Joaquín de Luz, The Prodigal Son, Returns Home

It is said that “home is where the heart is” and for Joaquín de Luz, the prodigal son, Madrid is home. His initial term of five years as director of Spain’s Compañía Nacional de Danza began on September 1, 2019; this effectively means that he has thus spent half of his first year in this new role in some form of confinement be it domiciliary or regional.

But this hasn’t derailed the former New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre star. In fact, he seems poised as ever to create an identity for his country’s national dance company, one that demonstrates how a singular group of artists can be versed in so many ways.

This goal was the inspiration for the program de Luz curated for the company’s return to Teatro Real since he has taken over – “Apollo” (George Balanchine), “Concerto DSCH” (Alexei Ratmansky), and “White Darkness” (Nacho Duato). He explains how the three pieces form a stylistic coherency in which there is a progression from classical ballet to neoclassical ballet to contemporary ballet, and how the music of Stravinsky, Shostakovitch, and Jenkins, respectively, mirror this artistic diversity. 

The Prodigal Son Dances Again

De Luz believes that “Teatro Real is the best theatre in the world” and that of course, “Madrid, the best city”. And the pride that the 44 years-young director exudes extends beyond his patria mater.

His eyes fill with emotion when he comments on the hard work his dancers have invested to overcome the challenges they have faced and achieve the accomplishments they have gained; it appears that indeed he has returned home to his family.

His company, along with the rest of Spain, spent over 100 days in isolation this past spring and summer. “Keeping a dancer in their home for three months is like keeping a lion in a cage,” he expresses. Once out of the metaphorical cage, de Luz so much desired to share the significant return to ballet barres and marley floors with his dancers that he decided to further involve himself in the creative process.

On opening night, de Luz will take the stage once again alongside fellow Spaniard and New York City Ballet colleague Gonzalo García in “Concerto DSCH”. When reflecting on this decision to again dance this role which Ratmansky created for him, de Luz says with a slight chuckle, “At least I will dance it one more time. Maybe I’ll regret it later. It’s quite physical”.

Reinventing Giselle

On the heels of this dynamic repertory program is the world premiere of de Luz’s “Giselle”. “What would it be like if [Gustavo Adolfo] Bécquer wrote ‘Giselle’?”, the self-proclaimed romantic asked himself when looking for inspirational guidance. De Luz is pulling this classical ballet from its traditional medieval setting and placing it into the Spanish Romantic period. He feels that Bécquer may be somewhat of a forgotten poet despite being author to some of Spain’s most beautiful writing.

I had the opportunity to speak with de Luz in more detail regarding his vision about:

– restructuring of the plot: “It always bothered me, things about the beginning [of ‘Giselle’]…and the end”;

– rearranging Adolphe Adam’s score: “We’re not adding any new music, we’re doing things to the music…at times”;

– and voiceovers: “We’re gonna hear Bécquer/Albrecht’s voice with Bécquer’s verses. And we’re gonna hear the voice of Giselle at the end. It’s done really well and respectively”.

Suffice to say, nobody could see the wheels turning in my head nor the excitement in my heart nor the open mouth hidden behind my mask.

El curador de jamón

De Luz doesn’t see himself as a choreographer in the way a dictionary would define one to be. In fact, he says mischievously that he’s more like Diaghilev – “un curador de jamon” (“curador” really means “one who cures meat”, but with no Spanish word for “curator” it’s the closest false linguistic friend it has). He likes to imagine and invent things, to add ingredients, and he is very much enjoying this facet of dance. He says there’s so many things in his head so… “Why not”?

Compañía Nacional de Danza’s repertory program will be presented from November 19-21 at Teatro Real and Giselle will run from December 9-22 at Teatro de la Zarzuela

No performances found!

