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

August 4, 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

On July 6, The Royal Ballet artistic director Kevin O’Hare announced a slew of promotions: Isabella Gasparini was promoted to first soloist; Mica Bradbury, Hannah Grennell, Joonhyuk Jun, Sae Maeda,and Taisuke Nakao to soloist; Harris Bell, Liam Boswell, Yu Hang, Daichi Ikarashi, Bomin Kim, Harrison Lee, Marco Masciari, Nadia Mullova-Barley, Katharina Nikelski, Aiden O’Brien, and Amelia Townsend to first artist; and Martin Diaz, Olivia Findlay, Luc Foskett, Scarlett Harvey, and Ella Newton Severgnini to company artist.

Six graduates of The Royal Ballet School also join the Aud Jebsen Young Dancers Programme, which offers students the chance to dance and train alongside Royal Ballet artists: Bethany Bartlett, Sierra Glasheen, Seung Hee Han, Caspar Lench, Isabella Shaker, and Blake Smith; Julie Joyner joins as the Prix de Lausanne dancer for the 2023–24 season.

Dutch National Ballet’s Elisabeth Tonev was promoted to soloist on June 2, during the company’s U.S. tour.

At Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Anna Ishii and Esnel Ramos have been promoted to principal, Mai Kono and André Santos to principal soloist, Angel Vizcaíno to demi-soloist, and Oscar Lambert and Calista Shepheard to corps de ballet.

Richmond Ballet second company members Jackson Calhoun, Courtney Collier, and Zacchaeus Page have been promoted to the main company; Michael Duncan, Rachel Nash, and Paul Piner are now company apprentices.

Alessandra Bramante flies across a brightly-lit dance studio in a saut de chat, her arms lifted in a high "V". She wears a long flowing black dress and ballet flats.
Alessandra Bramante. Photo by Emily Nuttall, courtesy Northern Ballet.

At Northern Ballet, Joseph Taylor has been promoted to premier dancer; Jonathan Hanks, Dominique Larose, and Saeka Shirai to leading soloist; and Alessandra Bramante and Harris Beattie to coryphée.

Kendall Baker, Sasha Butman, Annabel Fobert, and Jessica Nicholson have been promoted to company dancer at Alabama Ballet.

Former American Ballet Theatre principal and freelance dance artist Sarah Lane has been appointed director of the School of Ballet Rhode Island.

Joffrey Ballet announced that Suzanne Lopez, former company artist and rehearsal director, has been appointed to Abbott Academy Director of the Joffrey Academy of Dance.

Farewells and New Arrivals

After 15 years with New York City Ballet, principal Russell Janzen will give his final performance with the company on September 24 in “Diamonds,” from George Balanchine’s Jewels.

Russell Janzen stands onstage in a tendu in ecarte derriere, his right arm reaching out on a slight diagonal in front of him and his left resting gently at his side. He wears black ballet tights, a tight white cap-sleeve shirt, white socks, and white ballet shoes.
Russell Janzen in George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments. Photo by Erin Baiano, courtesy New York City Ballet.

On Monday, July 24, American Ballet Theatre announced the departures of soloists Joseph Gorak and Gabe Stone Shayer, as well as former corps member Connor Holloway.

Former Royal Ballet first artist Tara-Brigitte Bhavnani is now a full-time dance teacher and guest character artist with the company.

Following his year as the 2022–23 Royal Ballet Prix de Lausanne dancer, Darrion Sellman will join The Royal Swedish Ballet for its upcoming season.

Dance Theatre of Harlem welcomes Ariana Dickerson, Carly Greene, and Alexandra Jones as company artists for the upcoming season.

Former DTH artist Daphne Marcelle Lee has joined the cast of The Lion King on Broadway.

Danielle Brown and Ricardo Graziano in Frederick Ashton's <i>The Walk to the Paradise Garden</i>/ Graziano lifts Brown in a torch lift; they both wear soft pink costumes.
Danielle Brown and Ricardo Graziano in Frederick Ashton’s The Walk to the Paradise Garden. Photo by Frank Atura, courtesy The Sarasota Ballet.

On July 13, The Sarasota Ballet announced that longtime principal Danielle Brown retired at the conclusion of the 2022–23 season, marking the end of her 16-year career with the company.

