Your October Ballet Roster Roundup: Dancers and Directors on the Move

October 5, 2023

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

Promotions and Appointments

At Stuttgart Ballet, Henrik Erikson and Gabriel Figueredo have been promoted to soloist; Mizuki Amemiya, Christopher Kunzelmann, Daniele Silingardi, and Satchel Tanner to demi-soloist; and former apprentices Emanuele Babici, Joaquin Gaubeca, Dorian Plasse, Aoi Sawano, and Ruth Schultz to the corps de ballet. Former John Cranko School students Mitchell Millhollin and Abigail Willson-Heisel are now members of the corps.

Houston Ballet artistic directors Julie Kent and Stanton Welch announced the promotions of former corps members Eric Best and Danbi Kim to soloist. The announcement came after both dancers’ performances in John Neumeier’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which the company presented September 8­–17.

Sophie Hod has been promoted from apprentice to company dancer at Kansas City Ballet.

Taisi Tollasepp has been promoted to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet corps after joining the company this summer as an apprentice.

Mikelle Bruzina, Harald Uwe Kern, and Helen Daigle are shown waist-up as they pose for a photo. They wear colorful street clothes and smile gently.
From left: New Louisville Ballet co-artistic directors Mikelle Bruzina and Harald Uwe Kern, and new principal répétiteur and senior rehearsal director Helen Daigle. Photo courtesy Louisville Ballet.

At The Sarasota Ballet, Anna Pellegrino and Daniel Pratt have been promoted to first soloist, Evan Gorbell to soloist, and Willa Frantz to coryphée.

Georgie Grace Butler joins the Atlanta Ballet company from Atlanta Ballet 2.

Former Ballet Austin apprentices Lexi Eicher and Meg Kataoka have been promoted to the main company.

Tiziano Cerrato, Roland Jones, Seth Koffler, Lily Krisko, Leandro Olcese, Anthony Pototski, and Savannah Quiner have been promoted to company dancers at American Repertory Ballet.

At Ballet Fantastique, Isabelle Bloodgood has been promoted to principal, and Ana Brooks and Phoebe Wind from apprentice to company member.

Ty King-Wall is shown hips-up as he poses for a portrait photo. He wears a black suit with a light blue button up and smiles demurely.
Ty King-Wall. Photo by Erik Sawaya, courtesy Royal New Zealand Ballet.

On September 13, The Royal New Zealand Ballet announced Ty King-Wall as its new artistic director. King-Wall, a native New Zealander, will begin his role in mid-November, succeeding acting artistic director David McAllister. A former RNZB guest artist and Australian Ballet principal, King-Wall has been the dancers’ director and a teacher at The Australian Ballet School since 2022.

Louisville Ballet has announced the appointment of Mikelle Bruzina and Harald Uwe Kern as co–artistic directors following the departure of former director Robert Curran. Bruzina, who has been associated with the company for 28 years, most recently served as senior ballet mistress. Kern joined LB in 2005 as ballet master and was promoted to senior ballet master in 2009. Ballet mistress Helen Daigle has been promoted to principal répétiteur and senior rehearsal director.

Current Rochester City Ballet dancers Megan Kamler and Shannon Rodriguez have been named co-artistic directors of the company, succeeding Robert Gardner. Kamler joined RCB in 2011, and Rodriguez in 2015; both hold BFAs in dance from the University of Arizona.

Farewells and New Arrivals

Ma Cong and Stoner Winslett stand next to each other on a gold carpet staircase, each resting their hands on the handrail between them.
Ma Cong and Stoner Winslett. Photo by Sarah Ferguson, courtesy Richmond Ballet.

After 44 years leading Richmond Ballet, Stoner Winslett has announced that she will step away as artistic director at the conclusion of the 2023–24 season. Starting July 1, 2024, she will transition to the role of founding artistic director. Current associate artistic director Ma Cong will succeed Winslett as artistic director.

On September 22, Cincinnati Ballet announced that, after 14 months at the helm, former artistic director Jodie Gates has departed the company in a mutual agreement. Former CB principal dancer and rehearsal director Cervilio Miguel Amador now serves as acting artistic director.

Darla Hoover has stepped down as chair of faculty at the School of American Ballet; SAB artistic director Jonathan Stafford has added Hoover’s former duties to his current role.

After nearly 30 years as artistic director of Minnesota Dance Theatre, Lise Houlton has retired. Her daughter Kaitlyn Gilliland will serve as interim artistic director through the remainder of the 2023-24 season while the company seeks a permanent successor.

