BOSTON BALLET ANNOUNCES 20202021 SEASON PROMOTIONS
Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen announces seven dancer promotions for the 20202021 season. Soloist Tigran Mkrtchyan has been promoted to the rank of principal dancer. Second Soloist Chisako Oga has been promoted to the rank of soloist. Artists Soo-bin Lee, Sun Woo Lee, and Haley Schwan have been promoted to second soloists. Boston Ballet II dancers Molly Novak and Nations Wilkes-Davis have been promoted to artists of the Company.
“As Artistic Director, it is truly rewarding to see our talented dancers develop into accomplished, versatile, and exceptional artists,” said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. “I am looking forward to their continued growth as they take on the diversity of repertoire in our upcoming season. Audiences can also look forward to plenty of exciting performance opportunities to enjoy and connect with these wonderful dancers.”
Tigran Mkrtchyan of Yerevan, Armenia trained at the Armenian Ballet School for seven years before receiving a scholarship to study at the Zürich Dance Academy. He was a finalist at the Prix de Lausanne in 2009. Mkrtchyan joined Ballet Zürich in 2009. He joined Boston Ballet as a soloist in 2019 and will return next season as a principal dancer.
Chisako Oga of Carlsbad, California trained at San Francisco Ballet School prior to being promoted to trainee and then apprentice. In 2016, Oga joined Cincinnati Ballet, where she quickly rose to the position of principal dancer. She was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2019. Oga joined Boston Ballet as a second soloist in 2019 and will return next season as a soloist.
Soo-bin Lee of Seoul, South Korea began her training at age 11 at the Korea National Ballet Academy in 2010. She continued at the Sunhwa Arts School and the Korea National Institute for the Gifted in Arts between 2011 and 2014. Lee graduated from the Korea National University of Arts. She is the recipient of multiple awards, including first place in the Vaganova-Prix International Competition in 2016 and Seoul International Dance Competition in 2012. Lee joined Boston Ballet in 2019 as an artist of the Company and will return next season as a second soloist.
Sun Woo Lee of Seoul, South Korea trained at Korea National Institute for the Gifted in Arts, Yewon School, Seoul Arts High School, and Korea National University of Arts. In 2016, Lee won third place at the Varna International Ballet Competition. At the invitation of competition judge Eldar Aliev, Lee joined Russia’s Primorsky Ballet Theatre as a guest principal dancer, and performed as Conrad in Le Corsaire at the Vladivostok Mariinsky Theatre. Lee joined Boston Ballet in 2018 as an artist of the Company and will return next season as a second soloist.
Haley Schwan of Dearborn, Michigan began her dance training at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C., and later at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2010, she joined Staatsballett Berlin as a member of the corps de ballet. Schwan moved to New York City in 2015 to explore her art form from a new perspective as a freelance dancer and choreographer. She joined Boston Ballet as an artist of the Company in 2017 and participated in Boston Ballet’s BB@home: ChoreograpHER in 2018. She will return next season as a second soloist.
Molly Novak of Santa Monica, California trained at Westside School of Ballet. She attended summer intensives at the School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and Boston Ballet School (BBS). In 2017, Novak joined the trainee program at BBS. She was named the BBS Pamela Jones Scholar of 20182019. Novak joined Boston Ballet II in 2019 and will return next season as an artist of the Company.
Nations Wilkes-Davis of Columbia, South Carolina studied with Radenko Pavlovich, artistic director of Columbia Classical Ballet, for several years. He also trained at Kelly/Creek Dance Studio and Pavlovich Ballet School/Columbia Classical Ballet. In 2017, Wilkes-Davis joined Boston Ballet School’s Pre-Professional program and served as an exchange guest apprentice with the Dresden Semperoper Ballett. He joined Boston Ballet II in 2018 and will return next season as an artist of the Company.
For full biographies, please visit bostonballet.org.
FRENCH SINGER-SONGWRITER INSPIRED BY NINA SIMONE RELEASES NEW MUSIC THAT PAYS HOMAGE TO CIVIL RIGHTS AND FREEDOM
Grateful for the freedom she found in becoming a US citizen, activist, singer and moving songwriter Estelle California has released her latest song and video "The Land of Freedom" delivering a message of hope and unity.
Estelle California is certainly an artist on the rise. Talented, passionate and deeply honest her latest EP "My Name is Freedom" is off to a fast start winning praise for its well-written songs and her emotional, hypnotic vocals. In exciting news, Estelle recently announced the release of the third single from the EP, "The Land of Freedom". The beautiful and inspirational lyric video for "the Land of Freedom" has also debuted in support of the song which is available across all major platforms.
"This is an anthem to Martin Luther King's America, a tribute to this united nation made of immigrants," commented the driven artist. "In a climate of political division and racial discrimination, the song reminds us of the role and creeds that America is based on and should stand for."
Estelle migrated to the United States from France in 2013. She was attracted to the United States for its multicultural ethos, stance against racism and welcoming of all people by progressives within the country who celebrate the spirit the nation was built around. She has done her best to bring this spirit into her music to encourage others to think about these topics in positive ways as well, something she has won consistent praise for.
Based in Oakland, she loves California so much she has even adopted it as her last name as an artist. But rest assured with her combination of talent, passion and a positive message, her reach is stretching far beyond the state as a global pop star on the rise.
Pump It Up Music Magazine recently remarked on her new single, "With a song like 'The Land of Freedom,' it shows you how her deft lyrical touch and conversational way with deeply felt emotions could scale to the widest possible audience. The EP showcases her ability to make socially conscious songs universally relatable."
Estelle is also working on putting together a foundation called Black Glory Foundation to Resilience.
Estelle has been contacted by the Gpan Organization in Africa because of her song "Black is the True Light" to perform at their events and share her message.
Gpan's school in Senegal has been singing "Black Is The True Light" with pride! You can view them on Estelle's web site.
Also the song "Black Is The True Light" has been submitted by an important member of the Pan African community to be performed by the Interfaith Choir of Oakland.
Estelle has been described as "the artist the world has been waiting" by Broken 8 Records, and they certainly seem to be right.
For more information and the latest news about Estelle California, be sure to visit www.estellecalifornia.com
About Estelle California
Estelle California is a singer/songwriter born in France. She started playing the piano when she was 5 years old and went on to study saxophone. Later, she was formally trained in opera. Her current life is a far cry from her childhood growing up in France, where she suffered physical and mental abuse and lived in an environment where she saw many people being discriminated against. Estelle spent time in South Africa, and then in 2013, she moved to Oakland, CA, where she felt drawn to the diverse and respectful community. Her love for the state of California and its people led her to change her artist name. As a musician, Estelle draws inspiration from artists like Nina Simone. Her lyrics offer an overall message of empowerment and hope.