Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Laura Young began studying ballet at the age of six. By the time she was 12 years old, it was recommended that she advance her training by studying with E. Virginia Williams, the founder of Boston Ballet. Young was invited to join the Company at just thirteen years old. Promoted to principal dancer in 1965, Young began a long tenure in that capacity, dancing leading roles in classical, contemporary and modern ballets.
She danced lead roles in Giselle, The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, La Sylphide, Les Sylphides, Swan Lake, Raymonda, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, La Fille Mal Gardee, Don Quixote, Pas de Quatre, Napoli, Flower Festival at Genzano, Esmeralda, Le Corsaire, and Graduation Ball. Young danced the title role of “Kitri” opposite Rudolf Nureyev in his staging of Don Quixote, both in Boston and on tour throughout the United States, Mexico, France and Italy. In 1981, she performed as Odette-Odile in Swan Lake at the London Coliseum, also with Mr. Nureyev. In 1980 she had the honor of being the first American ballerina to perform in the People’s Republic of China after the Cultural Revolution, in Ron Cunningham’s Cinderella.
Additional training came from the many and varied repertoires and choreographers who staged and created works for her and Boston Ballet. She has danced much of the Balanchine repertoire including Tarantella, Tchaikowsky Pas de Deux, Concerto Barocco, Scotch Symphony, Symphony in C, The Four Temperaments, Stars and Stripes, Serenade, Donizetti Variations, Apollo, Allegro Brillante, and La Somnambula. Leading roles in Agnes DeMille’s Rodeo and Summer-Death and the Maiden, gave her the unique opportunity to be coached by the choreographer himself. In addition, she worked with choreographers as diverse as Pierre LaCotte (La Sylphide), Fernand Nault (Graduation Ball, La Fille Mal Gardée), Anton Dolin (Pas de Quatre), John Taras (Designs with Strings, The Dolly Suite), Bruce Wells (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, La Fille Mal Gardée, Preludes, which was based on Checkov’s Three Sisters, Madrilene Pas de Deux), Talley Beatty (The Road of the Phoebe Snow, A Wilderness of Mirrors), Choo San Goh (Romeo and Juliet, Leitmotif, Due Pezzi Sacri), Birgit Culberg (Medea), and in works by Saeko Ichinoe, Anna Sokolow, Joyce Trisler, Norman Walker, Stuart Hodes, Margo Sappington, Ron Cunningham, Tom Pazik, John Butler, Lorenzo Monreal, and Samuel Kurkjian. Many were original works created for her. She worked extensively with many of the great Bournonville repetiteurs, including Hans Brenaa, Kirsten Ralov, Fredbjorn Bjornssen, Dinna Bjorn, and Neils Bjorn Larsen, with whom she had the pleasure of performing the lead in Coppélia with him as Dr. Coppelius.
Young retired from the stage in 1989 and has continued with Boston Ballet in many different capacities. While still performing, she was teaching at Boston Ballet School and other local schools in addition to directing both Summer Dance Program and Boston Ballet II. After her performance career was over, she turned her attention full time to teaching and coaching. She was ballet mistress for two years, until her skills were called upon to head the school. She was principal of Boston Ballet School for twelve years and developed a new summer intensive mentorship program, Dance Lab, which ran from 2001-2006. In 2002 she decided that her first love after performing was in the studio, teaching, and is currently on the faculty of Boston Ballet School and Dean College in Franklin, MA.
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