Boston Ballet’s “MINDscape” and “Swan Lake” programs in May will mark the return of one of its talented former stars, Jeffrey Cirio. But those guest spots are just a teaser. Starting with the 2022-2023 season, Cirio will be returning to the company full time as a principal dancer, following stints with American Ballet Theatre (2015-2018) and English National Ballet (2018-2022).
“Jeffrey is one of the most gifted male dancers in the world,” Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen says. He calls Cirio “a fast learner and so freaking smart … an extremely versatile dancer with the full package — artistry, technique, and musicality.”
For the 30-year-old Cirio, the return to Boston Ballet is both a personal and artistic homecoming. After early training with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Cirio became a trainee at the Boston Ballet school, joining BB II in 2007 and working his way through the ranks to become principal dancer in 2012. Though he left the company in 2015 to stretch his wings artistically with new repertoire and more international touring, he says he is ready to “come home and start laying down roots.” Cirio is engaged to fellow English National Ballet dancer Anjuli Hudson, and he says she will join him to live in Boston.
Thinking long range, he also plans to spend time shadowing Nissinen, learning about the business side of running a ballet company from a man he has known since the age of 12 and calls his mentor, friend, and “ballet father.”
With the return to Boston Ballet, Cirio once again gets to share the stage with his sister, longtime principal dancer Lia Cirio, as well as other company friends. “Jeffrey has such a wealth of knowledge and experience from being in two different world-renowned ballet companies,” Lia Cirio says, “and I know he will share all of this with his colleagues … I am beyond excited.”
Known as a charismatic dancer with impeccable technique and attention to detail, Cirio is enthusiastic to reconnect to the works of George Balanchine, which he says he hasn’t had the opportunity to dance in five years, and to learn more contemporary repertoire, especially working one-on-one with choreographer William Forsythe. In addition, Boston Ballet’s relatively short season will afford him the time for international guesting opportunities and new projects, such as his burgeoning artistic relationship with groundbreaking dancemaker Akram Khan. In the summers, he hopes to grow the Cirio Collective, which he established in 2015 with his sister Lia as a way to explore and develop new choreography, including his own.
But right now, he says, “I just really want to dance, and I’m looking forward to being home and seeing people who have supported me in Boston. It really feels like coming full circle.”
Karen Campbell can be reached at email@example.com.