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Two New York City Ballet Principals Suspended, Another Leaves

Chase Finlay as Apollo. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

New York City Ballet will be three male principals short this season. Due to "inappropriate communications," Amar Ramasar and Zachary Catazaro have been suspended without pay until 2019, and Chase Finlay has resigned, effective immediately, according to The New York Times. (Finlay's name has already disappeared from the company roster on nycballet.com.)

A statement from the NYCB board chairman said they received a letter from someone outside of the company "alleging inappropriate communications made via personal text and email by three members of the company" that were "personal in nature." It added that the board's efforts to reach Finlay to even discuss the allegations were unsuccessful, which leads us to believe that it must have been quite a serious offense.


Either way, the swift action taken on the part of NYCB is a clear sign of the changing company culture in the post-Peter Martins era. The dancers found out about the news on Monday, a day before they were due to start rehearsals. They were sent an internal memo from Jonathan Stafford, who's leading the interim leadership team while NYCB searches for Martins' successor.

In an Instagram post liked and commented on by many of the dancers, corps member Alexa Maxwell, Ramasar's girlfriend, shared lyrics from Carousel, which Ramasar is currently performing in on Broadway until it closes September 16.

Soloist Megan LeCrone also posted on Instagram about a weathering the storm, and "helping those that have fallen":

Joaquin De Luz reposted her photo and quote, adding, "And once again those who pay the price are the artists, the audience and our art form..."

Losing three leading men at once is likely to wreak havoc on casting for the season, which opens in just three weeks. Another principal will be lost when De Luz retires in October. But the unexpected openings may give rising male stars opportunities to step up. (Roman Mejia, anyone?)

One thing is sure: There will likely only be more changes ahead as the company finds new leadership and redefines its culture.

Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet Academy

When you're looking for a ballet program to take you to the next level, there are a lot of factors to consider. While it's tempting to look for the biggest name that will accept you, the savvy dancer knows that successful training has more to do with the attention and opportunities you'll get.

We put together a few of the most important things for dancers to look for in a summer or year-round training program, with the help of the experts at Colorado Ballet Academy:

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Everything Nutcracker
Pennsylvania Ballet demi-soloist Thays Golz as the Sugar Plum Fairy during a stage rehearsal for George Balanchine's Nutcracker. All photography by Arian Molina Soca.

For many professional ballet dancers, Nutcracker means weeks of performances. That usually translates to multiple casts—and important breakout opportunities for those in the junior ranks. On the afternoon of December 13, Pennsylvania Ballet demi-soloist Thays Golz made her debut as the Sugar Plum Fairy along with her Cavalier, corps member Austin Eylar. For the Brazilian-born dancer, who joined PAB in 2018 after two seasons at Houston Ballet, Sugar Plum marks one of her first principal roles.

"I'm really excited," says Golz. PAB artistic director Angel Corella appointed 12 casts of Sugar Plum Fairies over the run's 29 performances. "When I first found out, I was like, 'Pinch me!' I still can't believe it."

We caught up with Golz just before her debut to see how she prepared for her big break.

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Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy US Prix de Ballet

The US Prix de Ballet is taking an unconventional approach to the ballet competition—by putting the competitors' health first. After a successful first year in 2018, the Prix is returning to San Diego, CA this February with an even more comprehensive lineup of wellness workshops and master classes, in addition, of course, to the high-level competition.

Though the talent is top-notch, the environment is friendly, says HARID Conservatory faculty member Victoria Schneider, who serves on US Prix de Ballet's elite panel of judges. "The wellbeing of the dancer is the main focus," says Schneider, who awarded three scholarships to HARID at last year's competition.

US Prix de Ballet was born after its founders traveled to the Japan Grand Prix International Ballet Competition in 2016. "The company ran every aspect of the competition with professionalism, dignity, honor and precision," says founder Neisha Hernandez. "We knew we wanted this level of experience for America."

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