New York City Ballet Promotes Three Men to Principal Dancers

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New York City Ballet announced on Saturday that it was promoting three dancers to the role of principal, replenishing its roster of male dancers after a series of retirements.

Harrison Ball, Jovani Furlan and Peter Walker were elevated from soloists to principal dancers, the company said in a news release. The promotions come as the company concludes its winter season, which was delayed because of disruptions caused by the spread of the Omicron variant, but then proceeded uninterrupted.

The City Ballet veteran principal Ask la Cour retired in the fall; and another, Gonzalo Garcia, retires on Sunday. Amar Ramasar, who was temporarily fired and then reinstated after a nude photo-sharing scandal, will leave in the spring. Last year, Unity Phelan and Indiana Woodward were promoted; four female principals have recently left the company.

Furlan, who joined the company in 2019 as a soloist from Miami City Ballet, said he was informed of the promotion on Saturday, but he had had a sense it might be coming because he had recently been partnered with some of the top principal dancers at the company, including Tiler Peck and Sterling Hyltin.

“It gives me peace with my position at the company where I can truly just focus on the work,” Furlan said.

Furlan, 28, was born in Brazil and started training at 11 years old at the Bolshoi Theater School there. After competing in an international ballet competition in Mississippi, he received a scholarship to train at the Miami City Ballet School and soon joined the company. He was promoted to principal there in 2017.

Soon after Furlan joined City Ballet, the New York Times dance critic Gia Kourlas wrote of his “Swan Lake” performance that he was “noble, fluid and musically sensitive” in his dancing and that he “proves his worth with each new role.”

Soon after he performed in “Swan Lake,” the pandemic bore down on New York City and because of a visa issue, Furlan had to move back to Brazil, returning 14 months later and rushing to get vaccinated before starting rehearsals again (vaccines were far less accessible in his home country).

“It was a very tough year,” he said.

Walker, 29, is one of the few City Ballet dancers to have choreographed works for the company. Growing up in Fort Myers, Fla., Walker started tap dance training at 8 and then moved on to ballet. He started as a full-time student at the School of American Ballet, City Ballet’s academy, in 2007 and joined the company in 2012.

Walker’s first work for City Ballet, “ten in seven,” debuted in 2016; he followed it with another ballet, “dance odyssey,” two years later.

Ball, 28, rose up in the ranks of City Ballet at the same tempo as Walker. Born in Houston, he began his dance training at 4 in South Carolina, moving to New York City in 2007. Ball joined the company as a member of the corps de ballet in 2012 before he was elevated to soloist in 2017. The Times’s Alastair Macaulay described Bell as “elegant and notably buoyant” in “Symphony in C.”


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