. The result is a sleek line of leos that don't sacrifice style or function, and that use four or five recycled water bottles per leo.

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News
Pratt + Kreidich Photography, Courtesy Dancers & Dogs

The holiday season is coming our way, and with it good cheer, a giving spirit and, of course, The Nutcracker. Our favorite photography duo, Dancers & Dogs, has found a way to garner that energy for a good cause: pet adoption.

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Sponsored by The Rock School
From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

What inspires busy pros to keep returning to their alma mater? We talked to three of The Rock School's buzziest alums about why they make it a priority to come back and teach:

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