Boston Ballet announces promotions and additions to 2011/12 roster

Boston Ballet company logo

Boston Ballet company logo



BOSTON, MA – August 16, 2011 –Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen announced the company’s 2011-2012 roster featuring several promotions, and 10 new dancers in the main Company and Boston Ballet II. The full Company returned to the newly renovated 19 Clarendon Street studios to begin rehearsals for the 2011-2012 season on Tuesday, August 9. Additionally, Boston Ballet welcomes new Ballet Master Larissa Ponomarenko to the Artistic Staff. Ponomarenko performed with Boston Ballet as a principal dancer for 18 years and retired at the close of the 2010-2011 season.

“This year I’m pleased to welcome Larissa to Boston Ballet’s Artistic Staff, to announce the promotion of several of Boston Ballet’s dancers, and the addition of new talents from around the world,” said Nissinen. “Each dancer represents an artist who has the excellence, depth and versatility that Boston Ballet is known for. We have a fantastic season ahead, including our sixth annual Night of Stars, lavish productions like Romeo + Juliet, and exciting works from the world’s foremost contemporary choreographers. The season will showcase the artistic and technical abilities of these world-class dancers. The full company and I look forward to experiencing another season with Boston audiences in the theatre and in the community.”  

Nissinen, in his 10th Anniversary season with Boston Ballet, continues the company’s tradition of developing strong, versatile dancers by cultivating talent from within the Company, Boston Ballet II, and Boston Ballet School, while also recruiting from around the world. Boston Ballet’s roster has dancers from 16 different countries with the majority of the company members hailing from the United States. Boston Ballet’s 56-dancer roster also includes 16 dancers who trained with Boston Ballet School or Boston Ballet II, the company’s apprentice program.

For the 2011-2012 season, Larissa Ponomarenko joins Boston Ballet’s Artistic Staff as Ballet Master. Ponomarenko joined Boston Ballet in 1993 as a principal dancer and wowed audiences during her illustrious 18 years with the Company. In her new role as Ballet Master, Ponomarenko will work with Boston Ballet teaching company class, staging ballets and coaching the dancers with Assistant Artistic Director Russell Kaiser and Ballet Masters Anthony Randazzo and Shannon Parsley.

Promotions and additions to the 2011-2012 season include: Boston Ballet second soloists Whitney Jensen, Dalay Parrondo, and Jeffrey Cirio have been promoted to soloist; company dancer Paulo Arrais has been promoted to soloist; company dancer Bo Busby has been promoted to second soloist; and Boston Ballet II dancers Lawrence Rines and Patrick Yocum have been promoted to the main company.  Nissinen announces the addition of Ashley Ellis (U.S.) as a second soloist; Diana Albrecht (Paraguay), Olga Malinovskaya (Russia), Artyom Maksakov (Ukraine), and Irlan Silva (Brazil) as company members. Boyko Dossev (Bulgaria) will return to Boston Ballet as a company member. Lauren Herfindalh (U.S.), Olivia Lipnick (U.S.), Ileana Riveron (U.S.), and Matthew Slattery (Australia) will join Boston Ballet II.

The full company will take the stage on October 29 with Night of Stars, the sixth annual one-night-only, season kick-off performance at The Boston Opera House. Night of Stars is followed by John Cranko’s Romeo + Juliet, November 3-13, and The Nutcracker, November 25-December 31.

Dancers who have been promoted within the company are:

Soloist Whitney Jensen joined the Company in 2009. Jensen has received seven gold medals and one silver medal in competitions including the Youth America Grand Prix, American Ballet Competition, The World Ballet Competition, and Seoul International Dance Competition. In 2008, Jensen participated in the 23rd Varna International Ballet Competition where she won the highest award possible, the Grand Prix. The New York Times wrote of her 2010 performance in Balanchine’s Apollo, “newcomer Whitney Jensen [was] outstanding in the difficult steps, [she] brings a blithe ease to the role that makes me long to see her in other parts.” Jensen was on the cover of the January 2010 DANCE Magazine.