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Featured Photo of Joaquín de Luz, The Prodigal Son, at Teatro Real © La Compañía Nacional de Danza

La Compañía Nacional de Danza Prepares for a New Giselle

On Tuesday the Compañía Nacional de Danza in Spain had a very exciting day: all together – the artistic team, the technical team, the cast of dancers, and patrons via Zoom – met for a presentation about “Giselle” by the project’s creative team. The full length ballet’s choreography and staging will be by the company’s Artistic Director Joaquín De Luz.


Those responsible for the dramaturgy, scenery, costumes, and lighting for “Giselle” were the protagonists of a session where each one shared what will be presented at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid beginning December 9th. It was an informative meeting so that all of the La Compañía Nacional de Danza’s artists could immerse themselves in the history of “Giselle” with key information that will help the company build the project as a resounding, solid, and coherent work from every possible angle.



De Luz’s version is inspired by work by a fellow Spaniard, romantic poet Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer thus giving the audience a perspective different from the traditional story.


La Compañía Nacional de Danza Prepares for a New Giselle

La Compañía Nacional de Danza Performances

No performances found!

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The Kennedy Center 2021 Ballet Season

Assuming all goes well, there will indeed be a Kennedy Center 2021 ballet season for dance lovers to look forward to after missing out on shows this fall. Performances are contingent on Washington, DC entering phase 4 of reopening to be dictated by Mayor Muriel Bowser.


Over the past four months I’ve been struck by the heartening proof that we need artists and the arts now more than ever,” said Deborah F. Rutter, President of the Kennedy Center. “The Center has chosen to move forward with optimism balanced by safety and constant re-evaluation as the effects of the pandemic continue to evolve. Even with a shortened season, the Kennedy Center strives to provide a broad range of world-class arts to the widest possible audience—in-person and digitally. Our supporters and patrons have given us strength during these unusual times; as the coming months unfold, we are exceedingly grateful for the patience, flexibility, and trust of our audiences.”


Audiences will be able to see the Kennedy Center debut of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo along with annual favorites New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. The three ballet companies have distinct styles and they will all be showcasing full-length ballets – Cinderella, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Don Quixote, respectively.


Click on the images below to learn more details about each series.

February 24-27, 2021

Choreography: Jean-Christophe Maillot

March 23-28, 2021

Choreography: George Balanchine

April 21-25, 2021

Choreography: Marius Petipa

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La Compañía Nacional de Danza: A Much Awaited Return

It’s a moment that many have been waiting for – and are curious about – ballet companies performing again. Spanish audiences are in for a treat as their national ballet company, La Compañía Nacional de Danza begins their 2020-2021 season with a mixed program to be performed in Granada and Madrid as part of open-air festivals in both cities.

The program features what appears to be small cast works, one assumes in the effort to minimize close contact in this age of social distancing. It has been curated in dedication to all of the professionals who have been on the front line fighting during this COVID-19 crisis.


This ballet is rarely performed in its entirety and all things considered, it is most likely the famous pas de deux that will be presented for this program. The lighthearted dance between two young lovers is based on Impressions de voyage, a tale by Alexandre Dumas, and highlights playful footwork and musicality.

LOVE FEAR LOSS (Ricardo Amarante)

The Brazilian choreographer’s work is inspired by the life of  Edith Piaf and is fittingly set to her music. The ballet arcs from the personal loves and losses experienced by the French singer. The video below is set to start in order to see an excerpt of the piece.

A SUITE OF DANCES (Jerome Robbins)

Also gracing the stage is Artistic Director Joaquín de Luz in a solo probably most associated with Mikhail Baryshnikov. The ballet has been danced by a roster of great male dancers and  carries us through his wit and emotion set to four movements from Bach’s 6 Suites for Solo Cello

ARRIAGA (Mar Aguiló, Pino Alosa, Joaquín De Luz)

Closing is a new collaborative work set to music by – and in honor of – Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga, a young 19th century Spanish composer. The choreography was created keeping in mind the labor protocols set by the government during the strict confinement in Spain; therefore being that some of the dancers were living together, the piece incorporates several pas de deux.


