Bravo to These 8 Hardworking Ballet Dads

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.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

How Can I Stay Motivated While Training at Home?

Ethan Ahuero was having a good year: he was in his first season dancing with Kansas City Ballet II and had been presented with the opportunity to choreograph on the second company. "The day before we shut down I had a rehearsal, and I was so happy," Ahuero says. "The piece was coming together and this was the first time I felt really proud of my creative process."

Suddenly, the coronavirus pandemic brought everything to a halt. With the company's season cut short and the studios closed, Ahuero found himself attempting to continue dancing from home, with his choreography project put on hold. Like many other dancers around the world, Ahuero is dealing with disappointment while struggling to stay motivated.

Keeping up with daily ballet classes may feel difficult right now; inspiration can seem hard to come by when you're following along on Zoom and short on space at home. Below are a few simple tips for finding new ways to stay motivated.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
THE GINGERB3ARDMEN, Courtesy Complexions Contemporary Ballet

How Jillian Davis Created Her Own Path to Complexions and Learned to Believe in Herself

It's impossible to miss Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Jillian Davis onstage. Tall and glamorous, her commanding stage presence, luxurious movement quality and intuitive musicality have made her one of the company's standout stars. But her road to Complexions was anything but linear. The 6'2" dancer worked tirelessly over several years to find her place in the dance world, ultimately reinventing herself and creating her own path to success. At a time when many early career dancers may be facing uncertainty, her story shows the power of resiliency.

Davis grew up on a dairy farm in Kutzstown, Pennsylvania, where she studied dance at a local studio and in the Philadelphia area, and took private lessons at home. She also started growing, shooting up seven inches over one summer. At 13, she and her family decided to take her daily training up a notch, commuting 100 miles each way to the Princeton Dance & Theater Studio, where she studied under Risa Kaplowitz and Susan Jaffe. By then she was already 5'7", and she soon realized—especially as she started learning how to partner—that her height might be an issue if she wanted to dance ballet professionally.

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 5/21/2020

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