Following principal dancer Diana Vishneva's final bow with American Ballet Theatre and the news that principal Veronika Part's contract would not be renewed for another season, we were anxiously awaiting ABT's promotions for the 2017-2018 season. Ending our suspense, ABT's artistic director Kevin McKenzie officially announced that there would be three new female principals—Sarah Lane, Christine Shevchenko and Devon Teuscher—as well as one new male soloist, Calvin Royal III.


We couldn't be happier to see Lane's name leading the list, especially after such an amazing season. Having danced as a soloist with ABT since 2007, Lane premiered title roles in Giselle, Swan Lake and Alexei Ratmansky's new story ballet, Whipped Cream this past spring.

Shevchenko and Teuscher, who have been soloists since 2014, also had standout seasons. Schevchenko made her debut as Kitri in Don Quixote in May and Teuscher impressed in her debut as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake.

Devon Teuscher in Giselle. Photo: Gene Schiavone

Royal has been a member of the corps since 2011, and was named one of Dance Magazine's 25 to Watch in 2014. He's been featured in soloist roles for several years, including a standout in Ratmansky's Serenade after Plato's Symposium.

With the promotions taking effect on September 1, 2017, we can't wait to see these dancers take on new roles and reprise some of our favorites, too.

News
Boston Ballet's Kathleen Breen Combes, María Álvarez and Dawn Atkins. Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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Ballet Stars
Alexandra MacDonald (front row, third from left) didn't win a medal at the Genée International Ballet Competition, but says she came home inspired and newly motivated by the people she met there. Photo Courtesy Genée IBC.

Ballet competitions are an exciting part of any dancer's career. Yet while scholarships, prize money, job offers and the prestige that comes with winning a medal are compelling incentives to participate in one, they're not the only benefits. In fact, many dancers who go home empty-handed still look fondly on the experience and go on to become successful professionals.

This week, the 2019 Genée International Ballet Competition kicks off in Toronto. From August 20-29, over 50 dancers, ages 15–19 and trained in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus, will perform three solos in the hopes of winning a medal and a $10,000 cash prize. Many past medalists have gone on to illustrious careers—but so have those who didn't win anything. We spoke with three Genée alumni now dancing professionally who know what it's like not to place. Read on to find out why they deem their comp experiences a success, and how you can make the most of yours—whether you win or not.

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Ballet Stars
Skylar Brandt and Josephine Lee. Screenshot Courtesy Lee.

Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop chats with American Ballet Theatre soloist Skylar Brandt to hear about how she prepares her pointe shoes. We think Brandt might win an award for how long she makes her shoes last; watch the below video for the staggering number of days (or weeks!), and to hear about all of her unique customizations and pro tips.

Courtesy Chiara Valle

Chiara Valle is just one of many dancers heading back to the studio this fall as companies ramp up for the season. But her journey back has been far more difficult than most.

Valle has been a trainee at The Washington Ballet since 2016, starting at the same time as artistic director Julie Kent. But only a few months into her first season there, she started experiencing excruciating pain high up in her femur. "It felt like someone was stabbing me 24/7," she says. Sometimes at night, the pain got so bad that her roommates would bring her dinner to the bathtub.

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