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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Clockwise from top left: Photo by Loreto Jamlig, Courtesy Ladies of Hip-Hop; Wikimedia Commons; Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet; Natasha Razina, Courtesy State Academic Mariinsky Theatre; Photo by Will Mayer for Better Half Productions, Courtesy ABT

The 10 Biggest Dance Stories of 2019

What were the dance moments that defined 2019? The stories that kept us talking, week after week? According to our top-clicked articles of the year, they ranged from explorations of dance medicine and dance history, takedowns of Lara Spencer and companies who still charge dancers to audition, and, of course, our list of expert tips on how to succeed in dance today.

We compiled our 10 biggest hits of the year, and broke down why we think they struck a chord:

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Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Nichols

I Am a Black Dancer Who Was Dressed Up in Blackface to Perform in La Bayadère

On Instagram this week, Misty Copeland reposted a picture of two Russian ballerinas covered head to toe in black, exposing the Bolshoi's practice of using blackface in the classical ballet La Bayadère. The post has already received over 60,000 likes and 2,000 comments, starting a long overdue conversation.

Comments have been pouring in from every angle imaginable: from history lessons on black face, to people outside of the ballet world expressing disbelief that this happens in 2019, to castigations of Copeland for exposing these young girls to the line of fire for what is ultimately the Bolshoi's costuming choice, to the accusations that the girls—no matter their cultural competence—should have known better.

I am a black dancer, and in 2003, when I was 11 years old, I was dressed up in blackface to perform in the Mariinsky Ballet's production of La Bayadère.

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Here's the First Trailer for the "In the Heights" Movie

Lights up on Washington Heights—because the trailer for the movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical In the Heights has arrived. It's our first look into Lin-Manuel Miranda's latest venture into film—because LMM isn't stopping at three Tony awards, a Grammy award, and an Emmy.

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