On the Rise: Joseph Gordon

With his aristocratic line, unforced assurance and charming presence, Joseph Gordon stands out among New York City Ballet's corps men. During the company's 2015–16 winter season, he received an impressive number of opportunities to step into demanding roles, easily mastering corps, demi, soloist and principal parts.

Company: New York City Ballet

Age: 23

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona

Training: Phoenix Dance Academy, School of American Ballet

Accolades: Melissa Hayden Dance Scholarship at SAB and the 2016–17 Janice Levin Dancer Honoree at NYCB

Breakout season: Gordon debuted in two major roles in January. He was utterly convincing as the innocent, trusting Second Sailor in Jerome Robbins' Fancy Free and followed that just two days later with his first performance as the ultra-sophisticated partner of three ballerinas in Balanchine's Who Cares? By the season's end, he was bringing a new, unsuspected elegance to the third movement of Balanchine's Symphony in C while maintaining its high spirits.

An instant balletomane: Gordon says, “My parents knew dance meant a lot to me after they took me to my first ballet, a Nutcracker, when I was 5. I was so excited I stood up for the whole performance."

Raves from colleagues: Ballet master Jean-Pierre Frohlich, who oversees the Robbins repertoire, recalls, “It was easy to direct Joe in Fancy Free. He just got better and better at every rehearsal." Principal dancer Daniel Ulbricht says, “It was a joy to share the stage with Joe in Fancy. His eagerness and charm brought his role to life."

Addicted to the best: When asked about the Balanchine roles he is eager to conquer, Gordon cites Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, “Rubies" in Jewels, Melancholic in The Four Temperaments and the Fourth Campaign in Stars and Stripes. One ballet that he speaks of in rapturous terms, however, is the powerfully abstract Agon: “I am overwhelmed by its concept. There's no major male solo, but it would be an honor to dance that pas de deux."

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