Brother & Sister Act

The Cirio siblings have made Boston Ballet a family affair.
Published in the February/March 2014 issue.

Photography by Liza Voll

 

Attend any Boston Ballet performance and you’re almost guaranteed to see one of the Cirios onstage. Although the sibling principals, Lia, 27, and Jeffrey, 22, are rarely paired, they’re two of the company’s most in-demand dancers. Lia, striking and elegant, moves with power and finesse, while Jeffrey, who rose from first-year corps member to principal in just three years, imbues his roles with youthful virtuosity. Both dancers fit easily into Boston Ballet’s diverse repertoire, earning acclaim in works that range from Elo to Balanchine to Petipa. Offstage, they’re the hip kids of Boston’s dance scene, with their home-crafted fashions, quirky tattoos and artsy vibe. Lia recently enrolled in an undergraduate program at Northeastern University; Jeffrey has begun to choreograph in his spare time. They live a few blocks from each other, and often grab lunch or dinner together during the season. Last fall, Pointe followed the Cirios through a day of classes and rehearsals as the company transitioned from La Bayadère to The Nutcracker for its 43-show run.

Jeffrey Cirio in rehearsal. Both dancers have tattoos. His shows a lighthouse and quotes The Temper Trap’s “Soldier On.”

Lia Cirio in a Sugar Plum coaching session with Larissa Ponomarenko: “I just started college, and I’m taking bio. If I have a chance during the day, I study or write a discussion-board entry.”

“If I only have one rehearsal, I’ll work harder in class to refine my technique, but if I’m going to have a six-hour day on pointe, I may take class on flat to make sure I don’t kill myself.” —Lia Cirio

Jeffrey rehearses with new "Nutcracker" partner Seo Hye Han—”With someone different, you learn more about yourself.”

Lia with new partner Eris Nezha

Lia getting fitted for her Sugar Plum tutu

Rue, one of Lia’s two cats, helps her check her email in the morning.

Jeffrey listens to music for the piece he’s choreographing.

Lia in the jacket that Jeffrey made for her

The siblings sometimes grab lunch with other dancers, like soloist Bradley Schlagheck.