Joseph Gordon, pictured here in George Balanchine's Who Cares?, became New York City Ballet's newest principal this weekend. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

New York City Ballet Announces Seven Dancer Promotions

On October 13, the evening before the close of New York City Ballet's fall season and longtime principal Joaquin De Luz's retirement performance, Jonathan Stafford, the leader of the company's interim artistic team, promoted seven company dancers: six men and one woman. In addition to De Luz, NYCB lost three other principal men this fall. Chase Finlay, Zachary Catazaro and Amar Ramasar were fired last month in the midst of a scandal surrounding the sharing of sexually explicit communications. With principal Adrian Danchig-Waring out of commission while recovering from a broken foot, the company has been in need of male dancers to bolster its upper ranks.

Joseph Gordon has been promoted to principal, and Daniel Applebaum, Harrison Coll, Claire Kretzschmar, Aaron Sanz, Sebastian Villarini-Velez and Peter Walker have been promoted to soloist. All seven made a number of debuts throughout the year and shone in featured roles; we've rounded up some of their recent accomplishments below.


Joseph Gordon's promotion to principal comes hot off the heels of his rise to soloist in winter of 2017. This fall he made his debut in George Balanchine's "Diamonds" and Jerome Robbins' Afternoon of a Faun, and danced a featured role in Matthew Neenan's world premiere The Exchange for the company's fall gala.

Daniel Applebaum has been in the corps de ballet since 2005. This fall marked his debut in Balanchine's "Emeralds" as well as in a featured role in Neenan's The Exchange. In 2017, Applebaum danced the same sex romantic pas de deux in Justin Peck's beloved boundary-pushing ballet The Times Are Racing to much acclaim.

Harrison Coll has been off the stage this fall recovering from an injury, but the 2017-18 season included debuts as Romeo in Peter Martins' Romeo + Juliet and in Peck's Easy and Pulcinella Variations as well as Robbins' Fancy Free.

Kretzschmar in "The Nutcracker." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

Claire Kretzschmar, the only woman to be promoted, has been a member of the corps since 2011. She originated a featured role in Neenan's The Exchange this fall, and made her debut as the soloist woman in Balanchine's "Rubies," which she danced with multiple casts. Throughout the years she's danced a number of principal roles including the Sleepwalker in Balanchine's La Sonnambula and Sugarplum Fairy in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker.

Originally from Spain, Aaron Sanz joined the corps in 2012. During the company's fall season he originated a role in Gianna Reisen's world premiere Judah. Over the past few years he's danced featured roles in Balanchine's Chaconne and A Midsummer Night's Dream, among others.

Sebastian Villarini-Velez recently danced a featured role The Runaway, Kyle Abraham's world premiere for the fall gala. This fall also marked his NYC debut in Balanchine's Symphony in C. Last spring, Villarini-Velez danced Tybalt in Martins' Romeo + Juliet and Melancholic in Balanchine's The Four Temperaments.

Peter Walker in Balanchine's "Agon." Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB.

Peter Walker, who debuted as Tony in Robbins' West Side Story Suite as well as in Peck's Easy and Abrahams' The Runaway this fall, is also a choreographer. He's made two works for NYCB: ten in seven and dance odyssey. Like Coll, Walker made his debut as Romeo last winter.

In addition to this group, three apprentices—Jonathan Fahoury, Mira Nadon and Maxwell Read—will join the corps de ballet for the company's upcoming winter season.

A big congratulations to all!

Latest Posts


James Barkley, Courtesy Dance for Change

Take Class From Celebrated Black Dancers and Raise Money for the NAACP Through Dance for Change

Since the nationwide fight against racial inequality took center stage in May, organizations across the dance world have been looking for meaningful ways to show their support, rather than fall back on empty social media signifiers. July 10-11, Diamante Ballet Dancewear is taking action with Dance for Change, a two-day event dedicated to fundraising for the NAACP, and amplifying the voices of Black professional dancers.

Organized by Diamante Ballet Dancewear's founder, Nashville Ballet 2 dancer Isichel Perez, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre teacher Elise Gillum, Dance for Change makes it easy to participate. Dancers need only to make a donation to the NAACP (in any amount) and email proof to diamante.ballet@gmail.com to be given online access to a full schedule of Zoom master classes taught by Black pros artists. Teachers include Ballet Memphis' George Sanders, Boston Ballet's Daniel Durrett, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Corey Bourbonniere, and more. "It's important that we amplify BIPOC voices during this time, and it's also important that we're conscious of where we're putting our dollars," says Bourbonniere. "Diamante is doing both with Dance for Change, and I'm honored to be in this talented group of melanated dancers."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Houston Ballet's "Dancing With Myself" Captures How We All Feel Right Now

What are dancers to do when they're still stuck at home in isolation? After all, there's only so much time you can spend taking barre, tackling your reading list (or Netflix queue) or ticking items off your to-do list. Even wistfully looking out the window has lost its appeal after a few months.

That's when you need a dance party—even it's for a party of one.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

"Our Studio Is Failing Its Students of Color": One Dancer's Experience of Racism and Microaggressions

I recently spent a Saturday night with my husband and my 17-year-old dancing daughter, who sobbed at the foot of our bed. My daughter revealed her experiences with implicit bias and overt racism in school, and especially in the dance studio.

For six years, she has danced at a classical ballet school tied to the city's ballet company. The previous six years were spent at a mid-sized recreational/competition studio. I want to recount a few examples of the racism that my daughter shared that night.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks