Cirio in English National Ballet's "Manon." Photo by Laurent Liotardo, courtesy English National Ballet.

Jeffrey Cirio on Joining English National Ballet, Plus His Advice for Dancers Contemplating a Career Abroad

Jeffrey Cirio's meteoric rise is what dreams are made of. A Pennsylvania native, he joined Boston Ballet in 2009 and quickly rose up the ranks to principal dancer by 2012. While he felt Boston was "home," he left to join American Ballet Theatre as a soloist in 2015, where he was promoted to principal after only one year. Now, after a four-month stint as a guest artist with English National Ballet last season, this all-American boy has joined the company as a full-time lead principal. It's hard to believe he's only 27.

Just a day after his performance as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake with Alina Cojocaru last month, Cirio sat down with Pointe to give an update on his new life living and working in London.


How has your first full season with ENB been going?

Good so far; I'm really enjoying myself. I love London. I felt like it was an easy transition because I guested for four months while I was still at ABT. Tamara Rojo first offered me that guest contract so I could see how the company was, regardless of whether I joined or not. It was a good test for me to know what I was getting myself into.

You've come a long way from Boston Ballet, then ABT, and now ENB. You're not even 30 yet. How has it all felt for you?

It's moved way too fast, but in a good way. I feel like I've lived in the moment of everything, and I'm so grateful for all of my opportunities.

I sometimes forget that I'm only 27. I always feel like I'm older than I actually am just because, in ballet, you almost have to grow up faster.

Cirio and Joseph Caley in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's "Song of the Earth." Photo by Laurent Liotardo, courtesy ENB.

What has kept you sane?

My family is super supportive, but also super level-headed. They have always instilled a sense of being grateful for the opportunities you get and not take them for granted.

You recently partnered with Alina Cojocaru in Swan Lake. What was that like?

It was the first time I partnered her. She's an amazing person and artist to work with. It was a learning experience, and I'm still learning from her. Alina thinks about almost every single detail throughout anything she's doing. We changed a certain step a couple of times towards the end of the fourth act—the embrace right before she dives. We were playing around with what would work for us and what we wanted to feel in the moment. So that's just one example. It's been a very interesting and rewarding opportunity to dance with her.

The good thing about ENB, and also when I was dancing at ABT, was the fact that I didn't always dance with the same person, so there was constant change. Even now, I feel I'm constantly growing as a partner. Everyone has something to give, and I've learned different things from each person.

Are there any roles you are still hoping to dance?

I still haven't done Albrecht in Giselle. I'd also like to start doing more new works.

What are your goals or resolutions for 2019?

I just want to grow more as an artist. I want to keep learning. I also told myself that I would write more to give myself notes that I can look back on.

How is everything going with Cirio Collective, the company you founded with your sister (Boston Ballet principal Lia Cirio)?

Good. What I've learned is, because of the time difference, I have to keep up with emails constantly! We will announce our season soon and also more details about our first international tour this year.

Do you have any advice for dancers who are contemplating making a leap internationally for their career?

What I did was I really took down what I wanted in my career and what I felt was right for me at the time. It takes a lot of self-reflection. I contemplated my family and friends. I knew that they would always be there for me, but I needed to see exactly what was out there. When I made the move from Boston to ABT, that was hard, but once I did it, I felt I was comfortable enough to make another leap if I had to.

Take the time to self-reflect and see what you want to do in your career, whether that's new rep or classical, and evaluate the pros and cons. Sometimes you just have to live outside the box and see what's out there.

Latest Posts


Vikki Sloviter

Sydney Dolan Takes Center Stage at Pennsylvania Ballet

This is Pointe's Summer 2020 cover story. You can subscribe to the magazine here, or click here to purchase this issue.

Just days before the world shuttered under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic, and the curtain came down indefinitely on dance companies everywhere, Pennsylvania Ballet soloist Sydney Dolan debuted Gamzatti in La Bayadère with captivating ease. Her jumps soared, her technique was sound, and her cheeky smile paired with exquisite port de bras was beguiling. Though she didn't know the company would soon cancel the remainder of its season, her beautiful performance acted as a kind of send-off into the unknown.

Dolan's career could be described in one word: charmed. At just 19 years old, she's flown through the ranks at PAB, debuted a long list of roles, won a Princess Grace Award and been named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch." Yet it's her challenges that have shaped not only her training but her outlook, giving her a solid foundation for becoming one of Pennsylvania Ballet's rising stars.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Courtesy Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Alonzo King LINES Ballet Reconnects with Nature in This 5-Part Video Series

Earlier this month, Alonzo King LINES Ballet released the first in a series of five dance films, part of a new project entitled "There Is No Standing Still." The series features company members spanning 10 cities and four continents dancing amid their outdoor environments, in spaces ranging from quiet forests to rocky deserts to the ocean shore. While COVID-19 has put the company's normal activity on hold and forced the dancers to separate from each other physically, "There Is No Standing Still" allows LINES to create new material together in a different way. Directed by Robert Rosenwasser and edited by Philip Perkins, this installment of five short films incorporates choreography by artistic director Alonzo King and company dancers as they become one with the space around them. Check out the first two, released last month, below.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
VAM/Siggul, Courtesy YAGP

YAGP Has Announced the Winners of the 2020 Pas De Deux Virtual Competition

Last weekend, Youth America Grand Prix took to the internet, hosting its first virtual pas de deux competition. Over the course of three days, YAGP streamed videos from its regional events' highest-ranked competitors for a panel of esteemed judges. And, drum roll please... YAGP has just announced the winners, spanning three categories: Senior Classical, Junior Classical and Contemporary.

You can watch the full virtual awards ceremony, hosted by YAGP director of external affairs Sergey Gordeev, below, or scroll down for the list of winners. And if you're missing the thrill of competition, don't fear: Gordeev announced that registration for the 2021 season will open on July 10, with both in-person and virtual options available.

Congratulations to all!

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks