On the Side: Jeffrey Cirio

“You don’t know what you’re capable of as a dancer until you explore different styles.”Jeffrey Cirio

 

Boston Ballet principal Jeffrey Cirio got hooked on hip hop early. “I went to a Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet summer program when I was 11, and I thought the hip-hop classes were the coolest thing ever,” he says. “The teacher started working with me on the side, helping me with whatever I wanted to do. I was crazy about it.”


Today, Cirio stops at Steps on Broadway to take a hip-hop class whenever he’s in New York. But his most frequent teacher is actually his good friend James Whiteside, a former BB principal (and current American Ballet Theatre soloist) who’s also a hip-hop fiend. “James likes to get me and a few of the other Boston Ballet guys together and give us a sort of jazz fusion hip-hop class,” Cirio says. “We rock out.”


Thanks to his hip-hop expertise, Cirio has no problem navigating the quirky upper body isolations in BB resident choreographer Jorma Elo’s works. But Cirio also credits his early exposure to hip hop as a mind-opening experience that made him start thinking about who he was as a dancer. “I often help young kids prepare for competitions like Youth America Grand Prix, and I’m always telling them to try out different dance classes,” he says. “Ballet is very square and strict. Something like hip hop will give you the freedom to figure out what your body can do, and what your unique style is.”

Latest Posts


Margo Moritz, Courtesy Alonzo King LINES Ballet

How Adult Students Can Prep for a Safe Return to the Studio

After a year (or more) of virtual classes, it's finally time to unplug and head back to the studio.

Exciting? Absolutely. A little scary? Definitely.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Feeling Unchallenged? Here’s How to Advocate for Advancement in Your Company

You're performing well year after year, but you're still not being cast in larger roles. Your work ethic and technique are strong, but, for some reason, your director hasn't approached you about advancing in the company. Many dancers face this very dilemma—they're ready for a new challenge, but featured roles or a promotion don't seem to be on the horizon.

When opportunity doesn't knock first, it may be time to approach the door and do some knocking of your own. "I've been having those conversations with my director since I joined, which is rare," says Amanda Morgan, a fifth-year corps de ballet dancer at Pacific Northwest Ballet. She believes directors are waiting for dancers to advocate for themselves. If you're wondering how you can be more proactive, here are a few questions to help prompt your preparation.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Katie Ging Photography, Courtesy Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh

Why This School Decided to Hold Its "Nutcracker" in June

A growing Christmas tree. Angels and mice. Flowers and a sugarplum. Snow. Last week, the curtain rose on a festive performance of The Nutcracker…in June?

The pandemic has brought all sorts of odd workarounds for dance studios, from virtual classes to outdoor performances. But when COVID-19 threatened Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh's annual Nutcracker, the school decided to make an especially bold pivot: to hold it in early June, when most schools are doing their end-of-year summer recitals.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks