Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen has announced the 50th season roster, featuring 11 new members and 7 dancer promotions. The full Company has returned to its 19 Clarendon Street studios preparing for the 2013-2014 season.
"The Company looks better than ever," said Nissinen. "We have a wealth of talent moving into our 50th year, and I'm so excited for audiences to experience everything our dancers have to offer. I hope the community will join me in congratulating our newly promoted dancers, and welcoming the wonderful artists that are new to Boston Ballet."
Hailed by the New York Times as having repertory that is "one of the most eclectic in the country," Nissinen has strived to curate a diverse roster, versatile enough to present the wide range of choreography presented each season. Sixty-three dancers make up the full Company, representing a total of 19 nationalities. The Company is the largest it has been in the past 12 years.
This season, Ashley Ellis has been promoted to principal dancer; Dusty Button has been promoted to soloist; Bradley Schlagheck and Alejandro Virelles have been promoted to soloists; Seo Hye Han has been promoted to second soloist; and Dawn Atkins and Lauren Herfindahl have been promoted to the company from Boston Ballet II. The expanded roster will include the addition of Aidos Zakan (Kazakhstan) as a second soloist; Jonathan Batista (Brazil), Kathryn Boren (U.S.), Ji Young Chae (South Korea), Roddy Doble (U.S.), Andras Ronai (Hungary), and Ricardo Santos (Brazil) as company dancers. Albert Gordon (U.S.), Skyla Schreter (U.S.), Serena Sovdnes (U.S.), and Kyle Torres-Hiyashi (U.S.) join Boston Ballet II.
The Company opens the 50th season on September 21, with Night of Stars on Boston Common, a free, one-night-only performance for the greater-Boston community. Programming features excerpts from stunning classics such as Don Quixote, George Balanchine's dynamic Symphony in Three Movements, Christopher Bruce's contemporary and crowd-pleasing Rooster, and many more! Night of Stars on Boston Common is followed by La Bayadère, October 24-November 3 at The Boston Opera House.
Company Dancer Promotions
Principal dancer Ashley Ellis of Santa Monica, California joined Boston Ballet as a second soloist in 2011. She received her dance training at the South Bay Ballet under the direction of Diane Lauridsen. Ellis began her professional career with American Ballet Theatre's studio company and later joined American Ballet Theatre. She has performed in Spain with Angel Corella's touring group and joined Corella Ballet in 2008 as a soloist. She was the recipient of the Coca Cola scholarship award in 2000 and 2001, and won the first prize at the Los Angeles' Music Center's Spotlight Awards in 1999.
Soloist Dusty Button of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina joined Boston Ballet in 2012. She trained at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre, winning the bronze medal at the 2006 Youth America Grand Prix. In 2007, Button joined American Ballet Theatre's second company, ABT II. The following year, she joined the Royal Ballet School, graduating with honors and the Dame Ninette de Valois bursary. Button previously danced with Birmingham Royal Ballet, and has made guest appearances nationally and internationally. She has been recognized and featured in Dance Spirit Magazine, Dance Magazine, and Dance Europe.
Soloist Bradley Schlagheck of Orlando, Florida joined Boston Ballet in 2006. He began his training at The School of Performing Arts in Maitland, FL, under the direction of Russell Sultzbach. He was awarded the Pao Merit Scholarship from Boston Ballet School in 2004 where he trained with Franco Devita. In 2005, Schlagheck joined Boston Ballet II, under the direction of Raymond Lukens, and began performing extensively with the company. He joined Boston Ballet as a Company Dancer in 2006, was promoted to Second Soloist in 2012, and Soloist in 2013.
Soloist Alejandro Virelles of Cuba joined Boston Ballet in 2013. He completed his training at the National Ballet School of Cuba. He has danced with National Ballet of Cuba, and Angel Corella's Barcelona Ballet in 2011. Virelles was a gold medalist in the International Competition of La Habana in 2001 and 2004. He has won the silver medal at the 2004 International Competition of Varna, and has performed in the Youth America Grand Prix.
