Herman Cornejo in Twyla Tharp's In The Upper Room

Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT

Former ABT Standout Erica Cornejo Joins Brother Herman Onstage for a Special Performance

In September 2004, a pair of siblings graced the Dance Magazine cover. Inside, the accompanying story wrote, "When the Cornejos dance, it's never merely a variation—it's a complete performance."


A Dance Magazine cover featuring the Cornejos leaping among illustrated planets and stars

The brother and sister from Buenos Aires were winning over American Ballet Theatre fans, garnering "fervent applause and almost as fervent reviews," wrote Hanna Rubin.

Erica was beloved for her musical phrasing and easy jumps, while Herman won over audiences with his technical brilliance and elegant lines. Both oozed charisma onstage.

But two years after the story came out, Erica left New York City to join Boston Ballet as a principal, and fans lost the ability to see the pair onstage together. Until now.

Although she retired from performing in 2017 and now directs Integrarte ballet school in Boston, Erica is making a special return to the ABT stage on October 26 to dance a pas de deux with Herman in celebration of his 20th anniversary with the company.

The piece holds extra significance for the two dancers: The Cornejos first performed El Chamuyo at a gala for Argentina held at the Metropolitan Opera House's grand tier in 1998. At the time, they were members of ABT star Julio Bocca's touring company, Ballet Argentino. So while in New York for the performance, they took company class at ABT—and were quickly asked to join the Studio Company. Now, their story is coming full circle, celebrating a milestone with the same work that brought them to the company in the first place.

The special evening will also see Herman dancing the title role in Apollo (his New York debut) and a leading role in Twyla Tharp's new A Gathering of Ghosts. We expect nothing less than "fervent applause."

Latest Posts


Ballet BC dancers Tara Williamson, left, and Darren Devaney in RITE by Emily Molnar. Photo by Chris Randle, Courtesy Ballet BC

Why Do Mixed-Rep Companies Still Rely on Ballet for Company Class?

In a single performance by a mixed-rep company, you might see its shape-shifting dancers performing barefoot, in sneakers and in heels. While such a group may have "ballet" in its name and even a rack of tutus in storage, its current relationship to the art form can be tenuous at best. That disconnect grows wider every year as contemporary choreographers look beyond ballet—if not beyond white Western forms entirely—in search of new inspiration and foundational techniques.

Yet dancers at almost all of the world's leading mixed-rep ensembles take ballet classes before rehearsals and shows. Most companies rarely depart from ballet more than twice a week and some never offer alternative classes.

"The question, 'Why do you take ballet class to prepare you for repertory which is not strictly classical?' has been in the air since Diaghilev's time," says Peter Lewton-Brain, Monaco-based president of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science. "What you're doing onstage is often not what you're doing in class."

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS