Nikisha Fogo, joining SFB as a principal from Vienna State Ballet, in Manuel Legris' Le Corsaire.

Ashley Taylor, Courtesy SFB

San Francisco Ballet Announces 2021 Promotions, Including 3 New Principals

Promotions season is officially underway. Though ballet companies worldwide are shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, they're still looking toward the future, and updating their rosters accordingly. Last night, San Francisco Ballet joined the ranks of Boston Ballet and Ballet West in announcing promotions for the 2021 season. The list includes 11 promotions, two new company members and six apprentices, including three new principals.

Congratulations to all! Read on for more on these rising dancers.


Wona Park - Principal

Wona Park, smiling in a ranvers\u00e9 onstage, wearing an orange tutu and gold crown.

Wona Park in Helgi Tomasson's The Sleeping Beauty

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

Wona Park has made a meteoric rise through San Francisco Ballet's ranks. After joining the company as a member of the corps de ballet in 2017, she was promoted to soloist in 2018. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Park studied at the Sunhwa Arts School before moving to San Francisco to continue her training at SF Ballet School and in the SF Ballet School Trainee Program. In recent seasons, Park has shone as Kitri, Aurora, the Lead Butterfly in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and in principals roles in Edwaard Liang's The Infinite Ocean and Victor Gsovsky's Grand Pas Classique.

Max Cauthorn - Principal

Cauthorn in all white kneels onstage with his arms int he air. Ballerinas dressed in white stand in a fourth position on either side of him.

Max Cauthorn in Harald Lander's Etudes

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

San Francisco Ballet's second newly promoted principal is Max Cauthorn. A San Francisco native, Cauthorn is a born and bred SFB dancer: He trained at SF Ballet School and was an SF Ballet School Trainee before joining the company as an apprentice in 2013. He was promoted to the corps de ballet the following year, and then to soloist in 2017. Recently, Cauthorn has taken on roles like Oberon in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream and ballets including Mark Morris' Sandpaper Ballet, Edwaard Liang's The Infinite Ocean, Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella and August Bournonville's The Jockey Dance.

Nikisha Fogo - Principal

Fogo, in a blue military bodice and yellow tutu, jumps in the air with both toes pointed.

Nikisha Fogo in George Balanchine's Stars & Stripes

Ashley Taylor, Courtesy SFB

Nikisha Fogo is a San Francisco Ballet newcomer. A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Fogo joins the company from Vienna State Ballet, where she is currently a first soloist. "She has everything I look for in a principal dancer—strong and versatile technique to excel in the classical and contemporary repertoire, beautiful musicality and a profound desire to dance," says artistic director Helgi Tomasson. Fogo's training took place at Kungliga Svenska Balettskolan and the Royal Ballet School in London. Her current repertoire includes principal roles in Manuel Legris' Sylvia, Pierre Lacotte's Coppélia and Rudolf Nureyev's Don Quixote, as well as roles in ballets by George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor and more.

Ellen Rose Hummel - Soloist

Ellen Rose Hummel in an orange peasant dress, white blouse and heeled shoes, jumps in the air with her hands flexed and dark hair loose.

Ellen Rose Hummel in Helgi Tomasson's Romeo & Juliet

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

Greenvile, South Carolina-born Ellen Rose Hummel studied at North Carolina Dance Theatre before joining the SF Ballet School and SF Ballet School Trainee Program. Hummel became an apprentice in 2011, and was promoted to the corps de ballet in 2012. In the 2020 season, which was unfortunately cut short by COVID-19 closures, Hummel danced one of the stepsisters in Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella and in Harald Lander's Etudes, Mark Morris' Sandpaper Ballet and Stanton Welch's Bespoke. In 2019, she took on the role of the Fairy of Courage in Helgi Tomasson's The Sleeping Beauty. Fun fact: Hummel was one of Pointe's Stars of the Corps in 2015.

Diego Cruz - Soloist

Diego Crus, in a red and purple unitard, leaps with both legs in attitude and his arms sloping down.