Soloist Dalay Parrondo joined Boston Ballet in 2004. Parrondo began her training at the Cuban National Ballet School and was a member of the National Ballet of Cuba. In her 2009 performance in Balanchine’s Jewels, The Hub Review wrote “Dalay Parrondo was a light rush of Balanchinean perfection.”

Soloist Paulo Arrais from Goiania, Brazil joined Boston Ballet in 2010 from Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet. He has previously danced with the Norwegian National Ballet and trained at the Center Curtural Gustav Ritter in Brazil, the Paris Opera Ballet School, English National Ballet School, and the Royal Ballet School. Arrais was a finalist in the 2007 New York International Competition and the 2003 Youth America Grand Prix.

Soloist Jeffrey Cirio joined Boston Ballet in 2009. He previously trained with Boston Ballet School before joining BBII in 2007. He was awarded a gold medal in the New York finals of the Youth America Grand Prix and a silver medal in the Seoul International Dance Competition. Cirio was awarded the prestigious Princess Grace Fellowship in 2009. He was called “one to watch” by The Boston Globe after his first performance with the company in the 2009 Night of Stars. Most recently, Cirio was acclaimed for his performances leading Jorma Elo’s world premiere production, Elo Experience, with former Boston Ballet principal Larissa Ponomarenko, as well as in the roles of Puck and Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Jeffrey is brother to Principal Lia Cirio. 

Bo Busby joined Boston Ballet in 2006 and was promoted to second soloist in 2011. Busby, of Newberry, SC, trained at The Harid Conservatory in Florida and the Stuttgart Academy before joining American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company.  Busby has been awarded “Best Male Dancer in the 2000 Youth America Grand Prix and the prestigious “Grand Prix” title at the 2001 Youth America Grand Prix.

Lawrence Rines of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania joined Boston Ballet II in 2009 and was promoted to Boston Ballet in 2011. Rines trained with The School of American Ballet and The Rock School for Dance Education. Rines participated in summer intensives at Ellison Ballet, The Kirov Academy of Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and The Royal Ballet School.

Patrick Yocum of Souderton, Pennsylvania joined Boston Ballet II in 2009 and was promoted to Boston Ballet in 2011. Yocum trained with Boston Ballet School’s trainee program from 2008-2009 as a Sydney Leonard Scholar. Yocum has attended Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Graduate Program on full scholarship and has also performed with The New Horizons Dance Alliance.

The new company dancers are:

Ashley Ellis from Santa Monica, California joined Boston Ballet in 2011 as a second soloist. She began her professional career dancing with American Ballet Theatre’s studio company and later joined ABT. She has performed in Spain with Angel Corella’s touring group and joined Corella Ballet in 2008 as a soloist. Ellis received her dance training at the South Bay Ballet under the direction of Diane Lauridsen, other instruction included Alicia Head, Mario Nugara, Charles Maple, and Kimberly Olmos. She was the recipient of the Coca Cola scholarship award in 2000 and 2001, and won the first prize at the Los Angeles’ Music Center Spotlight Award in 1999.

Diana Albrecht from Asunción, Paraguay joined Boston Ballet as a company member in 2011. She has previously trained at the Rio Center of Dance and attended The Washington Ballet School on a full scholarship. Albrecht has danced with El Paso Company of Dance, The Washington Ballet Studio Company, and The Washington Ballet. She was a finalist in the 2002 International Dance Competition Cecilia Kerche 2002, the 2004 winner of the National Award of Dance.

Olga Malinovskaya from Moscow, Russia joined Boston Ballet in 2011. She has previously danced with the Estonian National Ballet as a Soloist. Malinovskaya received her training at the Boshoi Ballet Academy, graduating with honors. She received a Gold medal at the International Dance Olympus Competition in Berlin in 2006, a diploma at the 9th International Ballet Competition “Arabesque” in Perm, Russia in 2006, and a Silver medal at the New York International Ballet Competition in 2009.

