As old as the world of ballet is there would be no progression in any art if there are no new faces to the old scene. With that in mind we thought it would be interesting to see who is considered the most up-and-coming faces, and feet in the world wide arena of ballet dancing.
With that in mind, here we go with a list of the new ballet dancers and already stars to grace the genre with their talents.
1. Whitney Jensen
Born in Utah this new ballerina currently holds a position as a principle dancer in the Boston Ballet. In fact, she is the youngest person to ever hold that title with this company. Coming from a family filled with dancers, Jensen’s mother was a professional dancer who ran her own school in Utah and both of her sisters have appeared on Broadway.
Jensen started training at her mother’s school in Utah at the age of six but the school closed only a few short years later. Afterward Jensen attended The Dance Club in Orem, UT where she dropped her dabbling in jazz and tap and focused solely on the art of ballet.
When Jensen turned eleven she continued her studies in dance at the Utah Regional Ballet’s Jacqueline College. Later she competed in the Youth America Grand Prix where she first met her future instructor and mentor Valentina Kozlova, who once danced with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow.
Both Jensen and her mother knew that guidance from Kozlova was invaluable and, after auditioning the Russian ballerina had no choice but to take the talented Utah native under her wing.
Now she is a primary dancer in with the Boston Ballet and has performed with companies like the Hungarian National Ballet as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Her future goals are to perform in the roles of Odette in Swan Lake and the title role in Giselle.
2. Andrew Bartee
Our next fresh face in the world of ballet was born in Everett, Washington. After earning a scholarship at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School and attending summer courses there and at the American Ballet, Bartee was the first dancer to receive the Flemming Halby Exchange.
This award is associated with the Royal Danish Ballet School. In 2007 Bartee was also given the Princess Grace Award. The next year this new ballet personality took an apprenticeship at the Pacific Northwest Ballet in 2008. In one year he moved his way up with the company as a part of the corps de ballet. Leading productions in which he has performed include Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Boal’s Giselle, Caniparoli’s The Seasons, Ulysses Dove’s Red Angels, Morris’ A Garden, and Stowell’s Cinderella.
Bartee has been quoted as saying, “Movement seems to come easily to me. I’m sort of a pretty dancer, I guess. My upper body strength is lacking. I have a loose body, I’m really flexible, so it’s hard for me to build strength.”
3. Puanani Brown
The next dancer on our list of ballet newcomers is also an American. Born on the East coast this dancer started her training at the Washington School of Ballet at the young age of seven. She was awarded the Lisa Gardner Scholarship and would stay on for eight years. The director at this time was Mary Day.
In 2003 Brown won the Carey Rose Winski Dance Scholarship Competition in Chicago at the age of fifteen she won the Gold Medal in the Women’s Senior division at the YAGP Finals in New York City.
The next year the School of American Ballet invited Brown to study there on a full scholarship. She did so but once she graduated high school she began her undergraduate studies at Harvard University in 2008 but only after taking an apprenticeship with the New York City Ballet the previous year.
Eventually Brown became a ballet mistress at the Harvard Ballet Company in May of 2008 and the next year she performed Balanchine’s Serenade alongside Damian Woetzel.
Once Brown graduated from Harvard she moved back to New York to continue her training with Darla Hoover at the Ballet Academy East. Her repertoire includes the roles of Snow Queen in Day’s The Nutcracker and the Pas de Trois in Balanchine’s Agon.
Since 2010 Brown has been a member of the American Ballet Theatre in the corps de ballet.
4. Maria Beck
Another American on our ballet list hails from Detroit, MI. She is the second woman of American descent to graduate from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, the world’s most renowned ballet school.
When she graduated Beck, at eighteen, took on the solo from Don Quixote and danced with five other dancers in L’Amoroso, a twenty-two minute contemporary work. She came in first place in her division at the 2005 YAGP semi-finals in Chicago and took the third place prize in the New York City finals in 2007.
Becks father is a retired insurance salesman who met his wife through pen pal correspondence for six months until they finally met her in her home town of Moscow. Elena Repnikova, a classically trained singer, fell in love with Tim Beck when he came to visit and she moved to the States.
At her final performance at the Bolshoi her father was so intoxicated with pride and emotion he shot out of his seat, punched the air, and screamed “Awwwright!!”, much to his wife’s dismay. The Russian community is not used this type of American outburst.
Even though she has graduated Beck returned to Moscow in 2013 to begin dancing for the Stanislavsky Theatre in their production of Swan Lake.
5. Brittany DeGrofft
Born in Tucson, Arizona this new ballet dancer began her training under Linda Walker when she was six years old. She performed in the Regional Dance America Festival in 2003 and was awarded full scholarships to many prominent dance schools around the United States.
She completed a summer intensive at the American Ballet Theatre in Austin, Texas and was subsequently given the title of International Training Scholar. She moved to New York City to continue her studies at the American Ballet Theater there.
From there she moved on to the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and in 2009 DeGrofft became student at the ABT II and trained under Wes Chapman. Two years later she became an apprentice at the same company in February and moved up to corps de ballet in September.
She was given the Margaret King Moore award and was listed as one of the top ten dancers to keep your eye on by Dance Spirit Magazine. The Moore award enabled her to study at the American Ballet Theatre for another year.
Roles she has danced in include pas d’action in Makarova’s La Bayadére, one of the Nutcracker’s sisters in The Nutcracker, and the Hungarian Princess in Swan Lake.
6. Jeffrey Cirio
This new face in the world of ballet began training under Marcia Dale Weary at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. He won the Grand Prix medal in 2006 in the regional competitions and won a gold medal in the New York finals of the YAGP. In the same year Cirio also won a bronze medal in the 2006 U.S. International Ballet Competition.
After these posthumous awards Cirio went on to study at the Boston Ballet School and subsequently joined the Boston Ballet II in 2007. Next he would move on to the Orlando Ballet School and study with Peter Stark and Oliver Munoz. In 2009 Cirio became the first American ballet dancer to win the gold medal at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition. That same year he was awarded the Princess Grace Fellowship.
Also in 2009 Cirio went back to Boston to become a member of the corps de ballet of the Boston Ballet and moved his way up to soloist in 2010. Besides reprising the roles of Prince Désiré and Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty, and the Prince in Cinderella, Cirio is also known for originating the roles in Awake Only by Jorma Elo and Elo Experience also by the composer.
Last year Cirio joined the American Ballet Theatre as a soloist and was almost instantly appointed principal dancer in August of this year. The roles he has performed with this company include His Hope in AfterEffect, the Slave in Le Corsaire, and Colas in La Fille mal gardée.
7. Meaghan Grace Hinkis
Our last dancer on the list makes this piece unanimously American, still Hinkis was born in Kingsbury, CT. Joining The Royal Ballet in 2011 she was quickly promoted to First Artist in 2012 and then soloist in 2015.
Hinkis’ early training also included jazz and tap at a local school before concentrating completely on ballet at the age of eleven. While attending the local dance school she also would travel to New York and study with Fabrice Herrault. By the age of thirteen Hinkis was awarded a scholarship by the Youth America Grand Prix. She would use the scholarship to study at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of American Ballet Theatre.
In 2010 Hinkis graduated into the American Ballet Theatre where she performed in the lead role in Dumbarton by Alexei Ratmansky and as the creation in The Nutcracker. She has also performed in Don Quixote, Mayerling, Onegin, La Sylphide, Sweet Violets, The Dream, The Sleeping Beauty, and Giselle.
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