Ballet Stars

2019 Stars of the Corps: Boston Ballet's Sage Humphries

Sage Humphries and Lauren Herfindahl in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet. Liza Voll, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

Onstage, Boston Ballet artist Sage Humphries is notable for her elegant poise and liquid grace. But offstage, she's a creative whirlwind: model, singer/songwriter and talented emerging choreographer. Amidst the demands of rehearsal and performance last fall, she choreographed her first major work, a deeply personal quintet set to original music by her brother Michael and showcased on Boston Ballet's BB@home: ChoreograpHER 2018. And this past May, the company asked her to create a new work for the music festival Boston Calling. Her White, commemorating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' White Album, shared the festival spotlight with the likes of Tame Impala and Twenty One Pilots. "It was amazing to be part of that circle of artists who already had a huge fan base," she recalls. "The fact that Boston Ballet could be amongst that and get people excited about the art form was so special."


Humphries choreographing in the studio.

Brooke Trisolini, Courtesy Boston Ballet

A Youth America Grand Prix award winner, Humphries grew up in Orange County, California. Training with Dmitri Kulev landed her merit scholarships to study at American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet West, Dresden Semperoper Ballett and Ballet Munich before she joined Boston Ballet II in 2016 and the main company in 2017. At just 22, she thrives on new challenges, determined, she says, to "push forward as a dancer and choreographer and a leader in the ballet industry, a role model that's positive and uplifting to young girls."

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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