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

June 5, 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

Mathilde Froustey performs in Balanchine's Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet. She does a dragging lunge in a flowing light pink dress.
Mathilde Froustey in Balanchine’s Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet. Photo by Erik Tomasson, courtesy San Francisco Ballet.

After 10 years with San Francisco Ballet, principal Mathilde Froustey has left to join Bordeaux National Opéra Ballet as an étoile. Froustey will make her debut in Bordeaux in José Carlos Martínez’s premiere Don Quixote on June 30, dancing alongside newly promoted étoile Riku Ota.

SFB has promoted Parker Garrison, Jihyun Choi, Benjamin Davidoff, Jasper True Stanford, Angela Watson, and Seojeong Yun to its corps de ballet; Katharine Lee, Hui-Wen Peng, and Simone Pompignoli also join the corps. Former principals Joanna Berman, Pascal Molat, and Tiit Helimets, and longtime SFB School faculty members Kristi DeCaminada and Jeffrey Lyons, are the company’s newest character artists.

Former New York City Ballet apprentices Olivia Bell and Charlie Klesa have been promoted to the corps de ballet.

On May 11, Philadelphia Ballet artistic director Angel Corella promoted Ashton Roxander to principal. Corella made the announcement onstage following the company’s opening night performance of Coppélia.

Kristina Windom has been appointed principal of the School of Philadelphia Ballet and will begin the role on June 19. Windom was formerly head of the upper division at The Washington School of Ballet.

Tulsa Ballet artists Jaimi Cullen, Nao Ota, and Jun Masuda have been promoted to principal; Aina Oki has been promoted to soloist, and Yuki Toda and Michael Paradiso to demi-soloist. The company also welcomes Aubin Le Marchand, of the Paris Opéra Ballet School, as a soloist.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre artistic director Adam W. McKinney announced the promotions of Tommie Lin O’Hanlon to principal, Grace Rookstool to soloist, and Madeline Gradle to corps de ballet. PBT also welcomes a new soloist, Gustavo Ribeiro, formerly of Miami City Ballet; corps member Matthew Griffin, of Cincinnati Ballet; and two apprentices, Emry Amoky and Nathan Smith.

(Left to Right) Jaimi Cullen, Nao Ota, and Jun Masuda pose together for a group photo and smile at the camera.
(Left to Right) Jaimi Cullen, Jun Masuda, and Nao Ota. Photo by Hilton Price, courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Oklahoma City Ballet has announced a slew of promotions: Alejandro González and Mayu Odaka are now principals; Randolph Fernandez, Joseph Hetzer, and Gabrielle Mengden are soloists; and Oslaniel Castillo, James Klump, and Grace Manuel are corps de ballet members.

Several Ballet West dancers have been promoted: Kristina Weimer and Victoria Vassos to soloist; Nicole Fannéy and Vinicius Lima to demi-soloist; and Stella Birkinshaw, Kye Cooley, Anderson Duhan, Maren Florence, William Lynch, and Jonas Malinka-Thompson to corps de ballet.

Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Michel Lavoie and Peter Lancksweerdt have been promoted to first soloist, and Katie Simpson and Liam Saito to second soloist. The company also welcomes former apprentices Cleighden Butler, Julianna Generoux, and Maggie Weatherdon to its corps de ballet.

Carolina Ballet’s Rachel Robinson, Mia Domini, and Madeline Rogers have been promoted to soloist.

Ashton Roxander thanks the audience onstage after a performance of "Coppelia." He wears a white tunic and tights and extends his arms in a wide V overhead, smiling.
Ashton Roxander. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, courtesy Philadelphia Ballet.

On May 28, Texas Ballet Theater announced that acting artistic director Tim O’Keefe will assume the role of artistic director for a five-year term, beginning July 1. O’Keefe, who served as associate artistic director from 2002–22, succeeds artistic director laureate Ben Stevenson, OBE.

Alabama Ballet has announced the appointment of Christopher Stuart as its new artistic director. Most recently director of Charlotte Ballet II, Stuart will begin his new position this summer.

Farewells and New Arrivals

Miami City Ballet bid farewell to four longtime company dancers: principal Tricia Albertson and corps members Helen Ruiz, Bradley Dunlap, and Ellen Grocki. They each gave their last performances with MCB in its final season program, Entradas, last month.

Longtime Scottish Ballet principal Constance Devernay-Laurence took her final bow with the company in May, following her performance in Helen Pickett’s The Crucible at The Kennedy Center. In an Instagram post, Devernay-Laurence expressed excitement for a “new opportunity on screen,” with details to follow. 

On May 10, Staatsballett Berlin announced the departures of principal guest artists Daniil Simkin, Marian Walter, and Dinu Tamazlacaru; soloists Iana Balova, Aya Okumura, and Evelina Godunova ;and corps member Yevgeniy Khissamutdinov

On June 3 Sasha Vincett retires from the stage after 16 seasons with Ballet Arizona. She will go on to become the company’s costume shop manager.

Tricia Albertson and Renan Cerdeiro dance together in Balanchine’s "Apollo." Albertson is dressed as a muse in a short white dress, her hair coiffed in curls on her head, and she poses in tendu derriere facing away from Cerdeiro while holding his hand behind her. Cerdeiro, as Apollo, sits in an extended pose on the floor and faces away as he holds her hand.
Tricia Albertson and Renan Cerdeiro in Balanchine’s Apollo. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, courtesy Miami City Ballet.

Oklahoma City Ballet welcomes former Sarasota Ballet artist Marco Corcella as a principal and longtime freelancer Erina Tanaka as a corps member for its 2023–24 season.

Kansas City Ballet’s Courtney Nitting has announced her departure from the company in a recent Instagram post, promising more details to come.

Ballet Memphis bids farewell to company dancers Oscar Fernandez, Dominiq Luckie, and Cameron Cofrancesco.

Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Shane Horan retired from the stage on May 21 following the company’s season closer, The Wizard of Oz.

Frederick Lee Rocas, Ariana Czernobil, Jenna Graham, and Nathanael Edwards will all take their final bows with Alabama Ballet after the company’s performance of Coppélia.

Longtime Ballet West corps member Amber Miller will retire at the conclusion of the company’s 2022–23 season.

Marco Lo Presti will join Royal Winnipeg Ballet as a second soloist at the start of the upcoming season.

Bayerisches Staatsballett has welcomed Jasmine Henry to its corps de ballet.

Megumi Nishimori will be Vitacca Ballet’s newest company dancer, starting in the 2023–24 season.

Awards and Recognitions

Misty Copeland has received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from New York University for her contributions to the field as an artist, advocate, and author.

Misty Copeland takes a bow after receiving her honorary doctorate.
Misty Copeland takes a bow after receiving her honorary doctorate. Photo by Nicollette Francis, courtesy NYU Photo Bureau.

American University’s College of Arts & Sciences has granted The Washington Ballet artistic director Julie Kent​​ an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts. Kent will begin her new role as co-artistic director of Houston Ballet this July.

New York City Ballet corps member Victor Abreu and Lorna Courtney of Broadway’s & Juliet are the winners of the 13th annual Clive Barnes Award for Dance and Theatre. Courtney and Abreu each received a $5,000 award.

The Australian Ballet has announced its 2023 Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards. Corps member Lilla Harvey is this year’s Rising Star award winner, and Isobelle Dashwood won the People’s Choice award.