Paul Craig, here with Seo Hye Han in William Forsythe's Artifact Suite, has been promoted to principal dancer at Boston Ballet. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

Boston Ballet's New Roster Includes Some Surprising Names

With summer drawing to a close, companies are finalizing their rosters for the 2017–18 season. Boston Ballet announced their dancer lineup this morning, and we're more than a little excited about a number of well-deserved promotions and new company members.

From within the company ranks, there are now three new principals: Paul Craig, Patrick Yocum and Junxiong Zhao. Roddy Doble (featured in "On the Rise" in 2014) has been promoted to soloist. And we were delighted to see that Hannah Bettes and Lawrence Rines, both of whom gave us a peek into the day in the life of the Boston Ballet corps back in our November 2016 issue, are now second soloists! There are also a number of Boston Ballet II dancers who have been moved up to the rank of artist (Boston's equivalent of the corps de ballet).

Above: Junxiong Zhao and Misa Kuranaga in an excerpt from Balanchine's Donizetti Variations.

In addition to these internal promotions, several dancers are joining from other companies. Derek Dunn, who joins as a soloist, comes as something of a surprise. One of our 2014 "25 to Watch" picks, he has been making major waves at Houston Ballet the past few years with the kind of momentum that boded well for his career in Texas. (We know it's a long shot, but maybe he'll get to dance "Shades" at his new company!)

Another surprise: Chrystyn Fentroy, one of our faves at Dance Theatre of Harlem, is joining Boston Ballet as an artist. We're going to miss seeing her onstage here in New York. Also joining as artists are a couple of Dunn's colleagues from Houston, Daniel Durrett and Michael Ryan, as well as Jessica Burrows (Hong Kong Ballet), Patric Palkens (Cincinnati Ballet) and Haley Schwan (Staatsballett Berlin/Twyla Tharp).

Congrats to all of the promoted dancers, and best wishes to the new company members on their first season in Boston!

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Jason Samuels Smith, photographed by Jayme Thornton

Moving Forward by Looking Back: A Week at the L.A. Tap Festival Online

I turned to tap at the outset of the European lockdown as a meaningful escape from the anxiety of the pandemic. As a dance historian specialized in dance film, I've seen my fair share of tap on screen, but my own training remains elementary. While sheltering in place, my old hardwood floors beckoned. I wanted to dig deeper in order to better understand tap's origins and how the art form has evolved today. Not so easy to accomplish in France, especially from home.

Enter the L.A. Tap Fest's first online edition.

Alongside 100 other viewers peering out from our respective Zoom windows, I watch a performer tap out rhythms on a board in their living room. Advanced audio settings allow us to hear their feet. In the chat box, valuable resources are being shared and it's common to see questions like, "Can you post the link to that vaudeville book you mentioned?" Greetings and words of gratitude are also exchanged as participants trickle in and out from various times zones across the US and around the world.