Diego Cruz in Alexei Ratmansky's Piano Concert #1

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

Newly promoted soloist Diego Cruz joined the company as a member of the corps de ballet in 2006. Originally from Zaragoza, Spain, Cruz has originated roles in ballets including William Forsythe's Pas/Parts 2016, Justin Peck's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, Arthur Pita's Björk Ballet, Yuri Possokhov's "...two united in a single soul...", Myles Thatcher's Ghost in the Machine and Helgi Tomasson's Caprice. Last year, we profiled Paellas & Cos, the paella catering company that Cruz runs with former SFB dancer Rubén Martín Cintas.

Lucas Erni - Soloist

Erni leaps high in the air with one leg in pass\u00e9 in an orange and black jester like outfit, while dancers dressed as peasants around him look on in shock.

Lucas Erni in Helgi Tomasson's Romeo & Juliet

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

A native of Santo Tomé, Argentina, Lucas Erni danced with Sarasota Ballet and National Ballet of Uruguay before joining San Francisco Ballet as a corps dancer in 2018. During the 2020 season, Erni took on the role of Bottom in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream. For Erni, highlights from the previous season include Bluebird, Puss in Boots and the polonaise in Helgi Tomasson's The Sleeping Beauty, and Mercutio in Tomasson's Romeo & Juliet.

Myles Thatcher - Soloist

On a dark stage, Thatcher, dressed in a black suite, holds Stahl, dressed in a blue and black dress, as she stands on pointe in a wide fourth position and leans back.

Myles Thatcher with SFB principal Jennifer Stahl in Val Caniparoli's Ibsen's House

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Myles Thatcher trained at The Harid Conservatory and Ellison Ballet before moving to the SF Ballet School and SF Ballet School Trainee Program. He became an apprentice in 2009 and a member of the corps de ballet in 2010. In addition to dancing in a slew of ballets at SFB, Thatcher has an extensive choreographic career. He's created works for the Joffrey Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, SFB and others, and in 2014-15 was chosen as a Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative artist to be mentored by Alexei Ratmansky. His choreography has also been nominated for two Isadora Duncan Dance Awards.

6 New Corps de Ballet Members

Five San Francisco Ballet apprentices—SunMin Lee, Tyla Steinbach, Rubén Cítores, Lleyton Ho and Adrian Zeisel—are being promoted to the corps de ballet. The company also welcomes new corps de ballet member Luca Ferrò, joining the company from the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco.

6 New Apprentices

Six San Francisco Ballet School Trainees—Alexis Aiudi, Olivia Brothers, Pemberley Ann Olson, Andris Kundzins, Gregory Myles and Alexis Valdes—will become apprentices for the 2021 season.

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Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

2020 Stars of the Corps: 10 Dancers Making Strides In and Out of the Spotlight

The corps de ballet make up the backbone of every company. In our Fall 2020 issue, we highlighted 10 ensemble standouts to keep your eye on. Click on their names to learn more!

Dara Holmes, Joffrey Ballet

A male dancer catches a female dancer in his right arm as she wraps her left arm around his shoulder and executes a high arabesque on pointe. Both wear white costumes and dance in front of a blue backdrop onstage.

Dara Holmes and Edson Barbosa in Myles Thatcher's Body of Your Dreams

Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

Wanyue Qiao, American Ballet Theatre

Wearing a powder blue tutu, cropped light yellow top and feather tiara, Wanyue Qiao does a piqu\u00e9 retir\u00e9 on pointe on her left leg and pulls her right arm in towards her.

Wanyue Qiao as an Odalisque in Konstantin Sergeyev's Le Corsaire

Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson, Houston Ballet

Three male dancers in tight-fitting, multicolored costumes stand in positions of ascending height from left to right. All extend their right arms out in front of them.

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson (far right) with Saul Newport and Austen Acevedo in Oliver Halkowich's Following

Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

Leah McFadden, Colorado Ballet

Wearing a white pixie wig and a short light-pink tunic costume, a female ballet dancer poses in attitude front on pointe with her left arm bent across her ribs and her right hand held below her chin.

Leah McFadden as Amour in Colorado Ballet's production of Don Quixote

Mike Watson, Courtesy Colorado Ballet

Maria Coelho, Tulsa Ballet

Maria Coelho and Sasha Chernjavsky in Andy Blankenbuehler's Remember Our Song

Kate Lubar, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

Alexander Reneff-Olson, San Francisco Ballet

A ballerina in a black feathered tutu stands triumphantly in sous-sus, holding the hand of a male dancer in a dark cloak with feathers underneath who raises his left hand in the air.