Boyko Dossev of Sofia, Bulgaria joined Boston Ballet in 2006. Dossev trained with Bisser Deyanov at the National Ballet School in Bulgaria before joining Jeune Ballet de France for the 1998-1999 season. He spent two years with Semperoper Dresden before joining The Hamburg Ballet, directed by John Neumeier. In 2005 Dossev came to the United States and danced with Ballet Internationale and the Washington Ballet before joining Boston Ballet. Dossev again danced with the Washington Ballet for the 2010-2011 season. In addition to his performance career, Dossev choreographed for various companies and schools including Festival Ballet Providence.

Artyom Maksakov from Ukraine joined Boston Ballet in 2011. He has previously danced with Estonian National Ballet as a soloist and Het National Ballet. Maksakov trained at Tallinn Ballet School. He was a finalist in the 2007 New York International Ballet Competition and received 3rd prize in 2009, he also received the award for outstanding dancing in the 2009-2010 season from the Society of Estonian Theater.

Irlan Silva from Rio de Janiero, Brazil joined Boston Ballet in 2011. He has previously danced with American Ballet Theatre II and as a guest artist in Rio de Janeiro. Silva received his dance training at the Centro de dance Rio under the direction of Mariza Estrela, he has also worked with Carlos dos Santos. He won the Best Contemporary Dancer Award at the Youth American Grand Prix in 2008 and was a Finalist in the Top Twelve Senior Division that same year. In 2007 he won First Place in the Senior Division of Youth American Grand Prix Brazil. He has also starred in the Documentary Only When I Dance.

Dancers joining Boston Ballet II:

Lauren Herfindahl of Kingston, Massachusetts joined BBII in 2011. Herfindahl trained with Boston Ballet School for many years and has danced with the Company in several productions including as Clara in Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker, George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Florence Clerc’s La Bayadére.

Olivia Lipnick of New York joined BBII in 2011 after receiving her pre-professional training from Ballet Academy East and the School of American Ballet. She has received additional instruction from summer programs such as Boston Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet which she attended on scholarship, among others.

Ileana Riveron of Greeley, Colorado joined BBII in 2011 after dancing with the Royal Ballet School. She received her training at The Royal Ballet School and The Harid Conservatory on a full scholarship. She also trained at the Makaroff School of Ballet and Judy Peterson Dance Studio. Riveron has also attended Houston Ballet Summer School on a full scholarship.

Matthew Slattery of Australia joined BBII in 2011 after dancing with the Joffrey Ballet School Studio Company and the Tasmanian Ballet Company. He received his training with the Joffrey Ballet School Trainee Program, Ecole Ballet and Dance Theatre, Ev & Bow Ballet and Contemporary School, and Brent Street Performing Arts. 

2011-2012 Season Tickets

Subscriptions, Group Sales tickets, and individual tickets for The Nutcracker are on sale now.  Individual tickets for all other ballets go on sale on Monday, August 29.  Subscriptions and individual tickets are available online 24 hours a day at the Boston Ballet wesbite, by phone at 617.695.6955, and in person at the box office at 19 Clarendon Street, Boston, Mon–Fri, 9:30am-5pm.  Tickets start at $25 for season ballets and $35 for Night of Stars and The Nutcracker.  Group Sales tickets for parties of 10 or more are available through the box office at 617.695.6955.   

About Boston Ballet

Since 1963, Boston Ballet has been one of the leading dance companies in the world on stage, in the studio and in the community.  Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen and Executive Director Barry Hughson, the Company maintains an internationally acclaimed repertoire and the largest ballet school in North America, Boston Ballet School.

Boston Ballet maintains a repertoire of classical, neo-classical and contemporary works, ranging from full-length story ballets to new works by some of today’s finest choreographers. Boston Ballet’s second company, Boston Ballet II, is comprised of dancers who gain experience by performing with the Company and independently, presenting special programs to audiences throughout the Northeast. 

Boston Ballet School, the official school of Boston Ballet, has a long-standing dedication to excellence and access and reaches more than 10,000 students ages 2-adult each year through Boston Ballet School classes, Summer Dance Workshop, Summer Dance Program, Citydance, Taking Steps, and Adaptive Dance.  The wide array of dance programs are held at three studio locations in Boston, Newton, and Marblehead with additional programs throughout New England, as well as community centers and in Boston Public Schools.