Tickets for La Compañía Nacional de Danza:

July 22, 2020 Festival de Granada, Granada

July 29 – August 2, 2020 Veranos de la Villa, Madrid

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Miami City Ballet 2020-2021 Season

Miami City Ballet celebrates its 35th anniversary during the 2020-2021 season. Dubbed “A Love Letter to South Florida”, it pays tribute to the cultural, artistic, and community diversity in the region.

The works presented here as part of our 35th
anniversary season illustrate the love, beauty, strength and resiliency that are a sheer reflection of the
brilliant communities that have long inspired us and, have kept us moving throughout our journey,”

– Miami City Ballet’s Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez

ABLAZE (October 16 - November 15)

A sizzling line-up of collaborative world-premieres all created with the heart and soul of the Magic City and South Florida communities in mind. MCB School graduate Durante Verzola will debut a sensual new work featuring designs by Miami-raised international fashion designer, Esteban Cortázar (Ungaro, Net-a-Porter). The “skilled and sophisticated” (New York Times) Princess Grace award-winner Claudia Schreier will debut a sexy-cool contemporary work mixed with dynamic visual artistry, providing the perfect canvas for MCB dancers to show off their electrifying kineticism. And, the “supremely gifted” (Vanity Fair), Miami-born, Alvin-Ailey star Jamar Roberts and genre-defying composer Sam Hyken, the creative force behind Nu Deco Ensemble will premiere a powerful new work.

THE NUTCRACKER (December 11-30)

Of course, no season is complete without George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. Come see how the “magic happens” (Los Angeles Times) when the famed holiday spectacular visits Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach.

PRODIGAL SON (January 15-31)

Three emotionally charged works by three distinguished choreographers that pushed the boundaries of what we expect from ballet. These masterpieces helped fortify MCB’s position as a trusted leader in performing master repertory works: George Balanchine’s dramatic tale of sin and redemption Prodigal Son; Paul Taylor’s sensuous tango wrapped in the modern dance idiom Piazzolla Caldera; and Jerome Robbins’ visually stunning tribute to New York City, Glass Pieces.

SWAN LAKE (February 12 - March 7)

Audiences will discover why “this Swan Lake has become the one by which all others are judged,” (The New York Times) when MCB presents the North American premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s full-length Swan Lake. The timeless and achingly beautiful ballet set to  Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous score, has been beloved by audiences for over a century. For this Swan Lake, Ratmansky dug deep within the history of the fabled ballet, reconstructing some of the original choreography through extensive research and notations dating back to the 1895 Marius Petipa/Lev Ivanov production.

More than 50 dancers will adorn the stage in exquisite detail to tell the story of Prince Siegfried, Princess Odette and her fellow spellbound swans, the evil Baron and impostor Odile. From a grand and gorgeous medieval court to the lakeside under a midnight moon, the romance of this stunning Swan Lake will set your heart alight.

AFTERNOON OF A FAUN (March 19 - April 11)

Two titans of 20th century dance: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins come together in works that beautifully demonstrate the dancers’ technical virtuosity and joie de vivre that is at the heart of the company. The line-up includes two Balanchine masterpieces – the neo-classical showstopper Symphony in Three Movements, the seminal work that launched MCB’s reputation as leaders in performing master repertory works, alongside the lightning bolt of joy Ballo della Regina. Plus, Jerome Robbins’ minimalistic nod to the narcissism of youth, Afternoon of a Faun and the company premiere of the rarely seen, sublimely contemplative, ancient Greece inspired Antique Epigraphs, both set to music by Claude Debussy. These Robbins works complement each other perfectly in this program by legends of choreography.

