Newly promoted Pennsylvania Ballet principal Zecheng Liang in Balanchine's Apollo. Arian Molina Soca, courtesy PAB.

Pennsylvania Ballet Changes Its Ranking System, Promoting a Slew of Dancers

Pennsylvania Ballet announced next season's roster yesterday, and it includes 20—yes, 20—promotions. How, you ask? Artistic director Angel Corella has updated the ranking system, adding demi-soloist and first soloist levels to the mix. PAB now joins a handful of other U.S. companies, including Miami City Ballet, Houston Ballet, Ballet West and Tulsa Ballet, that have adopted a more European-style, multi-tiered ranking system. So while four PAB apprentices have been promoted to the corps, an abundance of corps and soloist dancers have also risen up a notch (or two).


That includes Zecheng Liang, who has just been named principal dancer. Born in China, Liang trained at the prestigious Guangzhou Art School before moving to the U.S. in 2010 to join Houston Ballet II, and later the main company. He joined Pennsylvania Ballet's corps in 2017 and was swiftly promoted to soloist the following season. Since joining PAB he's danced principal roles in Giselle, Theme and Variations and Swan Lake, among others. Liang fills in the top spot left open by longtime principal Ian Hussey, who retired from the company last weekend.

Yuka Iseda, shown here in Giselle, has been promoted to first soloist. Arian Molina Soca, courtesy PAB.

Three soloists, Yuka Iseda, Nayara Lopes and Albert Gordon, all of whom joined PAB in 2016, have been promoted to first soloist. Meanwhile, there's been lots of movement within the corps de ballet: Kathryn Manger, Peter Weil and Ashton Roxander have risen to soloist, while six other dancers—Etienne Diaz, Sydney Dolan, Russell Ducker, Thays Golz, Alexandra Heier and So Jung Shin—have been promoted to demi-soloist. Apprentices Cassidy McAndrew, Julie-Rose Sherrill, Cato Berry and Pau Pujol will move into the corps de ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet II members Lucia Erickson, Cory Ogdahl and Santiago Paniagua join as apprentices. (Whew!) Congratulations to all!



Latest Posts


Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Alexandra McMaster

Start Your Dance Day With This Delicious Berry Breakfast Crisp Recipe

When it comes to breakfast, I want it to be easy and convenient but still taste delicious. My Berry Breakfast Crisp is just that. You can bake the crisp on the weekend as meal prep, then enjoy it throughout the week cold or warmed in the microwave. It freezes well, too!

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Liam Scarlett with Marianela Nuñez and Ryoichi Hirano during a rehearsal of his Swan Lake at The Royal Ballet. Andrej Uspenski, Courtesy ROH

Choreographer Liam Scarlett Has Died

Over the weekend, news broke that 35-year-old choreographer Liam Scarlett, a former artist in residence at The Royal Ballet, died suddenly at his home in England. "It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic, untimely death of our beloved Liam," Scarlett's family said in a brief statement. "At this difficult time for all of our family, we would ask that you respect our privacy to enable us to grieve our loss."

The cause of death was not disclosed.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks