Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen announced today the company’s 2008-2009 dancer roster along with the promotion of six current company members and addition of eight new dancers. Nissinen has continued Boston Ballet’s tradition of developing a diverse company by bringing in talented dancers from all over North America and the world and cultivating new talent from its esteemed school. Boston Ballet’s new roster has dancers from 15 different countries and 47% of the company is from outside of the U.S.
“Today the world is even more connected internationally and I feel it is very important to have a diverse company that reflects it,” said Nissinen. “I am always excited to welcome new dancers to the company. Every artist brings individual strengths and values to the stage and studio, and I look forward to the new dynamics that our new dancers will add to our strong company. In addition, company members who have been promoted have performed at a very high caliber over the past years. I anticipate many more wonderful performances from them in their new positions.”
Boston Ballet company members Jaime Diaz, John Lam, Heather Myers and James Whiteside have been promoted to soloists; and two dancers from Boston Ballet II have been promoted to the corps de ballet: Paul Craig and Robert Kretz. Nissinen announced four new additions to the corps de ballet: Alison Basford, Tiffany Hedman, Tanner Schwartz and Mark Wax and four additions to Boston Ballet II: Rachel Cossar, Sylvia Deaton, Emily Mistretta and Yoshiya Sakurai. Cossar, Deaton and Mistretta are all Boston Ballet School alumni.
Dancers who have been promoted within the company are:
Paul Craig has been promoted to Boston Ballet’s corps de ballet from Boston Ballet II. Craig was a member of Boston Ballet II for the 2007-2008 season. His Boston Ballet repertoire includes Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and In on Blue, among others. He has toured to Moscow with Boston Ballet II. Craig trained at the Conservatory of Dance and Performing Arts and the Virginia School of the Arts.
Jaime Diaz joined Boston Ballet in 2004 and has been promoted to soloist. Diaz began his career with Jeune Ballet de France in 1999 but returned to his native Cuba in 2000 to join the National Ballet of Cuba as a soloist. He has an extensive repertory including, among others, Swan Lake, Giselle, La Sylphide, Cinderella and Sarabande. Diaz received his training at Anna Pavlova’s Ballet Academy in Bogota and the Cuban National Ballet School.
Robert Kretz was a member of Boston Ballet II from 2006-2008 and has been promoted to corps de ballet. His Boston Ballet repertoire includes Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, In on Blue, La Sylphide and The Nutcracker, among others. He has trained at the Norfolk Academy and with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.
John Lam joined Boston Ballet in 2004 and has been promoted to soloist. He first joined Boston Ballet in 2003 as a member of Boston Ballet II. His repertory at Boston Ballet includes a number of new works including Plan to B, Brake the Eyes, In on Blue and Etesian. His repertory also includes La Sylphide, Don Quixote, Polyphonia, Cinderella and Taming of the Shrew. He trained with Canada’s National Ballet School and was the recipient of a 2005 Princess Grace Fellowship, which identifies and assists young talent.
Heather Myers joined Boston Ballet in 2002 and has been promoted to soloist from second soloist. Myers made her Boston Ballet debut as a choreographer this past season with the world premiere of Gone Again which was featured in Boston Ballet’s Next Generation program during the 2007-2008 season. Her repertory at Boston Ballet includes The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Falling Angels and Serenade, among many others. She received her training at The National Ballet School and The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Myers danced with Alberta Ballet for four years under the direction of Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen.
James Whiteside joined Boston Ballet in 2003 and has been promoted to soloist. Whiteside participated in Boston Ballet School’s Summer Dance Program in 2002 and received an invitation to join Boston Ballet II for the 2002-2003 season. He was promoted to the Corps de ballet in 2003. His repertory includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Serenade, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and world premieres of Brake the Eyes, Plan to B, Etesian, Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, Ten Part Suite and others.
The new company dancers are:
Alison Basford joins as a member of the corps de ballet. Prior to joining Boston Ballet, Basford danced with Pacific Northwest Ballet for six seasons. She has been a guest artist at both Miami City Ballet and New York City Ballet. Basford trained at the Joffrey Ballet School, School of American Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet School.
Rachel Cossar joins Boston Ballet II. Prior to joining Boston Ballet as a trainee, Cossar’s training began at the National Ballet School of Canada and continued at Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and Supérieure de Danse Contemporaire. Her Boston Ballet repertoire includes The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet. Additionally, Cossar is an accomplished rhythmic gymnast. She was a member of the Canadian National team for ten years and was ranked third when she retired.
Sylvia Lee Deaton joins Boston Ballet II. She joined Boston Ballet School as a trainee in 2005 under the Sydelle Gomberg Scholarship following her training at the Otto M. Budig Academy of Cincinnati Ballet. She attended Boston Ballet Summer Dance Program as a scholarship student for three years under Margaret Tracey, Diedre Miles Burger, Celia Marino, Jacqueline Cronsberg and Kathleen Mitchell.
Tiffany Hedman joins as a member of the corps de ballet. Hedman returns to Boston after dancing with Miami City Ballet for four seasons from 2004-2008. In 2002, after training at Boston Ballet School, Hedman joined Boston Ballet II. Her Boston Ballet repertoire includes Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, The Four Temperaments, an the world premiere of Jorma Elo’s Sharp Side of Dark.
Emily Mistretta joins Boston Ballet II. She began training at Boston Ballet School in 2004 and became a trainee in 2006. Her training experience also includes summer intensives at San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and Boston Ballet School.
Yoshiya Sakurai joins Boston Ballet II. Sakurai’s previous training was with National Ballet School of Canada and Nigata Ballet School. Sakurai placed 5th in the 2003 Japan Grand Prix in Sapporo, was a semi-finalist in the 2007 Prix de Lausanne and was the recipient of the 2006 Peter Dwyer Scholarship which is awarded to the most promising students at National Ballet School of Canada.
Tanner Schwartz joins Boston Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet. Schwartz studied at the School of American Ballet and performed in a number of productions with New York City Ballet, including The Nutcracker, Firebird, and The Sleeping Beauty. Schwartz danced with Pennsylvania Ballet II from 2006-2008 and performed in productions including The Nutcracker, Giselle and Lambarena, among others. He was the recipient of the D.A.N.C.E. (Danish American National Cultural Exchange) Scholarship in 2002, dancing as an apprentice with the Royal Danish Ballet.
Mark Wax joins Boston Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet. He trained under full scholarship at Pacific Northwest Ballet School in the Professional Division from 2005-2007, School of American Ballet from 2007-2008 and Miami City Ballet School during the summer of 2008. Wax performed Concerto Barocco with the School of American Ballet at the Kennedy Center in Protégés II. He performed in Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2007 Choreographic Showcase.
About Boston BalletFounded in 1963, Boston Ballet is one of the leading dance companies in North America. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen, the Company maintains an internationally acclaimed repertoire of classical, neo-classical and contemporary works, ranging from full-length story ballets to new works by some of today's finest choreographers.
Boston Ballet's second company, Boston Ballet II, is made up of pre-professional dancers who gain experience by performing with Boston Ballet and as an independent group, presenting lecture-demonstrations and unique programs to audiences throughout the Northeast. The Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education is the largest ballet school in North America. In service of its mission to bring the highest quality arts education to all, it reaches and instructs more than 5,000 students of all ages each year through Boston Ballet School, Summer Dance Workshop, Summer Dance Program, Citydance, Taking Steps, and Adaptive Dance. The wide array of dance education programs are held at four major ballet studio locations, in community centers, and throughout the Boston Public Schools.