Big ballet news today! American Ballet Theatre just announced a transatlantic "dancer exchange."
OK, yes, when I first heard that, I started hyperventilating a little. Were any of my darling ABT people going to be, uh, "traded" to some European team?
But fear not: This exchange is for a few guest performances only, giving audiences on both sides of the Atlantic a taste of world-class dancers they may have never seen before.
Here's how it's going to go down:
This June, Royal Ballet principal dancer Steven McRae will perform as Lankendem in ABT's Le Corsaire, and this July, Royal Danish Ballet principal Alban Lendorf (he's AMAZING, guys) will dance Prince Désiré in ABT's Sleeping Beauty. That's round one.
Then for round two, in December, ABT will send principal Cory Stearns to the Royal Ballet and soloist Isabella Boylston (one of our favorites!) to the Royal Danish Ballet, to dance in their respective Nutcrackers.
Anyway, sounds pretty nifty, right? And if you're not familiar with any of these great dancers, check out our slideshow below!
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Unless you've been living in some strange internet-less hole, you probably already know that yesterday was a HUGE day for the ballet world. American Ballet Theatre announced seven (count 'em!) promotions—and one of them was the extraordinary Misty Copeland, who's now the company's first African-American female principal.
From Copeland's epic Under Armour campaign—she willed what she wanted.
The crowd—and by crowd I mean mainstream press, as well as dance fans everywhere—went WILD.
Copeland got social media shoutouts from (almost literally) everyone, including Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Taye Diggs and Laverne Cox.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 30, 2015
Brava! Yay! And Hallelujah to you @mistyonpointe . Beaming with pride at your magnificent achievement as Principal Dancer ABT?????? — Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) July 1, 2015
All hail the Queen. My "sister" Misty Copeland was just promoted to Principal dancer with ABT!! An amazing day for dancers and chocolates...
— Taye Diggs (@TayeDiggs) June 30, 2015
Tears of joy. Congrats @mistyonpointe on your promotion to principal dancer at #ABT #inspiration #historymakers http://t.co/L1QM7l2QvT — Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) June 30, 2015
She was a trending topic on Twitter and a front-page story in the New York Times.
All of this is so, so well-deserved. Copeland has been an incredible force both onstage and offstage during her decade and a half with ABT. She is a genuine celebrity, yes, but also a true and wonderful artist. She's worked unbelievably hard—and now she's made history.
But let's not forget about the other dancers currently celebrating over at ABT—especially the gorgeous and long-overlooked Stella Abrera, who was also made a principal yesterday after spending 14 years as a soloist.
Abrera as Gamzatti in La Bayadère (© NYC Dance Project)
Not only audience members but also company dancers have been hoping for this promotion for ages. Because the members of ABT love, love, love Stella. Just look at this video Abrera's good friend Julie Kent captured of the ABT dancers reacting to Abrera's promotion:
A video posted by Julie Kent (@juliekentofficial) on
There are a lot of newly christened soloists, too: Skylar Brandt, Thomas Forster, Luciana Paris, Arron Scott and Cassandra Trenary all earned the title yesterday. We're especially excited about Brandt and Trenary, rising stars we've been following since they joined the company in 2011. (And how cute is this: Brandt and Scott are dating. A bf–gf promotion! D'awww.)
And as if that weren't enough, ABT also announced that the fantastic Maria Kochetkova of San Francisco Ballet and the dashing Alban Lendorf of the Royal Danish Ballet will join as principal dancers, while Boston Ballet firebrand Jeffrey Cirio will come onboard as a soloist. These are all artists we can't get enough of—we're really looking forward to seeing more of them at ABT. (SFB and RDB fans, fear not: Kochetkova and Lendorf will continue to dance with their respective home companies.)
Congrats all around! What a wonderful week it's been.