Second Soloist Seo Hye Han of Seoul, South Korea joined Boston Ballet in 2012. She received her training at the Korea National University of Arts and went on to join the Universal Ballet Company where danced as a soloist for three seasons. Han has received awards in many international dance competitions including the Prize Silva in the 2004 Varna International Ballet Competition, a silver medal in the 2008 Varna International Ballet Competition, silver medal in the 2008 Seoul International Dance Competition, the Joffrey Prize in the 2010 USA International Ballet Competition, and the gold medal in the 2012 Boston International Ballet Competition.
Company Dancer Dawn Atkins of Chesterfield, Virginia joins Boston Ballet in 2013. She began her training at Richmond Ballet, and continued her studies at The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Atkins joined Boston Ballet II in 2012 after studying for one year as a Trainee at Boston Ballet School under the Pao Scholarship. She has attended the Professional Dance Festival in Banff, Canada as a scholarship recipient, and was Boston Ballet's 2013 Princess Grace Award nominee.
Company Dancer Lauren Herfindahl of Kingston, Massachusetts joins Boston Ballet in 2013. She trained at Boston Ballet School for seven years, where she was the recipient of the Tatiana Gardner Scholarship and named the Mikko Nissinen Artist Scholar. In 2011, Herfindahl was invited to join Boston Ballet II. She was awarded the silver medal in the junior division of the 2012 Boston International Ballet Competition. That same year, she attended the Professional Dance Festival in Banff, Canada where she performed the lead role in George Balanchine's Concerto Barocco.
New Company Dancers
Second Soloist Aidos Zakan of Almaty, Kazakhstan trained with the Almaty Choreographic School, and later The Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. He danced as a soloist with the Kazakh State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre from 2006-2008 before joining the Tatar Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre for one season in 2008. In 2009, Zakan was invited to join the Mikhailovsky Theatre as a leading soloist. Zakan has won numerous awards, including 1st prize in the 2011 International Ballet Competition in Seoul, Korea and the 2011 International Ballet Competition in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Jonathan Batista of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil trained at English National Ballet School under the direction of Jane Hackett. In 2011, he danced with the Miami City Ballet for one season, before joining The National Ballet of Canada as an apprentice. Batista was awarded first place at Danza America 2008, and was a finalist at The Prix de Lausanne 2010. In 2013, he won second place at The World Ballet Competition in Orlando, FL. Batista joins Boston Ballet as a Company Dancer in 2013.
Kathryn Boren of Dallas, Texas began her training at the Ballet Academy of Texas, and went on to study at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre. She was awarded the Nadyne Legere Scholarship from the Dallas Dance Council and was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' Princess Grace Nominee in 2007. In 2009, Boren joined American Ballet Theatre II. After dancing with ABT II for two years, she was invited to join Staatsballett Berlin under the direction of Vladimir Malakhov. Boren joins Boston Ballet as a Company Dancer in 2013.
Ji Young Chae of Seoul, South Korea trained at Seoul Arts High School and Korea National University of Arts. She has performed at the Paris Conservatory Ballet Festival and the International Baltic Ballet Festival Gala. Chae was awarded the gold medal at the 2010 International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, and first prize at the 2010 International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. In 2011, she received the gold medal at the Boston International Ballet Competition. Chae joins Boston Ballet as a Company Dancer in 2013.
Roddy Doble of Southbury, Connecticut completed his early training at the School of Performing Arts in New Milford, Connecticut under the direction of Arlene Begelman and Robert Maiorano. Doble joined the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company in August of 2006, and was soon named a Chisholm Foundation Scholar. He was promoted to apprentice with American Ballet Theatre in December 2007 and to the corps de ballet in June 2008. In addition to performing in the 2010 New York International Ballet Competition Gala, he has appeared as a guest artist in various schools and companies locally and abroad. Doble joins Boston Ballet as a Company Dancer in 2013.
