THE Royal Winnipeg Ballet has promoted popular first soloists Amanda Green and Jo-Ann Sundermeier to the top rank of principal dancer for the coming 73rd season.
Artistic director André Lewis has also hired four new dancers -- two from Ukraine, one from Moldova and one from Mexico -- to round out the troupe.
And in a significant loss for the company, young New Zealand-born first soloist Harrison James is leaving after just two seasons to join the Béjart Ballet Lausanne in Switzerland.
James is an extremely impressive dancer who has it all -- technique, artistry and good looks. He wowed audiences as the title character in Svengali -- earning an unusual mid-season promotion -- and many other ballets. He was also a member of Peter Quanz's hand-picked Q Dance troupe.
Green and Sundermeier, both lively brunettes, have danced with the company for eight years. They are also in Q Dance and have risen steadily to perform leading roles. Green, originally from Alberta, played the heroine Trilby in Svengali. Sundermeier, from Florida, is often cast in powerful roles such as Svengali's mother. Both ballerinas have starred in Giselle and Swan Lake.
The new hires are first soloist Oleksii Potomkin from Ukraine, 23, who guest-performed in Carmina Burana for RWB's final production of the 2011-12 season; second soloist Egor Zdor, 27, from Moldova; and corps de ballet members Dariya Emelyantseva, 23, from Ukraine and Isis Murcio, 24, from Mexico.
Corps members Yayoi Ezawa and Sophia Lee -- the latter viewed by many as a rising star -- have been promoted to second soloist.
Former apprentice Alanna McAdie and aspirant Anna O'Callaghan officially join the corps. Aspirants Chenxin Liu, Stephan Possin and Yinan Wang have all been named apprentices.