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Pacific Northwest Ballet 2020-2021 Season

The 48th Pacific Northwest Ballet season has been announced by Artistic Director Peter Boal. Highlights include George Balanchine’s dazzling Jewels, and Crystal Pite’s remarkable Emergence; world premieres by Jessica Lang and Alejandro Cerrudo; the return of the popular story ballets Roméo et Juliette and Coppélia; and the PNB premieres of works by Penny Saunders, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon. The line-up concludes with a triple-bill of hits by Balanchine, Cerrudo, and Alexei Ratmansky. For family audiences, PNB is also presenting its all-matinee production of Snow White (performed by students of the Pacific Northwest Ballet School) and of course, just in time for holiday season, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®.

JEWELS (September 25 - October 4 )

Opening the season with sparkling élan, George Balanchine’s Jewels is a perfect primer of the iconic choreographer’s style: Emeralds whispers of grace, courtesy, and French perfume; Rubies sizzles with American sass; and Diamonds conjures the magnificence of old St. Petersburg.

ALL PREMIERE (November 6 – 15)

ALL PREMIERE celebrates a lineage of powerful female choreographers from Twyla Tharp (Sweet Fields), to Jessica Lang (Stabat Mater), to up-and-comer Penny Saunders (So to Speak), each with their own bright and arresting perspective.


The Northwest’s favorite holiday tradition! PNB’s production of the iconic Balanchine ballet features sets and costumes designed by children’s author and illustrator Ian Falconer (Olivia the Pig).

ROMÉO ET JULIETTE (February 5 – 14)

“One of the most beautiful ballets adapted from Shakespeare’s masterpiece that can be seen today.” (Scènes Magazine) Jean-Christophe Maillot infuses Shakespeare’s tragic tale of star-crossed lovers with intoxicating emotion and heart-rending beauty.

DIRECTOR’S CHOICE (March 19 – 28)

Contemporary masters explore life in our increasingly complicated world in this year’s DIRECTOR’S CHOICE line-up. Crystal Pite’s riveting audience favorite, Emergence, will share the stage with Bound To, Christopher Wheeldon’s essay on disconnectedness in these tech-obsessed times, and a world premiere by PNB resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo (One Thousand Pieces, Little mortal jump) completes the triple-bill.

SNOW WHITE (March 21 – 28)

Who’s the fairest of them all? Snow White, of course! Danced by the students of Pacific Northwest Ballet School, this hour-long narrated matinee version of the treasured classic was designed for younger audience members.

COPPÉLIA (April 16 – 25)

The return of the happiest ballet on earth! A hilarious and charming tale of mistaken identity, Coppélia promises bravura classical ballet, exquisite scenery and costumes, and pristine choreography for the PNB company plus 24 tiny dancers from the PNB School.

MODERN HITS (June 4 – 13)

This collection of works pays homage to ballet’s past while ushering the art form into the future. The program spans nearly a century of modern American ballet, from the intensely theatrical Pictures at an Exhibition by Alexei Ratmansky, to the hypnotic flow of Alejandro Cerrudo’s Silent Ghost, to the fountainhead of contemporary classicism – George Balanchine’s Apollo.

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Ballet West 2020-2021 Season

Ballet West‘s marks its 56th season in 2020-2021, adding an extra program to their schedule. They will entertain audiences with several Utah premieres as well as annual favorites.


Our dancers are great athletes, artists, and storytellers, and the 20/21 season will highlight and underline their talents. This is a season of enormous productions, and small, earthly stories. Only a company with extreme versatility and boundless talent and energy could present these works in one season. Proving, as I often say, that Ballet West is as dynamic and expansive as the Rocky Mountain region we proudly represent.”

– Ballet West’s Artistic Director Adam Sklute

DRACULA (October 23-31)

Just in time for Halloween, Ben Stevenson’s family-friendly Dracula opens the season in extravagant flair. Ballet West last performed this epic ballet nearly 10 years ago to standing ovations for the production’s stunning sets, exploding chandeliers, and sweeping choreography. The Los Angeles Times called Dracula, “a spectacle of an order ballet audiences seldom see today… exquisitely beautiful and atmospheric.” Stevenson is a master storyteller, and in this production, he turns Bram Stoker’s iconic tale into a sensory thrill ride.

