Tigran Mkrtchyan in Miko Nissinen's The Nutcracker

Liza Voll, Courtesy Boston Ballet

Boston Ballet Has Promoted 7 Dancers, Including Tigran Mkrtchyan to Principal

It's been a rough few weeks for the dance world, but here's some happy news: Boston Ballet announced seven dancer promotions this morning. Tigran Mkrtchyan will be made a principal, Chisako Oga is being promoted to soloist, Soo-bin Lee, Sun Woo Lee and Haley Schwan will take on the rank of second soloist, and Boston Ballet II dancers Molly Novak and Nations Wilkes-Davis will join the main company. The promotions will go into affect at the start of the 2020-21 season.

"It is truly rewarding to see our talented dancers develop into accomplished, versatile and exceptional artists," said Boston Ballet artistic director Miko Nissinen in a statement. "I am looking forward to their continued growth as they take on the diversity of repertoire in our upcoming season."

Read on below to find out more about these seven dancers.


Tigran Mkrtchyan - Principal

Mkrtchyan in brown tights and vest and a white blouse standing onstage in an arabesque with his hand on his hip. A group of dancers dressed as villagers and royalty sit behind him.

Tigran Mkrtchyan in Boston Ballet's Giselle

Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Boston Ballet

Tigran Mkrtchyan is a relative newcomer to Boston Ballet. The Armenian dancer joined the company as a soloist in 2019 from Zürich Ballet, where he'd danced since 2011. In addition to training at the Armenian Ballet School and the Zürich Dance Academy, Mkrtchyan was a finalist at the 2009 Prix de Lausanne.

Chisako Oga - Soloist

Oga, in a green leotard and black tights and pointe shoes, is onstage in an off-kilter pass\u00e9 with her arms in a jazzy extension.

Chisako Oga in William Forsythe's In the middle, somewhat elevated

Liza Voll, Courtesy Boston Ballet

Like Mkrtchyan, Chisako Oga joined the company just last season. She'd previously danced for Cincinnati Ballet, where she quickly rose to the rank of principal. Born in Dallas, Texas, Oga trained at the San Francisco Ballet School, and then danced with San Francisco Ballet as a trainee and an apprentice. Oga was named one of Dance Magazine's 2019 25 to Watch.

Soo-bin Lee - Second Soloist

Lee, in a gauzy blue dress and pointe shoes, stands on a stage flooded with blue light and fog. One leg is extended in tendu, and she leans over with her arms behind her.

Soo-bin Lee in Helen Pickett's Tsukiyo

Liza Voll, Courtesy Boston Ballet

A native of Seoul, South Korea, Soo-bin Lee, trained at the Korea National Ballet Academy, Sunhwa Arts School and the Korea National Institute for the Gifted in Arts before graduating from the Korea National University of Arts. Before joining Boston Ballet as an artist of the company in 2019, Lee's resumé featured a number of competition wins, including first place at the Vaganova-Prix International Competition and Seoul International Dance Competition.

Sun Woo Lee - Second Soloist

Lee stands in sous-sus onstage in white tights and a gold and white jacket, smiling at the audience.

Sun Woo Lee in Mikko Nissenen's The Nutcracker

Liza Voll, Courtesy Boston Ballet

Sun Woo Lee, also from Seuol, South Korea, joined Boston Ballet as an artist of the company in 2018. Lee trained at the Korea National Institute for the Gifted in Arts, Yewon School, Seoul Arts High School and Korea National University of Arts. After placing at the Varna International Ballet Competition in 2016, he performed as a guest principal dancer with Russia's Primorsky Ballet Theatre.

Haley Schwan - Second Soloist

Schwan, in a blue long-sleeved leotard, skirt and pointe shoes, stands in back attitude on an urban roof, looking back at the camera and smiling.

Haley Schwan

Brooke Trisolini, Courtesy Boston Ballet

In 2018, we covered Haley Schwan's untraditional career path: Before joining Boston Ballet in 2017, she worked in New York City as a choreographer, including for the MTV Video Music Awards. Originally from Dearborn, Michigan, the newly promoted second soloist trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet and Russia's Vaganova Ballet Academy. Starting in 2010, she spent five years as a member of Staatsballett Berlin's corps de ballet. Schwan has continued her choreographic career in Boston; in 2018, she participated in Boston Ballet's BB@home: ChoregrapHER.

Molly Novak - Artist of the Company

Studio shot of Novak and Wilkes-Davis in an entangled pose. Novak stands on pointe, holding one leg behind her and reaches toward the ceiling.

Molly Novak and Nation Wilkes-Davis

Igor Burlak, Courtesy Boston Ballet

Santa Monica, California-native Molly Novak trained at Westside School of Ballet and attended summer intensives at the School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School and Boston Ballet School. In 2017, she joined Boston Ballet School's trainee program, and in 2019 became a member of Boston Ballet II.

Nations Wilkes-Davis - Artist of the Company

Wilkes-Davis, in white tights and a gold jacket, leaps through the air with his legs split, smiling at the audience.

Nation Wilkes-Davis in Raymonda

Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Boston Ballet

Nations Wilkes-Davis has been dancing with Boston Ballet II since 2018. Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, Wilkes-Davis trained at Kelly/Creek Dance Studio and Pavlovich Ballet School/Columbia Classical Ballet. In 2017, he entered Boston Ballet School's pre-professional program, where he had the chance to dance as an exchange guest apprentice with Dresden Semperoper Ballet.

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