Ballet Stars

Bravo to These 8 Hardworking Ballet Dads

Royal Ballet principal Steven McRae with his kids. Via Instagram.

With Father's Day just around the corner, we wanted to take a minute to acknowledge some of the dancer dads out there who are doing double duty at home and onstage. So in between feting the father figures in your life this weekend (and thanking them for sitting through countless hours of dance recitals throughout the course of your lives), check out these eight ballet dads below.


Seth Orza - Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal 

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Seth Orza seems to prepping his six-year-old daughter, Lola, for life on the road. As the child of not one but two PNB principals (Orza is married to Sarah Ricard Orza), Lola explored Paris while on tour with her parents last summer (we love that Orza captioned this shot "Tiny tourist.") And according to Orza's Instagram, father and daughter also share a love of Star Wars; after all, "May the Fourth Be With You" jokes never do get old.

Steven McRae - Royal Ballet Principal 

Steven McRae's Instagram is jam-packed with adorable glimpses of his two children, Audrey Bluebell and Frederick Charles, along with his wife, Royal Ballet soloist Elizabeth McRae. We already knew that McRae was famous for his insane workouts; what we didn't know until now is that his cross-training routine includes his kids (who seem to be having a total blast).

Thomas Forster - American Ballet Theatre Soloist 

From errands to soccer, American Ballet Theatre soloist Thomas Forster and his two-year-old son Ben seem to be true pals. And if this video of Ben with his mom Leann Forster is any indication, Ben might end up following in his parents' footsteps (his toddler arabesque is pretty impressive).

Rex Tilton - Ballet West Principal 

Ajax Tilton, son of Ballet West principal Rex Tilton and first soloist Allison DeBona, is only seven months old, but he's already making a big splash on Instagram. (He shares his account with his family's dog, Zipper). Ajax's age is not stopping him from knowing his way around a studio; he and his dad are clearly the next father/son teaching team to watch.

Ethan Stiefel - Choreographer and Former American Ballet Theatre Principal 

Father's Day is coming at the perfect time for ballet star Ethan Stiefel. His wife, American Ballet Theatre principal Gillian Murphy, gave birth to Ax Nathaniel less than a week ago. And according to Murphy's Instagram post, Ax's name fittingly means "Father of Peace." We can't wait to watch this ABT baby grow up.

Luke Ingham - San Francisco Ballet Principal 

One advantage of being a dancer dad is having a built-in cheerleading squad. San Francisco Ballet principal Luke Ingham and choreographer Danielle Rowe's three-year-old daughter Aggie makes sure that Ingham is pumped up to perform. And the arts are definitely in her future: If not as a dancer, than surely as a singer or percussionist.

Temur Suluashvili - Joffrey Ballet Dancer

Joffrey Ballet dancers Temur Suluashvili and Victoria Jaiani's five-year-old son Maxim seems to have it pretty good. He gets to travel with his parents (with a cool dino backpack no less), and get jumping lessons from his dancing dad. Plus, he already seems pretty comfortable onstage.

Guillaume Côté - National Ballet of Canada Principal

Leo and Emma also have two dancers for parents: Guillaume Côté and Heather Ogden, both principals with National Ballet of Canada. Not only is Emma rocking it in her own tutu and gets to play Juliet to her dad's Romeo, but she got to join him onstage in March for his 20th anniversary performance. As of this point, Leo seems more interested in pancakes and badgers than ballet, but he may come around after all.

The Conversation
Ballet Stars
Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB

Your teacher at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Marcia Dale Weary, recently passed away. What impact did she have on you?

I feel deeply indebted to her. She shaped my life's course, and I know that were it not for her, I would not be living out my dream today. She led by example through her remarkable commitment to her work, as well as her genuine kindness and generosity.

You were a trainee with San Francisco Ballet. What was that experience like?

It was an exposure to different schools of thought. We were mostly in the full-lengths, and watching run-throughs of Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote was revolutionary for me. But I was young and far away from home. That transition was hard. My body started changing. It wanted to be fleshy. Biology is cruel in that way. I desperately wanted to fit in, but it wasn't meant to be.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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Site Network
Left: Misa Kuranaga in The Veritginous Thrill of Exactitude. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet. Right: Sasha Mukhamedov in Apollo. Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet.

San Francisco Ballet just announced some major news: longtime Boston Ballet star Misa Kuranaga will be joining the company as a principal dancer for the 2019-20 season, while Dutch National Ballet principal Sasha Mukhamedov has been hired as a soloist. They join a slew of newly promoted SFB principals and soloists, announced earlier this year.

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Ballet Stars
Xiao Nan Yu in company class. Aaron Vincent, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

On June 22, National Ballet of Canada principal Xiao Nan Yu will retire from the stage after 22 years with the company. Originally from Dalian, China, Yu studied at the Shen Yang School of Dance and the Beijing Dance Academy before coming to Canada's National Ballet School at age 17. She joined the National Ballet of Canada less than two years later, and was promoted to principal in 2001.

"She is a supreme dance actress with an innate ability to bring the audience into her world," says NBoC artistic director Karen Kain. "Nan has always brought such a calm confidence into the studio and has been a role model for so many dancers I will miss her generosity both inside the studio and out." We spoke with Yu as she prepared for her final week of performances. She opened up about her initial culture shock upon moving to Toronto, her thoughts on artistry and why she chose Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow as her final role.

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