Gisele Bethea just received an apprentice contract. She's pictured here at the 2014 USA IBC. Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe.

New Executive, School Leadership and Dancer Promotions at ABT

American Ballet Theatre is starting 2016 with a bang, with a slew of new leadership announcements and exciting promotions among the lower ranks. Yesterday, ABT officially named Kara Medoff Barnett as its new executive director—and while she's only 37, the company looks like it will be in very skilled hands. Barnett, who grew up studying ballet before college, not only has a Harvard MBA, but she also won a 2003 Tony award as associate producer of Broadway's A Long Day's Journey Into Night. She joins ABT after serving as managing director of Lincoln Center International.


Barnett isn't the only woman on top. Last week, the company announced that former ABT principal Cynthia Harvey will succeed Franco De Vita in May as artistic director of ABT's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. For those of us who grew up in the `80s and `90s, Harvey was one of two formidable “Cynthias" in ABT's star ranks (the other being Cynthia Gregory). My dance studio had a well-worn and well-loved VHS recording of her and Mikhail Baryshnikov in Don Quixote, and I feel compelled to share a snippet here:

Harvey spent the last several years teaching and coaching overseas, and formed the En Avant Foundation (a nonprofit foundation for mentoring and coaching gifted ballet dancers) in 2014. Luckily, De Vita, who retires in April, is not going far—he told The New York Times he will likely continue teaching at the school.

And finally, the company just promoted five young women we should all keep an eye on. Hanna Bass and Wan Yue Qiao have been promoted from apprentice to the corps de ballet, while Studio Company members Remy Young, Erica Lall and Gisele Bethea (who we featured in our October/November 2014 issue) have received apprentice contracts. Congratulations, everyone!

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Jayme Thornton

Roman Mejia Is Carving His Own Path at New York City Ballet

In a brightly lit studio high above the busy Manhattan streets, Roman Mejia rehearses George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante. Though just 20, the New York City Ballet corps dancer exudes an easy confidence. Practicing a tricky sequence of triple pirouettes into double tours his breathing becomes labored, but his focus doesn't waver. He works until he finds the music's inherent rhythm, timing his turns evenly and finally landing them with a satisfied smile.

Since joining NYCB in 2017, Mejia has had the chance to take on ballets ranging from Romeo + Juliet to Fancy Free to Kyle Abraham's hip-hop–infused The Runaway. Though he often finds himself the youngest person in the room, Mejia is rarely intimidated. He's been immersed in ballet since birth. His father, Paul Mejia, danced with NYCB in the 1960s, and his mother, Maria Terezia Balogh, danced for Chicago City Ballet and Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet. Both of Mejia's parents and his grandmother attended the School of American Ballet. Now, Mejia is quickly building on his family's legacy, creating buzz with his shot-from-a-cannon energy, rapid-fire footwork and charismatic charm.

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi Everyone,

These are challenging times. The social distancing measures brought about by COVID-19 has likely meant that your regular ballet training has been interrupted, while your performances, competitions—even auditions—have been cancelled. You may be feeling anxious about what the future holds, not only for you but for the dance industry. And that's perfectly understandable.

As you adjust to taking virtual ballet class from your living rooms, we here at Pointe are adjusting to working remotely from our living rooms. We've had to get a little creative, especially as we put our Summer Issue together, but like you we're taking full advantage of modern technology. Sure, it's a little inconvenient sometimes, but we're finding our groove.

And we know that you will, too. We've been utterly inspired by how the dance community has rallied together, from ballet stars giving online classes to companies streaming their performances to the flood of artist resources popping up. We've loved watching you dance from your kitchens. And we want to help keep this spirit alive. That's why Pointe and all of our Dance Media sister publications are working nonstop to produce and cross-post stories to help you navigate this crisis. We're all in this together.

We also want to hear from you! Send us a message on social media, or email me directly at abrandt@dancemedia.com. Tell us how you're doing, send us your ideas and show us your dance moves. Let the collective love we share for our beloved art form spark the light at the end of the tunnel—we will come out the other side soon enough.

Best wishes,

Amy

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

Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

As 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.

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