The Royal Ballet soloist Gina Storm-Jensen was invited to dance with The Norwegian National Ballet for the 2023–24 season. She will return to TRB for the 2024–25 season.

Principal Prisca Zeisel left Bayerisches Staatsballett in early September; the company complied with Zeisel’s request to terminate her contract at the beginning of the season.

English National Ballet principal Natascha Mair has left the company to “pursue other projects on and off stage,” as described in a company statement.

Staatsballett Berlin welcomes 24 new dancers this season: soloists Jan Casier, Matthew Knight, Martin ten Kortenaar, Meiri Maeda, Rafaelle Queiroz, Haruka Sassa, and Michelle Willems; demi-soloists Cohen Aitchison-Dugas, Emma Antrobus, Mark Geilings, Shaked Heller, Fiona McGee, Loïck Pireaux, and Kalle Wigle; and corps members Jessica Beardsell, Chloe Capulong, Gustavo Chalub, Désirée Guler, Leroy Mokgatle, Filippo Pagani, Blanka Paldi, Giovanni Princic, Anthony Tette, and Dominik White Slavkovský.

Matthew Ball and Gina Storm-Jensen perform a contemporary pas de deux on a darkly lit stage. Ball lunges and holds Storm-Gensen's hips as she leans forward, her right leg extended devant and her arms lifted up and behind her.
Matthew Ball and Gina Storm-Jensen in Christopher Wheeldon’s DGV: Danse à grande vitesse. Photo by Andrej Uspenski, courtesy The Royal Ballet and Norwegian National Ballet.

Atlanta Ballet welcomes the following new dancers to its roster: Guillermo Dominguez of Tulsa Ballet II, Marius Morawski of Tulsa Ballet, Madison Penney of Birmingham Royal Ballet, former Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet soloist Munkhjin Ulziijargal, and former English National Ballet and Hong Kong Ballet artist Rei Yamaguchi.

Reed Henry, Lindy Mesmer, Jackson Miles, Lauren Quinn, and Ao Wang have joined The Joffrey Ballet.

Aidan Duffy, Chase Hanson, and Amelia Meissner join the Kansas City Ballet company; Amira Hogan and Elliott Rogers join as apprentices.

BalletX says hello to new company members Itzkan Barbosa, formerly of Miami City Ballet and New York Theatre Ballet; Lanie Jackson⁠; and Peter Weil⁠, former Philadelphia Ballet soloist. The company’s 2023-24 dance fellows are Marco Lorenzo-Giguere⁠ and Olivia Winston⁠.

James Streeter and Natascha Mair perform the Nutcracker and Clara Act 1 pas de deux. Streeter lifts Mair up in a sweeping arabesque position, her left leg tucked into retire as her right leg points up on the high diagonal arabesque. She wears a white nightgown, and he wears a dark olive and brown baroque-esque suit.
James Streeter and Natascha Mair in Nutcracker Delights. Photo by Amber Hunt for Photography by ASH, courtesy English National Ballet.

Keelan Whitmore, formerly of Kansas City Ballet, Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and TanzTheater Münster, joins BalletX as rehearsal director and community liaison.

Kennedy Ballard, Rianna Talento, Matthew Cunningham, and former BalletX dancer Demetrious Reed are the newest members of Ballet Memphis.

Jack Morris, Kyawzwa Jeremy Lwin, Colin Heino, Ezra Schenck, and Tristin Filsinger join Ballet Austin as company dancers.

Former Miami City Ballet principal soloist Shimon Ito joins Carolina Ballet as a soloist; Ashton Bradley, Andrew Denise, Ling Minucci, and Russell Schmidt join the corps.

Former Atlanta Ballet dancer Georgia Dalton has joined Terminus Modern Ballet; Amalie Chase joins as a company protégé.

Ballet Fantastique welcomes Joshua Webb as a soloist.

Meggie Peterson is New England Ballet Theatre’s newest company artist.

Awards and Recognitions

National Ballet of Canada second soloist Tirion Law received the 2023 Rolex  Dancers First  Award, which recognizes outstanding performances in the previous season, for her debut in the title role of Alexei Ratmansky’s Romeo and Juliet this past June.

Stuttgart Ballet principal Friedemann Vogel has been nominated for the German theater award “Deutscher Theaterpreis Der Faust” in the dance performance category for his rendition of the title role in Edward Clug’s The Nutcracker.

Fellow Stuttgart principal Jason Reilly has been named the 2023 Dancer of the Year by the German dance magazine Tanz-Zeitschrift.