Dancer Comings and Goings: Catch Up on Recent Promotions and Career Changes

December 23, 2021

The end of the year brings an exciting new batch of promotions and career changes from San Francisco to Denmark! Catch up on the ballet world’s latest news before we head into 2022. 

A New Soloist for San Francisco Ballet

On November 17, San Francisco Ballet artistic director Helgi Tomasson announced his plans to promote Norika Matsuyama to soloist, effective December 1. Matsuyama has performed several soloist roles since she joined the corps de ballet in 2014. She was also one of Pointe’s Stars of the Corps in 2016! 

Big News at Boston Ballet

A headshot of Joan Boada in black and white. He wears a light long sleeve shirt against a dark background
Joan Boada. Jacobo Medrano, Courtesy Boston Ballet

On December 22, Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen announced the promotion of Chyrstyn Fentroy to principal dancer.  “Her dedication and passion to the future of the art form demonstrates her commitment as an artist and role model to future generations,” said Nissinen. 

The announcement comes only a week after the company revealed that Joan Boada will succeed Peter Stark as Boston Ballet II’s new associate director, effective June 2022. Previously, Boada was artistic director of the Kirov Ballet Academy in Washington, DC, and ballet master for Spain’s Compañía Nacional de Danza, and was with San Francisco Ballet for 17 years.

Making History at the Royal Danish Ballet

Wilma Giglio leans against the arms of a male dancer in front of a deep red curtain onstage. She wears a flowy cream-colored dress
Photo by Marcin Kupinski, Courtesy Giglio

Royal Danish Ballet dancer Wilma Giglio has become the first Argentinian to become a principal with the Royal Danish Ballet. RDB artistic director Nikolaj Hübbe announced the news onstage following Giglio’s performance of Juliet in John Neumeier’s Romeo and Juliet this October, with the promotion effective immediately.

Ida Praetorius Heads to Hamburg Ballet

Ida Praetorius poses in an overhead lift during a studio rehearsal of Sleeping Beauty. Around her, dancers stand in various resting positions watching the rehearsal.
Photo by Kiran West, Courtesy Hamburg Ballet

Former Royal Danish Ballet principal Ida Praetorius joined Hamburg Ballet as a principal earlier this month. She will dance the leading role of Aurora in John Neumeier’s new version of Sleeping Beauty on December 19 and 21, 2021, and January 6, 2022, alongside principal Alexandr Trusch as Prince Désiré. 

Onstage Promotions at Philadelphia Ballet

Philadelphia Ballet promoted Nayara Lopes, Jack Thomas and Yuke Iseda to principal dancer this month. Artistic director Angel Corella made the announcements onstage following Lopes and Thomas’ performance as Sugarplum and Cavalier in The Nutcracker. He promoted Iseda in the same manner after her Nutcracker performance a few days later. All three dancers joined the company as corps members in 2016. 

New Leadership for ABT

American Ballet Theatre announced the appointment of Janet Rollé as its new CEO and executive director, effective January 3, 2022. Rollé currently serves as general manager of Parkwood Entertainment, a media and management company founded by singer Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, where she oversaw the company’s business operations since 2016. She was also an executive producer of the Emmy Award–winning film Black Is King in 2020. Rollé will also be the first Black woman to lead ABT. 

Peter Stark Headed to The Rock School

Peter Start stands between a male and female student as they practice a pose together. They are in front of the barre in a dance studio.
Peter Stark with Hannah Bettes and Drew Neslon. Photo Michelle Revels, Courtesy The Rock School

The Rock School for Dance Education board of trustees appointed Peter Stark to succeed Bo Spassoff as the school’s next president and director in February 2022. Stark is currently associate director of Boston Ballet II and head of the Boston Ballet School men’s program. He is also the founder of Next Generation Ballet in Tampa, Florida, and formerly served as chair of the Patel Conservatory Dance Department.

Beth Ann Maslinoff at Ballet Memphis

Beth Ann Maslinoff leaps trhough a bright dance studio. She wears a leotard and a mid-length ballet skirt.
Beth Ann Maslinoff. Courtesy Ballet Memphis

Ballet Memphis welcomed its newest dancer, Beth Ann Maslinoff, on November 23. After several years of performing with the company as a guest artist, Maslinoff will make her premiere as a company member in its upcoming Nutcracker production, December 17–19. 

New Dancers at Nevada Ballet Theatre

Last month, Nevada Ballet Theatre announced a slew of new male dancers being added to its company ranks. Former NBT apprentice Robert Fulton was promoted to company artist, joined by Leo Ameika, Daniel Barba, Harold Cueto Megret and Shane Horan. Jackson Martin also joins, as an apprentice.

Changes for School of American Ballet 

Aesha Ash stands at the front of a brightly lit dance studio demonstrating a step. A row of female ballet students stand at the back, watching her
Aesha Ash. Rosalie O’Connor, Courtesy School of American Ballet

Last week, the prestigious School of American Ballet announced that Darla Hoover will follow Kay Mazzo as Chair of Faculty beginning in June 2022. Hoover is currently the artistic director for Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Ballet Academy East. SAB also announced that current faculty member Aesha Ash will assume the newly created role of Associate Chair of Faculty, with a primary focus on building artistic partnerships with the school’s wellness programs. 

Nutcracker Promotion at Dutch National Ballet 

Riho Sakamoto was promoted to principal last Wednesday after her debut as Clara in Dutch National Ballet’s The Nutcracker & the Mouse King. Like several others around the world this month, she was promoted onstage by artistic director Ted Brandsen, who praised Sakamoto’s technique, musicality and artistry. The company then announced on Monday that Naira Agvanean and Jingjing Mao have both been promoted to soloist

Orlando Ballet Gets a New Director

Jorden Morris stands outside Orlando Ballet's facilities, wearing a blue quarter zip sweater.
Jorden Morris. Courtesy Orlando Ballet

Orlando Ballet’s board of directors voted unanimously last week to approve Jorden Morris as the company’s new artistic director. Morris danced for 11 years with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and later held leadership positions at Boston Ballet, Edmonton Citie Ballet and The School of Royal Winnipeg Ballet. His newest choreographic work, The Great Gatsby, will close the 2022 season at Orlando in April.