At the time of our April/May cover shoot, Mayara Piñeiro was soloist. She's now a new principal at PAB. (photo by Nathan Sayers for Pointe)

Dancer Exodus at Pennsylvania Ballet

The other shoe has dropped at Pennsylvania Ballet, a little over a year into former American Ballet Theatre star Angel Corella's new artistic directorship. Corella was appointed in July, 2014 and quickly made changes. In August, 2014, most of the senior artistic staff left the company. Now, Pointe contributor and Pennsylvania-based journalist Ellen Dunkel reports in The Inquirer that nearly 40 percent of the dancers are doing the same.

Since PAB is an AGMA company, the company's union rules stipulate that new directors must spend one continuous year on the job before terminating dancers' contracts. In a rather unprecedented mass firing, twelve were let go, and five are leaving of their own volition.


Dunkel writes that six dancers were paid to leave the company last year, and says others are thinking of leaving now. Notable departures include principal Lauren Fadeley, who chose to join Miami City Ballet as a soloist. Her husband, principal Francis Veyette did not have his contract renewed and will also leave the company—including his position as Pennsylvania Ballet II artistic director. Soloist Evelyn Kocak will move to New York City for a freelance career. Many other exiting dancers are in the corps.

Corella has drummed up excitement for the company with his own staging of Don Quixote (a first for PAB) and a recent tour to NYC. Though the tour received measured reviews, it gave NYC audiences and critics a chance to see some of the talent (like our April/May cover star, Mayara Piñeiro) that Corella has been pushing—and pushing hard. It also indicated his vision for PAB's future: A lot less Balanchine, which has traditionally been the backbone of the company. As PAB moves forward, it looks to no longer be a priority.

In the process of reshaping the company, Corella has hired a slew of new dancers and promoted current members. Soloists Lillian DiPiazza, Oksana Maslova and Piñeiro have all been promoted to principal dancers. In a wild twist, American Ballet Theatre corps member Sterling Bacca has been hired as a principal. Dance Theatre of Harlem member Nayara Lopes will join as a corps member. Dayesi Torriente, a former principal dancer at the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, comes on board as soloist. Check out the full list of new hires here.

As Corella continues to make changes, we wish the best to the newly unemployed dancers and wait excitedly to see where the next few years of leadership and programming take the company.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

Class of 2020, These Ballet Stars Have a Heartfelt Video Message Just for You

Congratulations to this year's graduating seniors!

You might not have had the chance to take that long planned-for final bow, but we're here to cheer you on and celebrate all that you've accomplished. And we've brought together stars from across the ballet world to help us; check out the video to hear their best wishes for your futures.

To further fête all of the ballet grads out there, we're also giving away 100 free subscriptions to Pointe... plus, one lucky bunhead will receive a personalized message from one of ballet's biggest stars. Click here to enter!


Courtesy Boylston

Is the #EsmeraldaChallenge Quarantine's Next Big Thing?

By this point in the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, people are completely burned out on dancing at home. So it's no surprise that last week, all-around dance superstar Alex Wong posted a video on Instagram performing the famous La Esmeralda variation... but in his living room. And with a frying pan instead of a tambourine.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/27/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks