Earlier this week, San Francisco Ballet released a statement that Mikhailovsky Ballet first soloist Julian MacKay will be joining the company as a principal dancer for its 2021 season. This news follows SFB's announcement from April noting several company promotions, including three dancers to the rank of principal; Wona Park and Max Cauthorn were promoted within the company, and Nikisha Fogo will join from Vienna State Ballet, where she is currently a first soloist. Considering that SFB's 2021 roster has already been released, the news of MacKay's appointment comes as something of a surprise.
A native of Montana, at just 22 years old MacKay's career has been marked by swift progress, most of it taking place in Russia. He is known for being the youngest American to graduate from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, completing the upper division in 2015 at age 17 and becoming fluent in Russian. Following his training, MacKay made his professional debut as Siegfried with the Russian State Ballet in Berlin. He later won the Prix de Lausanne, and spent a year as an apprentice with The Royal Ballet. Since joining the St. Petersburg-based Mikhailovsky Ballet in 2016, his repertoire has included leading roles in ballets like Giselle, La Sylphide, Flames of Paris and Cinderella. In 2018, MacKay was a competitor on the Russian television show Big Ballet.
MacKay shared the news in a recent Instagram post, describing his excitement in joining SFB and thanking Tomasson for the opportunity.