Your February Roster Roundup: Dancers and Directors on the Move

February 2, 2023

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

Promotions and Appointments

On January 18, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre announced the appointment of Adam W. McKinney as its new artistic director, effective March 2023. McKinney, who succeeds Susan Jaffe, will be the company’s seventh artistic director and first director of color in PBT’s 54-year history.

Adam McKinney is in three-quarter profile, shown from the waist up, crossing his arms and smiling widely. He wears a black turtleneck and black sport coat and stands in front of a blue background.
Adam McKinney. Photo by Timothy Brestowski, courtesy PBT.

San José Dance Theatre principal, ballet mistress and faculty member Mariana Zschoerper was named the company’s new artistic director on January 12, effective as of January 1. Fellow principal and faculty member Augusto Silva was appointed SJDT’s artistic associate.

Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Kihiro Kusukami has been promoted to principal dancer for the company’s 2023 season.

Cincinnati Ballet shared the promotions of Katherine Ochoa to soloist, Llonnis del Toro Cintra to new dancer and Salomé Tregre to second company member.

On January 19, Birmingham Royal Ballet announced the launch of BRB2, its new, two-year performance program for dancers ages 18–22. BRB first soloist Kit Holder has been named the second company’s artistic coordinator for 2023. The BRB2 founding members include Jack Easton, Frieda Kaden, Maïlène Katoch, Oscar Kempsey-Fagg and Mason King. Main company artists Eric Pinto Cata, Olivia Chang Clarke, Regan Hutsell, Riku Ito, Sofia Liñares, Enrique Bejarano Vidal and Lucy Waine will join BRB2 for its first UK tour running April–June.

Nashville Ballet has appointed Maria Konrad as NB2 director, effective immediately. Konrad was named Youth America Grand Prix’s International Outstanding Choreographer in 2022; she was formerly resident choreographer with Next Generation Ballet and served as a YAGP judge and master teacher.

Farewells and New Arrivals

Long-time New York City Ballet principal Jared Angle will give his farewell performance on February 4 at the David H. Koch Theater; he will appear as Prince Ivan in George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins’ Firebird. Following his retirement from the stage, Angle will join the Royal Danish Ballet as a ballet master.

Jared Angle in Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering. Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy NYCB.

NYCB also shared that principal Harrison Ball will give his final performance with the company on Sunday, April 30, in George Balanchine’s Haieff Divertimento and Jerome Robbins’ Afternoon of a Faun. Ball stated in a company press release that his retirement is due to “physical injuries that disable [him] from performing [his] duties as a dancer,” and that he looks forward to pursuing acting and choreography in the future.

San Francisco Ballet announced that Tiit Helimets will retire as a principal dancer on February 11. For his final performance, he’ll appear as the lead in Danielle Rowe’s new work, MADCAP, as part of the company’s next@90 festival. He will remain with SFB as a principal character dancer through the 2023 season.

Oregon Ballet Theatre bids farewell to 11-year principal Xuan Cheng, who will give her last performance with the company as the titular role in August Bournonville’s La Sylphide on February 25. She will go on to continue her work as principal dancer and ballet mistress with Hong Kong Ballet.

Xuan Cheng and Peter Franc. Photo by Yi Yin, courtesy OBT.

Charles-Louis Yoshiyama departed Houston Ballet to join OBT as a principal last month. He’ll make his debut with the company performing as James in the Bournonville classic.

Houston Ballet also bids farewell to first soloist Christopher Coomer, who after 18 seasons will give his final performances in Romeo and Juliet February 23–March 5. He will go on to become a company ballet master.

Dance Theatre of Harlem welcomes its newest member, Elias Re, a former dancer with American Repertory Ballet, New Jersey Ballet, Cleveland Ballet and Ruth Page Civic Ballet Training Company.

On January 23, long-time American Ballet Theatre corps member Connor Holloway (also recognizable as a key player in the recent “Gargouillade Gate” video series on social media) announced that they have taken a leave of absence from the company to explore additional artistic endeavors.

Connor Holloway (left) and Patrick Frenette in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Seasons. Photo by Marty Sohl, courtesy ABT.

Boston Ballet welcomed its newest artist of the company, Kaitlyn Casey.

On February 9, Timothy O’Donnell will premiere his final work as Milwaukee Ballet’s resident choreographer in the company’s triple bill, Originals.

Birmingham Royal Ballet announced the departure of principal character artist and assistant répétiteur Laura Day. After over 10 years with BRB, she will move to Australia with her fiancé, Jonathan Lo, The Australian Ballet music director and chief conductor.

On January 7, English National Ballet revealed its 2023 guest artists: Former ENB lead principal Jeffrey Cirio will return to perform in Akram Khan’s Creature this spring. In January, international star Brooklyn Mack (Prince Siegfried) and Staatsballett Berlin principal Iana Salenko (Odette/Odile) joined ENB for its performances of Swan Lake.

Harrison Ball in Jerome Robbins’ Andantino. Photo by Erin Baiano, courtesy NYCB.

Atlanta Ballet announced its newest company dancers: former Veronezh State Opera and Ballet Theatre soloists Luiz Fernando Xavier and Larissa Dal’Santo, Severin Brotschul, former Boston Ballet soloist Patric Palkins, Hui Wen Peng, Evelyn Robinson and Kaitlin Matree Roemer.

Charles Rosario joined New York Theatre Ballet for its 2022–23 season.

Awards and Recognitions

The Prix de Lausanne has announced current Birmingham Royal Ballet director Carlos Acosta as its 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Acosta won a gold medal at the Prix in 1990 before going on to enjoy a successful performing career with companies including English National Ballet, The Royal Ballet, National Ballet of Cuba, Houston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and others.

Carlos Acosta. Photo by Johan Persson, courtesy Birmingham Royal Ballet.

New York City Ballet corps member KJ Takahashi has won the 2023 Janice Levin Dancer Award, an annual recognition of a promising corps dancer.