Left: Misa Kuranaga in The Veritginous Thrill of Exactitude. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet. Right: Sasha Mukhamedov in Apollo. Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet.

Misa Kuranaga and Sasha Mukhamedov Are Joining San Francisco Ballet

San Francisco Ballet just announced some major news: longtime Boston Ballet star Misa Kuranaga will be joining the company as a principal dancer for the 2019-20 season, while Dutch National Ballet principal Sasha Mukhamedov will join as a soloist. They join a slew of newly promoted SFB principals and soloists, announced earlier this year.



Kuranaga and Angelo Greco in Helgi Tomasson's Soirées Musicales, part of SFB's opening night gala in January.

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

Kuranaga's appointment marks a full-circle moment. Originally from Japan, she danced with SFB for one year as an apprentice in 2001. When she wasn't taken into the company, she spent a year refining her technique at the School of American Ballet before joining Boston Ballet's corps in 2003. Since then, she's quickly risen through the ranks, becoming one of the company's biggest draws. Earlier this year she returned to SFB to perform as a guest artist in the company's opening night gala.

Mukhamedov in Balanchine's Apollo.

Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet.

Mukhamedov, on the other hand, has spent her entire career at Dutch National Ballet, joining as an aspirant in 2008 and rising to principal dancer by 2017. The daughter of legendary Bolshoi and Royal Ballet star Irek Mukhamedov, she trained at the Royal Ballet School as well as privately with her mother, former Bolshoi soloist Masha Mukhamedov. In 2017 she talked candidly with Pointe about living up to her famous parents' reputations: "There are times when people recognize my name, and it's instant pressure."

SFB also announced that former Polish National Ballet demi-soloist Bianca Teixeira will be joining the company's corps de ballet. Meanwhile, SFB apprentices Leili Rackow, Estéban Cuadrado, Max Föllmer, Joshua Jack Price, and Jacob Seltzer have been promoted to the corps, joining Jasmine Jimison, who was promoted in March. And finally, trainees SunMin Lee, Tyla Steinbach, Rubén Cítores, Lleyton Ho and Adrien Zeisel have been named apprentices.

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Courtesy Ava Noble

Go Behind the Scenes of USC Kaufman’s Virtual Dance Festival

Now more than ever, the students of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance are embodying their program's vision: "The New Movement."

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, the dance world continues to be faced with unprecedented challenges, but USC Kaufman's faculty and BFA students haven't shied away from them. While many schools have had to cancel events or scale them back to live-from-my-living-room streams, USC Kaufman has embraced the situation and taken on impressive endeavors, like expanding its online recruitment efforts.

November 1 to 13, USC Kaufman will present A/Part To/Gather, a virtual festival featuring world premieres from esteemed faculty and guest choreographers, student dance films and much more. All semester long, they've rehearsed via Zoom from their respective student apartments or hometowns. And they haven't solely been dancing. "You have a rehearsal process, and then a filming process, and a production process of putting it together," says assistant professor of practice Jennifer McQuiston Lott of the prerecorded and professionally edited festival.

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