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 Company. 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.
Leading roles include 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 Pas de Deux, Le Corsaire Pas de Deux, 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 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, Summer-Death, and The Maiden, gave her the unique opportunity to be coached by the choreographer herself. In addition, she worked with choreographers as diverse as Pierre LaCotte, Fernand Nault, Anton Dolin, John Taras, Bruce Wells, Talley Beatty, Choo San Goh, Birgit Culberg, 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 Coppelia.
While still performing, Young taught at Boston Ballet School in addition to directing both Summer Dance Program and Boston Ballet II. After retiring from the stage in 1989, she turned her attention full time to teaching and coaching at Boston Ballet. She was ballet mistress for two years and was Principal of Boston Ballet School for twelve years, during which time she developed a new summer intensive mentorship program, DanceLab, which ran from 2001 to 2006. Since 2006, Young has served as a Senior Faculty member, contributing her knowledge of both the dance industry and Boston Ballet to her students.
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