NINE SINATRA SONGS (November 6-14)

Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs will headline a triple bill that showcases three modern masterworks. The program begins with Ballet West’s resident choreographer Nicolo Fonte’s Almost Tango, a ballet that highlights his unique take on the passionate style of the Argentinean dance of the same name. Like Fonte’s Carmina Burana, Rite of Spring, and Fox on the Doorstep, Almost Tango speaks to the soul with both joy and heartache. Almost Tango is followed by Return to a Strange Land, choreographed by Jiří Kylián in 1975 as an elegy to his mentor, the late John Cranko. The ballet, an exploration of Kylián’s own grief, features a stage strewn with Autumn leaves as dancers move seamlessly through powerful architectural movements, accompanied by a haunting solo piano composition by Leoš Janáček. Finally, Tharp’s 1982 Nine Sinatra Songs, is considered a classic of late 20th century choreography, featuring costumes designed by Oscar de la Renta, seven glamorous couples dance to the cashmere voice of Frank Sinatra, as Tharp finds sensuality, wry comedy, and ultimately profundity in “Old Blue Eye’s” music.

THE NUTCRACKER (December 11-26)

The Nutcracker returns. More than three quarters of a century after Ballet West’s founder Willam Christensen choreographed it, America’s first Nutcracker looks as fresh and relevant as it did the day it opened. Today, it is as emblematic of the holidays as Christmas trees or menorahs. Artistic Director Adam Sklute has been recognized recently in The New York Times and on NPR for his updates to the Chinese variation, by working with the Christensen family to interpolate Mr. C’s brother Lew’s divertissement and adjusting the make-up to create a greater celebration of Chinese culture.

ROMEO AND JULIET (February 12-20)

After a long hiatus, Michael Smuin’s Romeo and Juliet returns to Ballet West. Smuin was an early student of Willam Christensen and became distinguished in his own right – first as a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and the San Francisco Ballet, later as co-artistic director of the San Francisco Ballet alongside Lew Christensen, and finally as founder of his eponymous ballet company. Smuin’s dynamic Romeo and Juliet is an energetic version of Shakespeare’s epic and beloved story. Intensely human, it is conveyed through emotive choreography and Sergei Prokofiev’s dramatic score.

RODEO (April 9-17)

Three Utah premieres from American icons headline April’s triple bill. The program opens with Glass Pieces, Jerome Robbins’ pioneering masterpiece set to music by Philip Glass. The work first debuted in 1983 and was considered an instant classic that captures the pulsating heartbeat of metropolitan life. The program continues with Belles-Lettres, an ardent and romantic ballet from current worldwide phenomenon Justin Peck, who at just 32 years old, is New York City Ballet’s resident choreographer, a winner of the Tony Award, and tapped by Steven Spielberg to choreograph the film adaptation of West Side Story. Finally, the headliner of this program, Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, is an upbeat celebration of the character of the American West underlined by Aaron Copland’s famous score, (audiences may especially recognize the Hoe-Down section). After de Mille received 22 curtain calls on the ballet’s opening night in 1942, Rodgers and Hammerstein approached her to choreograph their upcoming production of Oklahoma!. In the 78 years since its premiere, Rodeo has been established as one of the very first American ballets based on American themes and is considered one of the world’s great ballets.


In addition to the mainstage season, Ballet West will celebrate 10 years of the Family Classics Series with the staging of The Little Mermaid. This one-hour family-friendly ballet will be performed by Ballet West II and students of the Ballet West Academy. The Family Classics Series includes guided narration to help viewers follow the action on stage. Conceived by Artistic Director Adam Sklute and choreographed by Principal Ballet Master Pamela Robinson Harris and Peggy Dolkas, former Associate Director of Ballet West II, audiences are welcomed into a watery world that follows Hans Christian Andersen’s story of a brave mermaid in search of true love.


Once again, audiences will see dancers and choreographers exploring their art form in intriguing and cutting-edge new creations. This year, choreographers from within Ballet West will create new works alongside Scottish Ballet’s Resident Choreographer Sophie Laplane, whose ballets have been seen around the world and called “gorgeously humanistic” by The Telegraph.

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Source: Ballet West 

The Joffrey Ballet 2020-2021 Season

The 2020-2021 season is a landmark one as it is also its inaugural season of performances at Lyric Opera House. Each program also features live music played by the Lyric Opera Orchestra, directed by Scott Speck.

It gives me great joy to begin a milestone year at the Joffrey with productions that I have wanted to bring to Chicago for a long time,”

– The Joffrey Ballet’s Artistic Ashley Wheater

MANON (October 14-25)

From the ornate salons of Paris to the mysterious wilds of colonial Louisiana, the beautiful Manon finds herself caught between a life of luxury and the prospect of true love. A tangled web of romance, desire, and deceit ensues in this dramatic masterwork from one of ballet’s greatest choreographers. With music by Massenet, Manon is considered a must-see of the ballet canon.

 MacMillan’s classic three-act ballet (based on the 18th-century French novel by Abbé Prévost, L’Histoire du Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut), features music by French composer Jules Massenet and was originally created and staged for The Royal Ballet in 1974, when MacMillan was then the company’s artistic director. The piece has since become a staple of The Royal Ballet repertoire and for companies around the world.. 

THE NUTCRACKER (December 11-26)

Wheeldon’s reimagined classic rings in the holidays like no other. Follow young Marie and the Nutcracker Prince on a Christmas Eve journey through the 1893 World’s Fair, a dazzling spectacle of sights, sounds, and enchantment. This annual holiday tradition celebrates the magic of the season and the rich cultural heritage of Chicago.

A ballet in two acts set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, The Nutcracker features an award-winning creative team, including Tony Award®-nominated set and costume designer Julian Crouch, Caldecott Medal Award-winning author Brian Selznick, Obie and Drama Desk award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist, Tony Award®-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz and Tony Award®-winning projection designer Ben Pearcy/59 Productions.

OF MICE AND MEN and SERENADE (February 17-28)

The Joffrey’s winter program highlights the world premiere of Cathy Marston’s Of Mice and Men, a new adaptation following the successful Chicago premiere of Marston’s Jane Eyre during the Joffrey’s 2019-2020 season. The program also features a Joffrey premiere by pioneering choreographer George Balanchine

Hope abounds for George Milton and Lennie Small, two drifters looking for work on the golden farms of Depression-era California. When tragedy strikes, George and Lennie face difficult choices that test the nature of their relationship. Marston goes from page-to-stage with Steinbeck’s tender tale of friendship, perseverance, and sacrifice, with an original score by Academy Award®-nominated composer Thomas Newman. Of Mice and Men marks Marston’s first original creation for The Joffrey Ballet.


Serenade, Balanchine’s first ballet created in America originated as a lesson in stage technique, using unexpected events from rehearsals as the basis for the choreography.

“When one student fell, he incorporated it. Another day, a student arrived late, and this too became part of the ballet.” —The George Balanchine Trust

Balanchine subsequently reworked the ballet several times before landing on its current iteration, which features four movements based on a score by Tchaikovsky: Sonatina, Waltz, Russian Dance, and Elegy.

THE LITTLE MERMAID (April 21 - May 2)

Dive into the emotional depths of Neumeier’s beautifully haunting adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s 1837 fairytale. With an original score by composer Lera Auerback, this expressionist ballet follows the tormented mermaid heroine, as she travels between the divergent worlds of land and sea—one utterly complex, the other beautifully serene.

Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid was originally commissioned by The Royal Danish Ballet to commemorate Anderson’s 200th birthday. It received its world premiere in Copenhagen in 2005, and its North American Premiere for the San Francisco Ballet in 2010.

