Taylor Stanley circa 2010 (Photo by Erin Baiano)

Last night Taylor Stanley, one of our favorite leading men, was promoted to the rank of principal dancer at New York City Ballet. A sudden cast change catapulted Stanley into an unexpected performance of Peter Martins' Hallelujah Junction, and he was informed of the promotion right before stepping onstage. (Side note: How dreams-come-true is that scenario?!)

We've loved watching Stanley since day one, when he performed at the 2009 School of American Ballet workshop in Stars and Stripes—a performance NYC dance nerds still talk about. We singled him out when he was an apprentice (along with fellow principal Lauren Lovette—we sure know how to pick 'em!), and our 2010 cover story noted that he had recently been thrown on, last-minute, into Jerome Robbins' Opus Jazz. Notice a pattern?

It's not just Stanley's ability to keep it cool under pressure that's helped him skyrocket through the NYCB ranks. He's elegant and refined—qualities that many male ballet dancers fail to cultivate in favor of bravura tricks. Rather than attacking his choreography, Stanley floats through it with perfect control.

Here, he talks about the expressiveness of the male solo in George Balanchine's Square Dance:

 

Stanley has also become something of a muse to resident choreographer Justin Peck. When Pointe, one of our sister magazines, put Stanley on its August/September 2015 cover, it had been less than a year since his breathtaking premiere in Peck's 'Rōdē,ō: Four Dance Episodes. Here, the two talk about the ballet and what it's like for male dancers in the company to partner each other in new ways:

In addition to being a muse and having the paper of record talk about how chill he is, Stanley works with NYCB corps member and choreographer Troy Schumacher's company BalletCollective, spent last summer taking classes at Nederlands Dans Theater's summer intensive and has been spotted around NYC in Gaga classes (True life: One time, I stood next to him in a Gaga class!). He's clearly hit his stride and is on his way to becoming a complete danseur.

Congrats, Taylor, for finding your place at the top!

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