Earlier this month, San Francisco Ballet surprised us all by announcing that longtime New York City Ballet principal, Ana Sophia Scheller, would be joining its roster as a principal. The Argentinian-born dancer moved to New York at the age of 13 to study at the School of American Ballet, and later joined NYCB as a corps member in 2004. In her 13 years with the company, Scheller steadily worked her way up to the title of principal (she was promoted in 2012), dancing featured roles in all of the classics and even originating roles in several of NYCB's new works.
Making her own announcement of her departure on her Instagram, Scheller gave her final performance with NYCB at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC on June 10th, and is now preparing to join a new company (and a new coast!) at San Francisco Ballet.
"I was seeking new challenges and a change," Scheller tells Pointe on how the big move came about. "My agent, Abigail Simon, made me aware of an opportunity with SFB and I went for it."
Though she recalls many fond memories with NYCB (her favorite was when she danced her first full-length ballet with the company in Sleeping Beauty), Scheller is eager to get to work over at SFB. "I feel that artists need change sometimes and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have a fresh start with a top company like SFB," she says. "San Francisco Ballet has Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, but they have the classics and a variety of hot new choreographers for the 2017-2018 season, too."
Along with the new repertoire, Scheller is also looking forward to exploring a new city. "This will be my first time living in San Francisco," she explains. "I'm excited to eventually own a car and on my time off go to all the different beautiful places outside of the city—including the scenic coastline and parks. I'm also looking forward to not having to deal with the snow and cold of East Coast winters!"
Also making a major switch is Ulrik Birkkjaer, who joins SFB as a principal having formerly danced with The Royal Danish Ballet, and Madison Keesler, who will return as a corps member after dancing with English National Ballet.
While we'll missing having Scheller so close by in New York, we can't wait to see her dancing new roles at SFB—and, okay, we're a little jealous of all the warmer weather she has ahead of her, too.