Sono Osato, Screenshot via YouTube

Sono Osato, a trailblazing ballet and musical theater dancer, passed away last Wednesday at her home in New York City.

Best known for originating the role of Miss Turnstiles in Jerome Robbins' hit On the Town—one of Broadway's first non-segregated musicals—Osato got her start at 14 as the youngest member of the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, and as the troupe's first Japanese-American performer. She went on to dance for Ballet Theatre (now American Ballet Theatre), where she found success in New York City but was banned from touring in Mexico and California because of her Japanese background. For a brief time, Osato went by her mother's maiden name, Fitzpatrick, in an effort to escape the World War II-era anti-Japanese sentiment. During the war, her father was confined under military guard in Chicago as an enemy alien.

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Murphy's pregnancy announcement has us jumping for joy. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy ABT

Congratulations are in order for American Ballet Theatre star Gillian Murphy and her husband, former ABT dancer Ethan Stiefel, who are expecting their first child next June!

Murphy announced her pregnancy today on Instagram:


She will not be dancing in the company's upcoming tour or the 2019 Metropolitan Opera House season, but plans to return to the stage next fall.

We have no doubt that Murphy will be the ultimate cool mom. Here's why:

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Raffaella Stroik. Photo via stlouisballet.org

Update: Raffaella Stroik's body was found near a boat ramp in Florida, Missouri on Wednesday morning. According to the South Bend Tribune, the cause of death has not yet been released and the investigation remains open. Foul play is not suspected. A funeral Mass has been scheduled for Wednesday, November 20 at the Sacred Heart Basilica at the University of Notre Dame. Our thoughts are with her friends and family.

Raffaella Stroik, a 23-year-old dancer with the Saint Louis Ballet, went missing on Monday.

Her car was found with her phone inside in a parking lot near a boat ramp in Mark Twain Lake State Park—130 miles away from St. Louis. On Tuesday, the police began an investigation into her whereabouts.

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Yuli looks like the ballet biopic of our dreams. Screenshot via YouTube

We admit it. We're picky about dance movies. They don't always represent our beloved art form accurately, or use real dancers to play the main roles.

But we just watched the first trailer for the new Carlos Acosta biopic, Yuli, and we're kinda speechless:

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Chase Finlay. Photo via Instagram.

Former School of American Ballet student Alexandra Waterbury, 19, is suing New York City Ballet and her ex-boyfriend, former principal dancer Chase Finlay.

Finlay resigned suddenly last week, and principals Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro were put on unpaid leave for the remainder of 2018 because of "inappropriate communications" of a "personal nature."

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The company is searching for an artistic director who is "humane"—and who might not be a choreographer. Photo by Paul Kolnik
Update: The full job description has been posted here.


Ever since Peter Martins retired from New York City Ballet this January amid an investigation into sexual harassment and abuse allegations, we've been speculating about who might take his place—and how the role of ballet master in chief might be transformed.

Until now, we've only known a bit about what the search for a new leader looks like. But yesterday, The New York Times reported that the company has released a job description for the position. Here's what we're able to discern about the new leader and what this means for the future of NYCB:

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Katherine Williams has been promoted to soloist. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.

It's that time of year: American Ballet Theatre has just announced promotions, and they're as exciting as ever.

This season, it's all about the ladies: corps de ballet members Zhong-Jing Fang, Catherine Hurlin and Katherine Williams have been promoted to soloist, effective September 1.

Though none of these choices are surprises per se, it's nice to see artistic director Kevin McKenzie acknowledge the hard work of two longtime dancers. Fang has been a striking member of the corps since 2004, known for tackling steps with daredevil abandon and for her humorous side. Williams' bright, reliable presence has lit up the ABT stage since 2008, and her recent debut as Myrtha proved she has the emotional range for roles far beyond the ingénue.

From left: Zang (photo by Jade Young), Williams (photo by Alex DiMattia), Hurlin (photo by Jade Young)

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Kyle Abraham's "Untitled America" for Ailey. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

Ever since New York City Ballet's interim leadership team took over from Peter Martins, we've been curious whether they'd get a chance to try their hand at programming. (It was unclear how much Martins had done before he retired.)

As it turns out, Martins left room for Justin Peck, Rebecca Krohn, Craig Hall and Jonathan Stafford to select two of the company's six commissions for the 2018-19 season. Their choicesKyle Abraham and Emma Portner—are surprising, and thrilling.

Neither choreographer has made work on a large ballet company before, though Abraham created a duet with Wendy Whelan for her "Restless Creature" series, among his other commissions for companies like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and work for his own company. And though Portner has been a favorite in commercial circles for a few years now, the concert commissions have just recently started rolling in: This fall she'll be collaborating with Lil Buck and Dev Hynesfor a full-length work for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and working with Anne Plamondon on a Fall for Dance North piece.

Keep reading at dancemagazine.com.

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