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Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre 2020-2021 Season

The 2020-2021 season of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre features three story ballets for the entire family as well as repertory programs sure to delight those who appreciate more contemporary works as well.

Balanchine + Tchaikovsky

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s storied history with Balanchine and Tchaikovsky is revived in this mixed-repertory production celebrating two of ballet’s greatest contributors. The music of P.I. Tchaikovsky has provided the backbone for many of George Balanchine’s most exquisite ballets, including the invigorating Theme and Variations, the expansive Allegro Brillante and the consummate Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, set to the classic music of Swan Lake. This special event also features Diamonds, the brilliant third movement of Balanchine’s Jewels.

The Nutcracker

The magic of the holiday season fills the Benedum Center stage in The Nutcracker. PBT’s Pittsburgh-inspired production captures the excitement of the original story through five fanciful scenes, over 150 unique costumes and Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. With a rotating cast of dozens of dancers, each performance provides a fresh experience to audiences and artists alike.


A classic fairy tale is renewed with romance at its core in the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre premier of Kent Stowell’s Cinderella. Attend the royal ball with Cinderella, her wicked step sisters and her prince as the familiar tale of true love unfolds through grand theatrical scenery, glittering costumes and Prokofiev’s splendid score.

Here + Now

This mixed-repertory production brings together celebrated choreographers to create stunning dance for the here and now in the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. The Quiet Dance, from Pittsburgh native Kyle Abraham, captures the feelings of frustration and isolation through sweeping movement, beginning in silence and then carried by the gentleness of Bill Evans’ arrangement of Bernstein’s “Some Other Time.” The beloved popular music of Paul Simon sets the stage for Dwight Rhoden’s physical and visceral Simon Said. Finally, PBT Artist in Residence and local choreographer Staycee Pearl presents the world premier of SKIN + saltwater, a visionary piece created for the PBT Company.

Modern Masters

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre returns to the August Wilson African American Cultural Center with a mixed-repertory program featuring Mark Morris’ exultant Maelstrom, set to Beethoven’s Ghost Trio. Nacho Duato puts the music of Claude Debussy at the center of his enchanting Duende, fluidly melding the human form and the shape of sound to create a magical landscape. The final piece of the performance will be chosen by Susan Jaffe, PBT’s incoming artistic director.

Alice in Wonderland

Step into a surreal world of outlandish illusion, dreamlike scenery and your favorite Lewis Carroll characters in Derek Deane’s Alice in Wonderland. A whimsical medley of Tchaikovsky’s music provides the perfect backdrop to the madness of deranged tea parties, unhinged games of croquet and extraordinary dance. Don’t miss the madcap ballet the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette calls an “old-fashioned romp through [the] British classic, ripe with an over-the-top music hall flavor.

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The National Ballet of Canada 2020-2021 Season

The National Ballet of Canada 2020-2021 season is an exciting one that opens with a repertory program. Following is a year of both classics and world premieres, full-lengths and mixed repertoire

Fall Season

Angels’ Atlas & Serenade & The Four Seasons

Crystal Pite, the Olivier Award-winning choreographer, created Angels’ Atlas for The National Ballet of Canada in March 2020 to rapturous reviews. The ballet unfolds against a morphing wall of light that carries the illusion of depth and a sense of the natural world. Here, the dancing body becomes a sign of humanity’s impermanence and – equally – its vitality within a vast, unknowable world. Set to original music by Owen Belton and choral pieces by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Morten Lauridsen, Angels’ Atlas is a profound new work from one of the world’s leading contemporary choreographers.

The Sleeping Beauty, choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev

Rudolf Nureyev put The National Ballet of Canada on the map when he staged his own version of The Sleeping Beauty for the company in 1972. Showy and opulent, it set off an unprecedented period of international touring and acclaim for the young company and its dancers and it remains a jewel in the National Ballet repertoire today. Full of dazzling variations and set to Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score, The Sleeping Beauty is a ballet lover’s dream.