Alexander Reneff-Olson (right) as Von Rothbart with San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan in Swan Lake

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

India Bradley, New York City Ballet

Wearing a blue dance dress with rhinestone embellishments and a sparkly tiara, India Bradley finishes a move with her arms out to the side and hands slightly flexed.

India Bradley practices backstage before a performance of Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2.

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

Bella Ureta, Cincinnati Ballet

Wearing a white dress with pink corset, Bella Ureta does a first arabesque on pointe in front of an onstage stone wall.

Bella Ureta performs the Act I Pas de Trois in Kirk Peterson's Swan Lake

Hiromi Platt, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

Alejándro Gonzales, Oklahoma City Ballet

Dressed in a green bell-boy costume and hat, Alejandro Gonz\u00e1lez does a saut\u00e9 with his left leg in retir\u00e9 and his arms in a long diagonal from right to left. Other dancers in late 19-century period costumes watch him around the stage.

Alejandro González in Michael Pink's Dracula at Oklahoma City Ballet.

Kate Luber, Courtesy Oklahoma City Ballet

Nina Fernandes, Miami City Ballet

Wearing a long white tutu and crown, Nina Fernandes does a saut de chat in front of a wintery backdrop as snow falls from the top of the stage.

Nina Fernandes in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Miami City Ballet

Quinn Wharton

Pacific Northwest Ballet's Angelica Generosa Shares Her Classic, Comfy Style In and Out of the Studio

"I love the feeling and look of effortless fashion," says Angelica Generosa. Preferring a classic style, the Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist keeps her wardrobe stocked with blazers. But they serve a practical purpose, too. "It tends to get chilly in Seattle, so it's the perfect accessory for layering," Generosa explains.

She's also quite fond of designer handbags. "They're my go-to accessory, and they're also my weakness when shopping," she says, naming Chloé, Chanel and Dior as some of her favorite brands. "I really appreciate the craftsmanship it takes to produce one—they're so beautiful and each has its own story, in a way."

In the studio, Generosa prioritizes comfort, and she'll change up her look depending on the repertoire (leotards and tutus for classical works, breathable shirts with workout pants for contemporary). But she always arrives to work in style. "I really love putting together outfits for even just going to the studio," she says. "It's another way of expressing my mood and what kind of vibe I'm going for that day."

The Details: Street

Angelica Generosa, wearing a blue blazer, white blouse and gray jeans, is photographed from underneath as she walks and looks to the right.

Quinn Wharton

BCBG blazer: "It has some shoulder pads and a really cool pattern," says Generosa. "It reminds me of my mom and '80s fashion."

Zara blouse: She incorporate neutrals, like this white satin button-up, to balance bright pops of colors.

Angelica Generosa looks off to her right in front of a glass-windowed building. She wears a blue blazer, white blouse, gray jeans and carries a small green handbag.

Quinn Wharton

Madewell jeans: Comfort is a major factor for Generosa, who gets her fashion inspiration from her mom, friends and people she comes across day to day.

Chloé bag: "I tend to have smaller purses because I'm quite small. Bigger bags overwhelm me sometimes—unless it's my dance bag, of course!"

The Details: Studio

Angleica Generosa, wearing a blue tank leotard, black wool leggings and pink pointe shoes, balances in a lunge on pointe with her left leg in front, facing a wall of windows.

Quinn Wharton

Label Dancewear leotard: "This was designed by my good friend Elizabeth Murphy, a principal dancer here at PNB. Her leotards always fit me really well."

Mirella leggings: "I get cold easily," says Generosa, who wears leggings and vests to stay warm throughout the day.

Angelica Generosa, wearing a blue tank leotard, black wool tights and pink pointe shoes, jumps and crosses her right foot over her left shin while lifting her arms up to the right.

Quinn Wharton

Freed of London pointe shoes: "When sewing them, I crisscross my elastics and use an elasticized ribbon from Body Wrappers," which helps alleviate Achilles tendon issues, she says. She then trims the satin off of the tip of the shoe. "Then I bend the shank a bit to loosen it up and cut a bit off where my arch is."

Getty Images

This New "Nutcracker" Competition Wants Your Dance Studio to be Part of a Virtual Collaboration

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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