ABT Announces Its 2019 Company Promotions
Like most years, American Ballet Theatre closes its spring Met season this weekend with a sweet surprise: company promotions. Artistic director Kevin McKenzie just announced that two members of the corps de ballet—Aran Bell and Joo Won Ahn—are being promoted to soloist, effective September 1.
Ever since we saw a young Aran Bell in the 2011 film First Position, we've known he was destined for something big. The Maryland-born dancer joined ABT's Studio Company in 2014, became an apprentice in 2016 and a member of the corps in 2017. This season alone he made two major princely debuts: Prince Désiré in The Sleeping Beauty and Siegfried in Swan Lake. And last year marked his first turn as Romeo. His repertoire also includes Lankendem in Le Corsaire, St. John in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre and roles in Twyla Tharp's Deuce Coupe and In The Upper Room, Alexei Ratmansky's Songs of Bukovina and The Seasons, and much more.
Joo Won Ahn in Le Corsaire. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT
Originally from Korea, Ahn joined the ABT Studio Company in 2013 after winning a gold medal at Youth America Grand Prix, and he was quickly shepherded through an apprenticeship and into the corps in 2014. He's already built up a pretty thorough classical repertoire including Solor in La Bayadère, Ali and Lankendem in Le Corsaire and Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty. He's also had the chance to hone his contemporary skills in Wayne McGregor's AFTERITE, Tharp's In the Upper Room and a handful of works by Ratmansky.
ABT apprentices Jacob Clerico, Jarod Curley, Michael de la Nuez, Léa Fleytoux, Abbey Marrison and Ingrid Thoms have all been promoted to the corps. And Studio Company dancers Leah Baylin, Kanon Kimura, Melvin Lawovi, Joseph Markey, Duncan McIlwaine and Chloe Misseldine will become apprentices.
Congratulations to all!
I hate asking for money. I am tired of feeling like we, as dance practitioners, are constantly begging for every morsel of sustenance. We are often seen as the poor stepchildren of the arts, usually thought of as having nothing tangible to sell.
I have to admit, I've had a wonderful career. I've danced with The Royal Ballet and The Joffrey Ballet, done a stint on the West End in An American in Paris, played the Snow Cavalier in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms with Misty Copeland, and will soon be performing as Older Billy in the Australian tour of Billy Elliot: The Musical.
How did I get in this position? Through the eight international ballet competitions I've entered.
If you want to travel the world performing and doing what you love, competitions are your ticket to finding the freedom to dance wherever you want to go.
By the Sunday evening of a long convention weekend, you can expect to be thoroughly exhausted and a little sore. But you shouldn't leave the hotel ballroom actually hurt. Although conventions can be filled with magical opportunities, the potential for injury is higher than usual.
Keep your body safe: Watch out for these four common hazards.