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This Just In: 5 Dancers Promoted at Boston Ballet

Chyrstyn Fentroy and Roddy Doble in William Forsythe's Pas/Parts. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy of Boston Ballet.

The season of promotions has begun! Boston Ballet just announced that five company dancers will be moving up the ranks, effective at the start of the 2018/2019 season this fall.


Ji Young Chae in Jorma Elo's "Bach Cello Suites." Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

Ji Young Chae and Derek Dunn will be promoted to principal. In 2015, Chae told us about the critical moment that led to her promotion to soloist; now she's made it all the way.

Derek Dunn in Justin Peck's "In Creases." Photo by Sabi Varga © Varga Images, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

We've had our eye on Dunn for a while now; he was our October/November 2016 cover star, and last year we covered his transition from Houston Ballet, where he'd been for five years, to Boston Ballet. In May, Dunn will debut the iconic lead in George Balanchine's Prodigal Son.



Patric Palkens in Wayne McGregor's "Obsidian Tear." Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

Patric Palkens will be promoted to soloist. Palkens joined Boston Ballet last year from Cincinnati Ballet, where he was a senior soloist.


Drew Nelson. Photo by Brooke Trisolini, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

Drew Nelson and Chyrstyn Fentroy will be promoted to second soloist. Nelson joined the company in 2015 after a year spent dancing for the Royal Danish Ballet

Fentroy joined Boston Ballet last year, leaving her five year career at Dance Theatre of Harlem. This winter we highlighted her standout performance with DTH in Brahms Variations. In a recent story on dancers who took a lower rank when switching companies, Fentroy told Pointe that dancing for Boston Ballet has given her a chance to hone her classical technique.

Ballet Stars

What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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Ballet Careers
Ali Cameron, Courtesy Queensland Ballet

An artistic director's position was far from Li Cunxin's mind when the Brisbane-based Queensland Ballet came calling in 2012. Since his retirement from the stage in 1999, the Chinese-Australian dancer had embarked on a highly successful career at the helm of a stockbroking firm. His wife, former dancer and current Queensland ballet mistress Mary McKendry Li, changed his mind, Li remembers. "She said, 'Wouldn't it be nice to give something back to the art form that we both have benefited so much from?' "

Seven years later, Li's contribution has been dramatic. Queensland Ballet, once a struggling choreographer-led company, has become one of Australia's most exciting repertoire ensembles, with Liam Scarlett on board as artistic associate. The budget has more than quadrupled, to over $20 million USD, and Li has launched not one but three major construction projects, with world-class headquarters, a theater and a new academy all in progress.

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News
Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet

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

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