Your February Roster Roundup: Dancers and Directors on the Move

February 12, 2024

The past few weeks have brought another exciting round of dancer career news—check out the latest farewells, appointments, promotions, and more in this month’s ballet roster roundup.

Promotions and Appointments

The Royal Ballet’s Giacomo Rovero has been promoted to soloist, effective February 1. Rovero, a Royal Ballet School graduate, joined the company’s corps de ballet in 2017 and was promoted to first artist in 2022.

On January 15, Boston Ballet announced the promotion of Sangmin Lee to soloist. Lee joined the company as an artist in 2019 and was promoted to second soloist last April.

Sangmin Lee lunges in a slight penche arabesque while performing as Prince Desire.
Sangmin Lee in Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Brooke Trisolini, courtesy Boston Ballet.

Alberta Ballet has announced the appointment of Francesco Ventriglia as its new artistic director. Previously, Ventriglia served as artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet from 2014 to 2017, then as adjunct artistic director for the National Ballet of Uruguay from January 2018 through December 2020. He is a former soloist of La Scala Theatre Ballet and a renowned choreographer.

As of February 1, Ernst Meisner is now the associate director of talent development, a new position created by the Dutch National Ballet. Meisner will gradually phase out of his position as artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet Academy, which he has held since 2018, and step down officially on August 1, 2024. He will maintain his role as artistic director of the DNB Junior Company.

David Nixon, CBE, has been appointed the new artistic producer of Cape Town City Ballet, effective immediately. In 2022, he concluded his two-decade tenure at Northern Ballet, capping off his run as the company’s longest-serving artistic director.

National Ballet of Cuba first dancer Dani Miguel Hernández Acosta has been named the new director of the Fernando Alonso National Ballet School. His appointment was made official through a presentation ceremony held at the school’s headquarters on January 10.

Francesco Ventriglia poses for a headshot with a content look on his face. He wears a dark blue suit jacket.
Francesco Ventriglia. Photo by Damiano Mongelli, courtesy Alberta Ballet.

After over 15 years with Birmingham Royal Ballet, principal César Morales will leave the company in March to become the artistic director of Ballet de Santiago in Chile. Morales is a former dancer of Ballet de Santiago and English National Ballet, as well as a previous guest principal with the Wiener Staatsoper.

Former American Ballet Theatre and Royal Ballet principal Cynthia Harvey has been named vice president of the British Ballet Organization. She will join fellow vice president, Sir David Bintley, CBE, and newly appointed president, Brenda Last, OBE, in directing the organization. Harvey joined BBO in 2022 as a patron.

José Martín Trujillo has been appointed director of dance for Boston Ballet School’s professional division at Walnut Hill, effective at the start of the 2024–25 school year. Trujillo is currently artistic director at Images Ballet Company in the UK. He is a former soloist with San Francisco Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Zurich Ballet, English National Ballet, and Boston Ballet, and a former senior soloist with The Royal Ballet.

Indianapolis Ballet’s Ada Peruzzi has been promoted from apprentice to company artist for the 2023–24 season.

Martina Panato has been promoted to company artist at New England Ballet Theatre in Avon, Connecticut.

Farewells and New Arrivals

Legendary San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan will retire from the stage this month, concluding her 29-season performance career with the company. Tan was the youngest and first Chinese principal dancer in SFB’s history; she joined the company as a soloist in 1995 and was promoted to principal in 1997. Tan will give her farewell performances on February10 and 14 in the SFB premiere of Sir Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand, in which she will dance the role of Marguerite.

On January 23, Pacific Northwest Ballet announced that principal James Yoichi Moore will retire at the end of the 2023–24 season, after a 20-year career with the company. He will go on to operate two Tutu School locations in Renton and Tacoma, Washington, with his wife, Kristen. Moore joined PNB’s corps de ballet in 2004 and was promoted to soloist in 2008, then to principal in 2013. He is also the artistic director of Seattle Dance Collective, which he founded in 2019 with former PNB principal Noelani Pantastico. The company will celebrate Moore at its Season Encore performance on Sunday, June 9.

James Yoichi Moore performs in Jessica Lang's <i>TheCalling</i>. He stands onstage in front of a pitch black background in a long, white skirt that creates a huge circle on the floor around him.
James Yoichi Moore in Jessica Lang’s The Calling. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, courtesy Pacific Northwest Ballet.

After 18 seasons with Louisville Ballet, Natalia Ashikhmina will give her final performance in Romeo & Juliet on March 2. Ashikhmina’s performance career has spanned three decades; she joined Louisville Ballet in 2006 after dancing with the now-closed Ballet Internationale in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the Russian National Ballet in Moscow.

Following an official investigation that revealed an unhealthy workplace culture, the Cleveland Ballet board of directors fired artistic director Gladisa Guadalupe. Former president and CEO Michael Krasnyansky, Guadalupe’s husband, is subject to 16 accusations of sexual misconduct. He resigned in November amid the investigation. New artistic director Timour Bourtasenkov and interim CEO Larry Goodman have since taken up leadership.

Viviana Durante poses for a portrait photo in a light blue button down, smiling at the camera.
Viviana Durante. Photo courtesy English National Ballet.

On February 2, Béjart Ballet Lausanne dismissed artistic director Gil Roman after he invited a former production director, who had been fired over sexual harassment claims in 2021, to a performance in Paris. The company’s board has announced it will appoint an interim artistic director.

On January 22, the English National Ballet School announced that artistic director Viviana Durante will step down at the end of the current academic year, after five years at the helm. Durante will continue in her current position through the school’s summer performances in July.

Cincinnati Ballet has announced that Alejandro Olivera, a former Mikhailovsky Theatre soloist and Cuban National Ballet dancer, will join the company as a principal.

National Ballet of Canada welcomes new corps de ballet dancer Matthieu Pagès. Pagès is a recent graduate of the Junior Ballett Zürich and a former student of the Paris Opéra Ballet School and Tanz Akademie Zürich.

The American Ballet Theatre Studio Company welcomed its newest members, Daniel Guzmán and Trinity Santoro, on January 5.

Awards and Recognitions

The Royal Ballet principal Mayara Magri is named among Forbes Brazil’s 2023 “30 Under 30,” recognized for excellence in the “Dramatic Arts” category. The Rio de Janeiro native joined The Royal Ballet’s corps in 2012 after graduating from The Royal Ballet School and steadily climbed the company’s ranks. She was promoted to principal in 2021.

Mayara Magri balances in arabesque in Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering.
Mayara Magri in Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering. Photo by Bill Cooper, courtesy The Royal Ballet.