Holiday Season

The Nutcracker, Celebrating 25 Years

Created in 1995 by James Kudelka, The Nutcracker is a holiday favourite that has enchanted over 1.2 million children and adults alike over the past 25 years. Set in rural 19th century Russia, the ballet follows siblings Misha and Marie on a dreamy adventure with their friend Peter/The Nutcracker from their family home to the glittering winter realm of the Snow Queen and finally, the golden palace of the Sugar Plum Fairy. With glorious sets and costumes by Santo Loquasto and lighting by Jennifer Tipton, the ballet is a feast for both the senses and the imagination. 

Winter Season

A Streetcar Named Desire, Based on the Provocative Play

Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play, A Streetcar Named Desire, is the focus of John Neumeier’s ballet. The story follows the demise of Blanche DuBois, a southern belle transplanted into a hostile, impoverished landscape she is unable to accept. Forgoing chronology to delve deep inside the mind of the play’s tortured heroine, Neumeier starts where the play ends, with Blanche alone and staring blankly from her bed in an asylum. The score changes dramatically between the ballet’s two acts, from Sergei Prokofiev’s reflective Visions Fugitives in the first act to the postmodern music of Alfred Schnittke in the second, reflecting the breakdown of Blanche’s fragile psyche.

Cinderella, a fairy tale classic

James Kudelka’s Cinderella balances tradition with modernity in a unique rendering of the story that discards the rags-to-riches scenario to put Cinderella on equal footing with Prince Charming, both confined by their respective circumstances and in search of a simpler life. The forces against them are real but hilarious, from Cinderella’s boozy stepmother to her blundering stepsisters and their shameless flatterers. With its colourful characters, Art Deco-inspired designs by David Boechler, lively score by Sergei Prokofiev and lighting by Christopher Dennis, Kudelka’s Cinderella is an unrivaled adaptation of the classic fairy tale.  

Frame by Frame, a Work by Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté

With the creation of Frame by Frame in 2018, The National Ballet of Canada became the first classical ballet company to collaborate with the inspired Canadian playwright, director and actor, Robert Lepage. Co-created by choreographer and Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté, Frame by Frame is an inventive multidisciplinary work that pays homage to pioneering animator Norman McLaren. McLaren’s work influenced filmmakers worldwide and set new standards for animation during his illustrious career with the National Film Board of Canada. Frame by Frame opens a window into his creative and personal worlds through the use of striking visuals and beautiful movement.

Summer Season

Swan Lake, in Honor of Karen Kain’s 50th Anniversary with NBC

Artistic Director Karen Kain adds to her long list of achievements with her new staging of Swan Lake, created in honour of her 50th anniversary with The National Ballet of Canada. This fresh and vibrant staging draws inspiration from Erik Bruhn’s landmark production. Led by an all-female creative team, Swan Lake features fantastical sets and costumes by the renowned designer Gabriela Týlešová and evocative lighting by acclaimed designer Bonnie Beecher. Kain’s adaptation rediscovers the romance and psychological power of Swan Lake as Prince Siegfried and the white swan Odette fall in love in the shadow of Rothbart’s curse. The new production was to have made its world premiere in June 2020.  


Angels’ Atlas & Serenade & The Four Seasons @ National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada

Crystal Pite, the Olivier Award-winning choreographer, created Angels’ Atlas for The National Ballet of Canada in March 2020 to rapturous reviews. The ballet unfolds against a morphing wall of light that carries the illusion of depth and a sense of the natural world. Here, the dancing body becomes a sign of humanity’s impermanence and – equally – its vitality within a vast, unknowable world. Set to original music by Owen Belton and choral pieces by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Morten Lauridsen, Angels’ Atlas is a profound new work from one of the world’s leading contemporary choreographers.

prodigal son  

Source: The National Ballet of Canada | Feature Image of Siphesihle November and Naoya Ebe © Karolina Kuras.