As companies’ performance seasons wrap up, news of who’s leaving, joining and rising through the ranks has been landing in our inboxes here at Pointe. In recent weeks, we’ve noted the massive roster changes at Pennsylvania Ballet and Julie Kent’s new hires at The Washington Ballet, as well as the promotions of two 2015 Pointe cover stars: Miami City Ballet’s Nathalia Arja (to principal soloist) and New York City Ballet’s Taylor Stanley (now a principal). On Monday, San Francisco Ballet announced its 2016-17 roster, and it looks exciting. Here’s a summary:
As many of you know, SFB said goodbye to three beloved male principals this season. So far, it looks like only two have been replaced. Carlo Di Lanno, who joined SFB as a soloist in 2014, has been promoted to principal dancer. Houston Ballet first soloist Aaron Robison joins SFB as a principal.
Julia Rowe, shown here with Daniel Deivison-Oliveira, has been promoted to soloist. Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.
Four corps de ballet members have joined the soloists ranks: Julia Rowe (a 2014 Pointe “Star of the Corps”), Francisco Mungamba, Wei Wang and Wan Ting Zhao. La Scala Ballet corps member Angelo Greco also joins as a soloist. SFB apprentice Blake Kessler has been elevated to the corps; other new members include Natasha Sheehan and longtime Pennsylvania Ballet dancer Elizabeth Mateer. And three cheers for five SF Ballet School trainees: Alexandre Cagnat, Shené Lazarus, Davide Occhipinti, Nathaniel Remez and Isabella Walsh are now apprentices.
Scarlett rehearses Fearful Symmetries with SFB principals Yuan Yuan Tan and Carlo Di Lanno. Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.
Royal Ballet artist in residence Liam Scarlett is noted for the psychological themes of his one-act ballets, like 2014's The Age of Anxiety. On May 4, he pushed those themes further with the premiere of Frankenstein—his first full-length work for The Royal Ballet's main stage. Frankenstein marks a first-time collaboration between Scarlett and composer Lowell Liebermann, and is co-produced with San Francisco Ballet, which will give the U.S. premiere in 2017. Pointe spoke with the choreographer about his process and why he thinks Mary Shelley's novel is “perfection in literature."
Why were you drawn to Frankenstein?
I first read Frankenstein as a child. Now, it's less a tale of gothic horror and more a story of love: innocent love, the lack of love for oneself, betrayed and jealous love, and the desperate need to be loved by another. Every great story ballet has love at its center.
From left: Yury Yanowsky, Hannah Fischer and Carlo Di Lanno. Photo by Bruce Zinger, Courtesy NBOC
National Ballet of Canada corps member Hannah Fischer, 20, and San Francisco Ballet soloist Carlo Di Lanno, 22, were announced the winners of the prestigious Erik Bruhn Prize on Tuesday night. Recently retired Boston Ballet principal Yuri Yanowsky won the choreographic prize for his work District.
Five couples and choreographers representing five companies (Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet, Hamburg Ballet and NBOC) competed for the award at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. Each pair was selected to compete by their artistic directors and performed a classical pas de deux and variation, as well as a specially commissioned contemporary work. Fischer and Di Lanno each won a cash prize of $7,500; Yanowsky won $2,000. All three also received a sculpture by Jack Culiner.
The late Erik Bruhn, one of the most acclaimed male dancers of the 20th century, willed part of his estate to establish the prize upon his death. Given to one male and one female dancer between the ages of 18 and 23, the award, Bruhn said, reflects “such technical ability, artistic achievement and dedication as I endeavored to bring to dance." The Choreographic prize was added in 2009. If past winners are any indication, Fischer, Di Lanno and Yanowsky have bright futures ahead.