San Francisco Ballet Announces 2021 Promotions, Including 3 New Principals

April 22, 2020

Promotions season is officially underway. Though ballet companies worldwide are shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, they’re still looking toward the future, and updating their rosters accordingly. Last night, San Francisco Ballet joined the ranks of Boston Ballet and Ballet West in announcing promotions for the 2021 season. The list includes 11 promotions, two new company members and six apprentices, including three new principals.

Congratulations to all! Read on for more on these rising dancers.

Wona Park – Principal

Wona Park, smiling in a ranversu00e9 onstage, wearing an orange tutu and gold crown.

Wona Park in Helgi Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

Wona Park
has made a meteoric rise through San Francisco Ballet’s ranks. After joining the company as a member of the corps de ballet in 2017, she was promoted to soloist in 2018. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Park studied at the Sunhwa Arts School before moving to San Francisco to continue her training at SF Ballet School and in the SF Ballet School Trainee Program. In recent seasons, Park has shone as Kitri, Aurora, the Lead Butterfly in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and in principals roles in Edwaard Liang’s The Infinite Ocean and Victor Gsovsky’s Grand Pas Classique.

Max Cauthorn – Principal

Cauthorn in all white kneels onstage with his arms int he air. Ballerinas dressed in white stand in a fourth position on either side of him.

Max Cauthorn in Harald Lander’s Etudes

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

San Francisco Ballet’s second newly promoted principal is Max Cauthorn. A San Francisco native, Cauthorn is a born and bred SFB dancer: He trained at SF Ballet School and was an SF Ballet School Trainee before joining the company as an apprentice in 2013. He was promoted to the corps de ballet the following year, and then to soloist in 2017. Recently, Cauthorn has taken on roles like Oberon in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and ballets including Mark Morris’ Sandpaper Ballet, Edwaard Liang’s The Infinite Ocean, Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella and August Bournonville’s The Jockey Dance.

Nikisha Fogo – Principal

Fogo, in a blue military bodice and yellow tutu, jumps in the air with both toes pointed.

Nikisha Fogo in George Balanchine’s Stars & Stripes

Ashley Taylor, Courtesy SFB

Nikisha Fogo
is a San Francisco Ballet newcomer. A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Fogo joins the company from Vienna State Ballet, where she is currently a first soloist. “She has everything I look for in a principal dancer—strong and versatile technique to excel in the classical and contemporary repertoire, beautiful musicality and a profound desire to dance,” says artistic director Helgi Tomasson. Fogo’s training took place at Kungliga Svenska Balettskolan and the Royal Ballet School in London. Her current repertoire includes principal roles in Manuel Legris’ Sylvia, Pierre Lacotte’s Coppélia and Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote, as well as roles in ballets by George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor and more.

Ellen Rose Hummel – Soloist

Ellen Rose Hummel in an orange peasant dress, white blouse and heeled shoes, jumps in the air with her hands flexed and dark hair loose.

Ellen Rose Hummel in Helgi Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

Greenvile, South Carolina-born Ellen Rose Hummel studied at North Carolina Dance Theatre before joining the SF Ballet School and SF Ballet School Trainee Program. Hummel became an apprentice in 2011, and was promoted to the corps de ballet in 2012. In the 2020 season, which was unfortunately cut short by COVID-19 closures, Hummel danced one of the stepsisters in Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella and in Harald Lander’s Etudes, Mark Morris’ Sandpaper Ballet and Stanton Welch’s Bespoke. In 2019, she took on the role of the Fairy of Courage in Helgi Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty. Fun fact: Hummel was one of Pointe’s Stars of the Corps in 2015.

Diego Cruz – Soloist

Diego Crus, in a red and purple unitard, leaps with both legs in attitude and his arms sloping down.

Diego Cruz in Alexei Ratmansky’s Piano Concert #1

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

Newly promoted soloist Diego Cruz joined the company as a member of the corps de ballet in 2006. Originally from Zaragoza, Spain, Cruz has originated roles in ballets including William Forsythe’s Pas/Parts 2016, Justin Peck’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, Arthur Pita’s Björk Ballet, Yuri Possokhov’s “…two united in a single soul…”, Myles Thatcher’s Ghost in the Machine and Helgi Tomasson’s Caprice. Last year, we profiled Paellas & Cos, the paella catering company that Cruz runs with former SFB dancer Rubén Martín Cintas.

Lucas Erni – Soloist

Erni leaps high in the air with one leg in passu00e9 in an orange and black jester like outfit, while dancers dressed as peasants around him look on in shock.

Lucas Erni in Helgi Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

A native of Santo Tomé, Argentina, Lucas Erni danced with Sarasota Ballet and National Ballet of Uruguay before joining San Francisco Ballet as a corps dancer in 2018. During the 2020 season, Erni took on the role of Bottom in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For Erni, highlights from the previous season include Bluebird, Puss in Boots and the polonaise in Helgi Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty, and Mercutio in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet.

Myles Thatcher – Soloist

On a dark stage, Thatcher, dressed in a black suite, holds Stahl, dressed in a blue and black dress, as she stands on pointe in a wide fourth position and leans back.

Myles Thatcher with SFB principal Jennifer Stahl in Val Caniparoli’s Ibsen’s House

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Myles Thatcher trained at The Harid Conservatory and Ellison Ballet before moving to the SF Ballet School and SF Ballet School Trainee Program. He became an apprentice in 2009 and a member of the corps de ballet in 2010. In addition to dancing in a slew of ballets at SFB, Thatcher has an extensive choreographic career. He’s created works for the Joffrey Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, SFB and others, and in 2014-15 was chosen as a Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative artist to be mentored by Alexei Ratmansky. His choreography has also been nominated for two Isadora Duncan Dance Awards.

6 New Corps de Ballet Members

Five San Francisco Ballet apprentices—SunMin Lee, Tyla Steinbach, Rubén Cítores, Lleyton Ho and Adrian Zeisel—are being promoted to the corps de ballet. The company also welcomes new corps de ballet member Luca Ferrò, joining the company from the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco.

6 New Apprentices

Six San Francisco Ballet School Trainees—Alexis Aiudi, Olivia Brothers, Pemberley Ann Olson, Andris Kundzins, Gregory Myles and Alexis Valdes—will become apprentices for the 2021 season.