Ballet Stars
Cirio in English National Ballet's "Manon." Photo by Laurent Liotardo, courtesy English National Ballet.

Jeffrey Cirio's meteoric rise is what dreams are made of. A Pennsylvania native, he joined Boston Ballet in 2009 and quickly rose up the ranks to principal dancer by 2012. While he felt Boston was "home," he left to join American Ballet Theatre as a soloist in 2015, where he was promoted to principal after only one year. Now, after a four-month stint as a guest artist with English National Ballet last season, this all-American boy has joined the company as a full-time lead principal. It's hard to believe he's only 27.

Just a day after his performance as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake with Alina Cojocaru last month, Cirio sat down with Pointe to give an update on his new life living and working in London.

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Cirio (center) in Marcelo Gomes' "AfterEffect." Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.

Well, that was fast. After less than a year, Jeffrey Cirio — the former Boston Ballet principal who joined American Ballet Theatre as a soloist at the start of this season—is walking into summer with a promotion to ABT's highest rank. The company now has two Filipino-American principals, the other being Stella Abrera.

We're not surprised. Twenty-five years old and already a consummate artist, Cirio impressed in roles all season, like Colas in La fille mal gardée, one of the King's unlucky sons in The Golden Cockerel and the virtuosic slave Ali in Le Corsaire. Cirio's ambitions extend beyond the Met stage, too. He's the leader of his own touring troupe, Cirio Collective, which has performances scheduled at the Cape Dance Festival and Vineyard Arts Project this summer.

Artistic director Kevin McKenzie also announced corps member Blaine Hoven's promotion to soloist. These two well deserving male dancers are sure to have a spring in their step this holiday weekend!

Jeffery Cirio, Boston Ballet principal, in company class. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

Jeffrey Cirio is a busy guy. In addition to his career as a principal dancer at Boston Ballet, he's an emerging choreographer who also manages his own dance troupe: Cirio Collective. In May, Boston Ballet will debut Cirio's first piece choreographed for the Boston Opera House stage. Pointe spoke to him before the premiere.

What is your choreographic process like?

I always start with music because, for me, choreography is just an extension of the music. I want to work with people who are uninhibited, so that things can evolve during rehearsal. For this piece, I challenged myself to limit pre-planned ideas so I could discover things in the studio with the dancers.

Is it difficult to be in charge of a room of your peers?

There's mutual respect among my colleagues. We have fun, but they know when it's time to be serious—so I never have to "take charge." We work together.

What can we expect from your premiere?

The choreography is set to music by Chopin, John Field and something more abstract. It's definitely not a literal piece, and it's less balletic than what I've done before—it's grittier.

Which choreographers have had a major influence on your work?

I've had the opportunity to work with many different people, like Wayne McGregor, Alexander Ekman, William Forsythe and Boston Ballet's resident choreographer Jorma Elo. I have the utmost respect for Jirí Kylián, and Helen Pickett has given me great advice. They've taught me to be unafraid.

How do you balance your role as choreographer with your career as a principal dancer?

It can be very stressful at times, especially when I'm dancing in the same program as one of my own pieces. I keep saying I'll take a break, but I guess I don't know how! I feel like it's my duty to contribute to the dance community, and that keeps me motivated.

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