New York City Ballet (NYCB) has announced that three of the Company’s corps de ballet members — Olivia MacKinnon, Alexa Maxwell and KJ Takahashi — have been promoted to the rank of Soloist.
The promotions were made by NYCB Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford and Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan, following a day of rehearsals as the Company prepares for its 2023 Spring Season, which opens on April 18, and runs for six weeks through May 28, with all performances taking place at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.
In recent seasons, MacKinnon has debuted in featured roles in George Balanchine’s Scotch Symphony, Peter Martins’ The Sleeping Beauty (Fairy of Courage and Emerald), Justin Peck’s Copland Dance Episodes and Jerome Robbins’ Rondo, and returned to a featured role in Balanchine’s Raymonda Variations. Since joining NYCB, she has performed featured roles in a range of repertory by Balanchine, Martins, Peck and Robbins, and originated roles in works by Warren Carlyle, Lauren Lovette, Peck and Gianna Reisen.
Born in Mobile, Alabama, MacKinnon began her dance training at the age of three at the Mobile Ballet, and performed with Mobile Ballet’s Company as a student. During the summers of 2008 and 2009, MacKinnon attended summer sessions at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of NYCB, and enrolled as a full-time student in fall of 2010. She became an apprentice with NYCB in 2012, and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in 2013.
In recent seasons, Maxwell has debuted in featured roles in Peck’s Copland Dance Episodes and Robbins’ Fancy Free, and returned to featured roles in Balanchine’s La Sonnambula, Martins’ The Sleeping Beauty (Ruby and Fairy of Courage), Alexei Ratmansky’s Voices and Robbins’ The Cage. In addition, she originated a featured role in Kyle Abraham’s 2022 Fall Fashion Gala premiere Love Letter (on shuffle). Since joining NYCB, Maxwell has performed featured roles in works by Balanchine, Martins, Peck, Ratmansky, Robbins and Jamar Roberts, and originated roles in works by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Peck, Ratmansky and Troy Schumacher.
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Maxwell began her dance training at the age of four at Deanne’s Dance Studio. She studied dance at other schools before enrolling at the Minnesota Dance Theatre for two years, where her teachers included Lise Houlton and NYCB alumna Gloria Govrin. In 2009, she began training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet studying under Marcia Dale Weary. In 2012, Maxwell attended a summer session at SAB and enrolled as a full-time student later that year. Maxwell became an apprentice with NYCB in 2012, and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in 2013.
In recent seasons Takahashi has debuted in featured roles in Martins’ The Sleeping Beauty (Court Jesters and Bluebird), Peck’s Copland Dance Episodes, Partita and Scherzo Fantastique, Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH, and Robbins’ The Four Seasons. In addition, he originated featured roles in Reisen’s 2022 Fall Fashion Gala premiere Play Time and Keerati Jinakunwiphat’s Winter 2023 premiere Fortuitous Ash. Most recently during the Company’s tour to the Teatro Real in Madrid, Spain, Takahashi debuted in Peck’s The Times Are Racing in the role originated by Peck in 2017. Takahashi’s repertory at NYCB includes a range of other works by Balanchine, Abraham, Sidra Bell, Lauren Lovette and Peck.
Takahashi was born in Dallas, Texas, and began his ballet training at the age of eight at Ballet Academy of Texas under the direction of Lisa Slagle. In 2014, he studied ballet at Mejia Ballet International under the direction of Paul Mejia and in 2015, he began training at Ballet Tech under the direction of Eliot Feld. He entered SAB in 2016, and received additional training at summer courses at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Takahashi was named an apprentice with NYCB in 2019, and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in August 2021. He is the 2022-2023 recipient of the Janice Levin Award, which is bestowed annually on a promising member of NYCB’s corps de ballet.
NYCB’s 2023 Spring Season runs from April 18 to May 28. For tickets and more information, visit www.nycballet.com.