Aaron Kok joins Northern Ballet as a company dancer; Mayuko Iwanaga and Yu Wakizuka as apprentices, and Itsuki Amemiya as an apprentice until December 2023.

Northern Ballet bids farewell to Mackenzie Jacob, who will join Scottish Ballet; Katharine Lee, who will join San Francisco Ballet; Sean Bates,who joins Ballet Zürich; Wesley Branch; and Gavin McCaig, who has retired from performing and will join London’s Young Dancers Academy as director of business operations.

After a decade with Ballet Black, senior artist José Alves gave his final performance with the company on June 29.

Nine dancers from The Washington Ballet departed the company in June. Adelaide Clauss, Alejandro Molina León, Gian Carlo Perez, Rench Soriano, and Masanori Takiguchi will move to Houston Ballet, where former TWB artistic director Julie Kent recently began as co-artistic director. Perez joins HB as a first soloist, and Clauss, Soriano, and Takiguchi as demi-soloists. TWB’s Victoria Arrea, Rachel Rohrich, and Sarah Steele have retired from the stage, and Alexa Torres has a pending contract with Paris Opéra Ballet.

After a year as an apprentice with Houston Ballet, Kali Kleiman joins Pacific Northwest Ballet as a corps member for its upcoming season.

Marco Alessandro Corcella, formerly of Bucharest National Opera Ballet and Sarasota Ballet, moves to Oklahoma City Ballet as a principal.

On June 27, Staatsballett Berlin announced the retirement of its acting artistic director Dr. Christiane Theobald; Theobald has been active in the dance industry for 36 years as a dancer, dramaturge, operations director, and deputy artistic director.

Cincinnati Ballet welcomes former Tulsa Ballet soloist Maine Kawashima and demi-soloist Sasha Chernjavsky to the company, the former as a soloist and the latter as a corps de ballet member. Former Complexions Contemporary Ballet artists Thomas Dilley and Tatiana Melendez also join the Cincinnati Ballet corps.

Tulsa Ballet’s Josh Binowitz and Atlanta Ballet 2’s Will Giannuzzi join Nashville Ballet for the 2023–24 season.

After nine seasons with San Francisco Ballet, John-Paul Simoens joins Oregon Ballet Theatre as a soloist.

Grand Rapids Ballet welcomes Anderson Da Silva, Tyler Diggs, Sam Epstein, and Tristan Toy to the company.

Ballet Arizona’s newest company artists are Erick Rojas and Renée Spaltenstein.

Charlotte Ballet welcomes six new company dancers for the upcoming season: Isaac Aoki, Ashley Eleby, Remi Okamoto, Anna Owen, Samantha Riester, and Evelyn Robinson.

Smuin Artistic Director Celia Fushille and Associate Artistic Director Amy Seiwert pose together in the main studio of Smuin Center for Dance, located in San Francisco's Potrero View neighborhood
From Left: Celia Fushille and Amy Seiwert. Photo by Chris Hardy, courtesy Smuin Contemporary Ballet.

Smuin Contemporary Ballet has announced that Celia Fushille will step down as artistic director in June 2024, at the conclusion of the company’s 30th-anniversary season. Fushille will pass the torch to Smuin’s recently appointed associate artistic director, Amy Seiwert.

Smuin also adds former Cincinnati Ballet artist Jace Pauly to its roster.

Micheal Bushman, Lizzie Devanney, Luis Gonzalez, Elijah Hartley, and Alison Ramoran join Diablo Ballet for the upcoming season.

Boulder Ballet welcomes Catherine Lasak and Morgan Rust as company dancers.

Georgia Dalton and Elizabeth Labovitz are the newest members of Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre.

Katherine Chang, Joel Hathaway, Mathis Joubert, and Tailys Poncione have joined Verb Ballets.

Awards and Recognitions

American Ballet Theatre corps member Andrew Robare and Ballet West principal Emily Adams are among the eight artists honored in the 2023 Princess Grace Awards in the Dance Performance and Choreography categories. Robare is an award recipient in dance performance along with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Alexandria Best, tap dance artist Naomi Funaki, and flamenco dancer and choreographer Madison Olguin; Adams has received an honorarium in choreography.

Robert Binet, choreographic associate at National Ballet of Canada, has won the Sandra Faire Next Generation Award following his induction into the Dance Collection Danse hall of fame.