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Birmingham Royal Ballet announces promotions and new joiners for the 2018/19 season

As the 2017/18 season comes to a close, Birmingham Royal Ballet is delighted to announce the following:

Yasuo Atsuji is promoted from First Soloist to Principal.

Yvette Knight is promoted from Soloist to First Soloist.
Brandon Lawrence is promoted from Soloist to First Soloist.
Maureya Lebowitz is promoted from Soloist to First Soloist.
Miki Mizutani is promoted from Soloist to First Soloist.
Yaoqian Shang is promoted from Soloist to First Soloist. 

Karla Doorbar is promoted from First Artist to Soloist.
Max Maslen is promoted from First Artist to Soloist.
Lachlan Monaghan is promoted from First Artist to Soloist.

Aitor Galende is promoted from Artist to First Artist.
Beatrice Parma is promoted from Artist to First Artist.
Brooke Ray is promoted from Artist to First Artist.
Edivaldo Souza da Silva is promoted from Artist to First Artist.
Daria Stanciulescu is promoted from Artist to First Artist.

The following dancers join the company:

August Generalli will join as an Artist from Boston Ballet II.
Alexander Yap will join as an Artist from Northern Ballet.
Louis Cohen, graduate of the English National Ballet School, will join as an Artist.
Callum Findlay-White, graduate of the Royal Ballet School, will join as an Artist.
Tori Forsyth-Hecken, graduate of the Royal Ballet School, will join as an Artist.
Isabella Howard, graduate of the Royal Ballet School, will join as an Artist.
Yu Kurihara, graduate of the Royal Ballet School, will join as an Artist.
Lennart Steegen, graduate of the Royal Ballet School, will join as an Artist.
Yuki Sugiura, graduate of the Royal Ballet School, will join as an Artist. 

Eilis Small, graduate of the Australian Ballet School, joined as an Artist earlier in 2018.

Joseph Taylor, graduate of Elmhurst Ballet School, will join as an Apprentice for the 2018/19 season. Joseph is the recipient of the Birmingham Royal Ballet and Elmhurst Ballet School Award for Excellence.

Jessica Wheeler, Principal of Elmhurst Ballet School said: "This exciting Award for Excellence in collaboration with our friends at Birmingham Royal Ballet is with thanks to the generosity of one of our most dedicated supporters. Each year it enables a talented graduate student, selected by David Bintley, to work full-time with BRB for an entire ballet season, gaining invaluable experience of the day-to-day life of our associate company, from class and rehearsals at its Birmingham Hippodrome home, to touring across the UK and internationally. We're thrilled 2018 graduate Joseph Taylor follows in the footsteps of Jade Wallace, the first recipient of the award, and we wish him all the very best of luck as he takes his next big step into a professional dance career." 

The following dancers leave the company: 

Eight dancers, including Principals Nao Sakuma, Chi Cao and Jenna Roberts, took their final curtain calls at the end of the season following long and successful careers.

After joining the Company together in 1995, Nao Sakuma and Chi Cao have led Birmingham Royal Ballet in the classical repertoire for 23 years. Both renowned for their refined, virtuoso technique and sensitive dramatic interpretations, the pair have enjoyed a beautifully matched partnership. Together, they have produced outstanding performances throughout their careers, shining particularly in the 19th century classics of Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. Together they created the Spring pas de deux in David Bintley’s The Seasons and the leading roles of Sylvia and Amynta in his revised Sylvia. 

Jenna Roberts joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2003 and progressed rapidly through the Company, becoming a Principal in 2012. Jenna has danced, with great versatility, the leading roles in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, Daphnis and Chloë and Cinderella. A favourite with audiences in Birmingham and the Company’s touring venues, she is particularly celebrated for her moving portrayal of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. Additionally, she has created roles in Jessica Lang’s Lyric Pieces, Alexander Whitley’s Kin., Michael Corder’s Le Baiser de la fée and David Bintley’s The Tempest.

Soloist Feargus Campbell leaves Birmingham Royal Ballet after 13 years, during which time he has proved a highly valuable and popular member of the Company. His varied repertory includes Paris and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, Bottom and Demetrius in The Dream, Benno in Swan Lake, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room and many roles in David Bintley’s ballets, including Carmina BuranaCinderella, The Prince of the Pagodas and The King Dances. Feargus is due to start the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) at the University of Law in Birmingham, with a view to becoming a Barrister.  

Artist Anna Monleon leaves the Company after six years. Her performances include the White Cat in The Sleeping Beauty, Mrs Dimple in Pineapple Poll, Lead Czárdás and Mazurka in Coppélia, the Spanish Dance in The Nutcracker and Harlots in Romeo and Juliet. Anna is moving back to Spain to pursue a new career. 

Artist Brogan McKelvey also leaves the Company at the end of the 2017/18 season to pursue choreographic and production opportunities across the country. 

Claudia Nicholson leaves Birmingham Royal Ballet after completing a year-long apprenticeship. After a wonderful season working with her hometown company, she is looking to experience the challenge of working and living somewhere new.  

Jade Wallace also leaves Birmingham Royal Ballet after completing a year-long apprenticeship. Jade is continuing to look for her next performing opportunity. 

As previously announced, after an incredible 19-year career with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Principal Iain Mackay retired from the Company in early 2018, giving his final performance as part of an Evening of Music and Dance in a specially choreographed Spartacus pas de deux created by David Bintley and, at Iain’s request, Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rainpas de deux. Both were danced with Jenna Roberts, with whom he shared a special on-stage artistic relationship.

Artist Elisabetta Formento left the Company earlier this year to join Dutch National Ballet corps de ballet