Nantucket Dance Festival
Nantucket Events

Festival Features Films, Demos, Dance

by Sarah Teach

You’ve heard of singing for your supper, but nobody ever talks about dancing for your books. That is, except for each July on Nantucket when our local library, the Nantucket Atheneum, produces its largest fundraising event of the year, the Nantucket Dance Festival. The festival includes five days of free events for adults and children, from July 23 to 28, including films, demonstrations, lectures and more. The festival culminates with two spectacular evening performances on July 27 and July 28, which showcase an accomplished program of classical and contemporary ballet. Tickets for the two evening performances cost between $45 and $85 are available at the Atheneum at One India Street and online. These performances often sell-out, so don’t wait to get your tickets. All other events are free. For dates, times, and details on all the Nantucket Dance Festival events, visit Ballet
Partners, pairings and the “art of the pas de deux” will be major themes at the 2012 Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival performances. Artistic director Benjamin Millepied returns for the fourth year and has put together a dance program of six duets, or pas de deux, and one solo performance,
which showcase the work of the top contemporary choreographers at work today.

Dance stars from the American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and the Royal Ballet come together to comprise the 2012 dance company and six of the ten dancers are husband and wife duos who will perform together.

“The Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival’s program clearly demonstrates the many diverse ways that two dancers can relate on stage: loving, joking, remembering, pondering, and, of course, dancing. These carefully chosen selections reveal how truly reflective dance is of life itself,”    said Joseph Carman, an editor at Dance Magazine and author of this year’s program notes.

“At the heart of many great ballets lies a pas de deux,” Carman said. And, the festival…could be subtitled ‘The art of the pas de deux,” he concludes. Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg are both principal dancers for the Royal Ballet, as well, as husband and wife. They will dance a pas de deux
from “Bright Stream.” The light-hearted, comic ballet was created in 2011 for the American Ballet Theatre by its resident choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. Ratmansky has reworked portions of the ballet to create the pas de deux for the Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival. Nantucket Dance Festival
Maria Kowroski is a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and will dance with her husband Martin Harvey, who has danced for Twyla Tharp, the Royal Ballet and on Broadway. The pair will dance a pas de deux from “After the Rain,” a 2005 ballet created by Christopher Wheeldon. The
dance has become a 21st Century classic and one of the most requested pieces from dance companies around the world. Wheeldon characterizes    “After the Rain” as a love letter or poem to the dancers.

Stella Abrera and Sascha Radetsky are both husband and wife andsoloist dancers at the American Ballet Theatre. They will perform “The Leaves Are Fading Pas De Deux” by legendary British choreographer Anthony Tudor. The Ballet premiered in 1975 and has a bittersweet tone of
wistful remembrances.

Radetsky will also dance with Ashley Bouder, a New York City Ballet principal dancer in Twyla Tharp’s “Known by Heart Pas De Deux.” Known as the “Junk Pas De Deux,” the piece has Tharp’s trademark quirkiness, sexiness and humor and features the music of Donald Knaack, an American compser and percussionist known for his “Junk Music” which he creates using only recycled materials.

A new Benjamin Millepied work called “Two Hearts” premiered at the New York City Ballet in May of 2012. Due to dancer commitments in other places, the work will only be performed at the Friday, July 27th performance. The two dancers, Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle, are principal dancers with the NYCB and the tone of the “Two Hearts” dance takes its cue from a Scottish folksong called “Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender.”

Ashley Bouder dances a second time with Daniil Simkin, a soloist at the American Ballet Theatre. The two will perform a pas de deux from George Balanchine’s “Stars & Stripes.” Set to the rousing marches of John Philip Sousa, “Stars & Stripes” is a patriotic homage to Balanchine’s adopted

And finally, Simkin will perform solo in “Les Bourgeois,” a dance created by Danish choreographer Ben van Cawenbergh. Set to the music of Paris Chanton Jacques Brel, “Les Bourgeois” has a cheeky masculine swagger that showcases Simkin’s acting ability as well as his amazing dancing skill. Simkin has performed the dance in places as varied as the Grand Prix competition in Finland in 2005 and the Fox television show “So You Think You Can Dance?” in 2011.

The Nantucket Atheneum Dace Festival performances will be July 27 and July 28 at 6:30 pm at the Nantucket High School auditorium. Tickets are on sale now at the library and online at

The Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival was created in 2008 and is the major fundraiser for the Atheneum, the island’s public library. Unlike many public libraries, the Atheneum receives 36 percent of its annual operating budget from governmental sources and must raise remaining money from private donations, grants and special benefit events. The proceeds from the dance festival help the Atheneum continue to provide excellent services to the community.

Articles by Date from 2012