The Boston Dream

Published in the February/March 2013 issue.

Photography by Matthew Murphy


Boston Ballet auditions are notorious for drawing scores of hopefuls. Every year, artistic director Mikko Nissinen holds one open call in Boston and one in New York, and invites anyone interested to try their luck. Pointe peeked in on the scene at the School of American Ballet last April as Nissinen scouted the talent in New York. “I’m looking for people who take risks, who surf on the edge of the wave,” he says. “To be an interesting tool for choreographers, you have to be willing to challenge yourself.” Nissinen doesn’t even mind if a dancer falls. As he points out, that just means he’s sure to see you—and will notice you again during the next combination.

Preparing at the barre

Warming up

“Being surrounded by your competition is really stressful. It’s easy to start thinking, Oh, they’re looking for a dancer like her, not me. But if you try to imitate her, you never know—they might have been looking for a dancer like you all along.” —Michaela DePrince, number 201

“Joining a company is the biggest professional commitment you’ll make. It’s like a marriage. Don’t marry someone you just met yesterday! Make sure this is a place you’d love to be.” —Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen

At the end of the audition, Nissinen asked Kathryn McDonald to join BBII. “I saw she had very clear, articulated technique and musicality,” says Nissinen. “She was well-trained but not stuck in one style—a great fit for Boston Ballet.”