Boston Ballet has announced its roster for the 2017-18 season, which will include a new soloist, Derek Dunn, from Houston Ballet. Altogether there will be 55 dancers in the main company and 10 in the apprentice troupe, Boston Ballet II (BB2). Seven dancers are joining Boston Ballet from other companies; three more have been promoted from last year’s BB2 roster.
Fifteen countries are represented in this year’s company: Albania, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Georgia, Italy, Japan, Paraguay, South Korea, Spain, and the US. Yet Boston Ballet continues to have a strong local base: 35 percent of the company are BB2 alumni, and 22 percent are Boston Ballet School alumni.
The new soloist, Dunn, was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2014. Joining Boston Ballet as “artists of the company” (what in other companies is known as the corps) are Jessica Burrows from Hong Kong Ballet, Daniel Durrett and Michael Ryan from Houston Ballet, Chyrstyn Fentroy from Dance Theatre of Harlem, Patric Palkens from Cincinnati Ballet, and Haley Schwan, who danced with Staatsballett Berlin before joining Twyla Tharp’s 50th Anniversary Tour.
Back in February, the company had announced five promotions for the 2017-18 season: Paul Craig, Patrick Yocum, and Junxiong Zhao to principal, Roddy Doble to soloist, and Lawrence Rines to second soloist. One more promotion has now been added: Hannah Bettes to second soloist.
All these artists were prominent in last season’s productions. Craig, Yocum, and Zhao danced Conrad in “Le Corsaire.” Craig was featured in Jirí Kylián’s “Wings of Wax” and George Balanchine’s “Stravinsky Violin Concerto.” Both Yocum and Zhao danced the lead male in Balanchine’s “Donizetti Variations” and Prince Désiré in “Sleeping Beauty”; Yocum was also featured in “Wings of Wax” and William Forsythe’s “Artifact,” and Zhao did Bluebird in “Sleeping Beauty.” Doble and Rines both did “Wings of Wax”; Doble also danced Lankedem in “Le Corsaire” and Rines was Bluebird in “Sleeping Beauty.” And Bettes had a featured role in “Artifact.”
Promoted from Boston Ballet II to artist of the company are Sage Humphries, Graham Johns, and Abigail Merlis. Four dancers from Boston Ballet School have been accepted into Boston Ballet II: Olivia Behrmann, Caroline Buckheit, Tyson Clark, and Thomas Davidoff. Joining BB2 from outside the school are August Generalli and Catherine Livingston. Buckheit and Davidoff were featured performers last May in the company’s “Next Generation” presentation of Balanchine’s “Walpurgisnacht Ballet.” On that same program, Behrmann paired with Clark in the Peasant Pas de Deux from act one of “Giselle.” Clark, a 2016 Princess Grace Foundation Award recipient, is from Somerville, so his promotion is a matter of special local interest.