Company Dancer Andras Ronai of Budapest, Hungary trained at the Hungarian Dance Academy. He received first place in the International Ballet Competition Vienna in 2007, and won first place in the 2010 Hungarian Dance Academy Choreographer competition: Paris flames. In 2012, he was a finalist in both the International Ballet Competition in Varna, the International Ballet Competition in Helsinki, and placed second in the International Ballet Competition in Istanbul. He won first place in the Nureyev International Ballet Competition in 2013. Ronai joins Boston Ballet as a Company Dancer in 2013.
Company Dancer Ricardo Santos of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil trained at the Conservatorio Brasileiro de Danca. He has competed in national and international dance competitions, including the Beijing International Ballet Competition and the Youth America Grand Prix in New York City. In 2007 and 2008, he competed in the Danza America International Competition in Argentina where he placed as a top finalist. Santos danced with The Joffrey Ballet for four seasons prior to joining Boston Ballet as a Company Dancer in 2013.
Dancers Joining Boston Ballet II
Albert Gordon of McLean, Virginia trained at the Washington School of Ballet. He won Senior Grand Prix at the regional Youth America Grand Prix in Torrington, Connecticut in 2012, and was a finalist in the New York Youth America Grand Prix in 2012 and 2013. Gordon has also won the gold medal at the Boston International Ballet Competition in the junior category. In 2012, he was recipient of the prestigious Princess Grace Scholarship Award. Gordon joins Boston Ballet II in 2013.
Skyla Schreter of Chappaqua, New York trained at the School of American Ballet in addition to studying privately with Diana White and Kyra Nichols. She has performed numerous children's roles with the New York City Ballet including George Balanchine's Mozartiana, Coppélia, The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Christopher Wheeldon's Scenes de Ballet. She danced a principal role in Susan Stroman's Double Feature with New York City Ballet. Schreter joins Boston Ballet II in 2013.
Serena Sovdsnes of Cincinnati, Ohio began her training with Claudia Rudolph Barret, and continued with Magaly Suarez at the Art of Classical Ballet. She has won numerous awards and medals including the 2011 Youth America Grand Prix Award in Chicago, the silver medal at the 2011 World Ballet Competition in Orlando, FL, and the gold medal at the 2012 Youth America Grand Prix in Tampa, FL, among others. Sovdsnes joins Boston Ballet II in 2013.
Kyle Torres-Hiyoshi of Buffalo, New York joins Boston Ballet II in 2013.
Boston Ballet's internationally acclaimed performances of classical, neo-classical, and contemporary ballets, combined with a dedication to world class dance education and community outreach programs have made the institution a leader in its field, with a 50 year history of promoting excellence and access to dance. In addition to the brilliant programming for the 2013-2014 season, Boston Ballet will celebrate its 50th anniversary by launching a micro-site featuring 50 years of Boston Ballet in photos. Throughout the duration of the season, a limited edition souvenir program featuring never-before-seen Company photography will be sold. As an exciting new initiative, Boston Ballet will be reaching out to Company dancers of the past 50 years for an alumni weekend celebration March 14-16, 2014.
Boston Ballet maintains a diverse repertoire, ranging from timeless classics such as Marius Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty and Giselle, John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, and a rich collection of Balanchine choreography to cutting edge contemporary works by Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo and the visionary Jiří Kylián.
Boston Ballet School, the official school of Boston Ballet, has a long-standing dedication to excellence and access. The School reaches more than 10,000 students (toddler to adult) each year through Boston Ballet School classes, the Summer Dance Workshop, and the Summer Dance Program held at three studio locations in Boston, Newton, and Marblehead.
Boston Ballet's nationally-acclaimed education programs include Citydance, Taking Steps, and Adaptive Dance. The programs are offered in partnership with the Boston Public Schools and in communities throughout the city and region.
Read more about Boston Ballet's 50th Season by visiting our website, atwww.bostonballet.org.
Boston Ballet gratefully acknowledges the following institutional partners:
State Street Corporation, 2012 Presenting Sponsor, The Nutcracker, London Tour
The Boston Foundation
Massachusetts Cultural Council
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