St. Pete's Calvin Royal III promoted to main company of NYC's American Ballet Theater

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From Rebecca Milzoff's story in the New York Times:

At New York’s major ballet companies, every summer brings a flurry of promotions just as momentous, though hardly as well publicized, as those of soloists and principal dancers: the admission of new apprentices and corps members, the young performers whose names are clustered in tiny print at the bottom of the company roster, who dance as so many snowflakes, waltzing flowers and decorative court members. With the troupes heading back to rehearsal rooms — for an inaugural fall season at New York City Ballet, and for Alexei Ratmansky’s new “Nutcracker” at Ballet Theater — these talented few are about to start a new chapter in their careers.

“As a director, if you can give someone good news, savor that moment,” Kevin McKenzie, Ballet Theater’s artistic director, said. He had recently delivered good news to Calvin Royal III, 21, who will become Ballet Theater’s only new apprentice this year. Mr. Royal, one of the six men in ABT II, was at Jacob’s Pillow, the idyllic dance retreat, taking classes this summer and pondering career options outside the Ballet Theater bubble when he received a call asking him to return to New York. Mr. McKenzie wanted to meet with him.

“When I got back, I found out I got into ABT,” Mr. Royal said, still exhilarated. “It was just like, God is so good.”

In addition to one apprentice, Ballet Theater accepted only three new corps members.

Do we know how to pick 'em or what? Back in 2006, CL (then The Weekly Planet) featured young ballet dancer Calvin Royal III on our cover as one of Pinellas' young artists to watch. Since then, he's more than fulfilled the prediction of Suzanne Pomerantzeff, his teacher at Gibbs H.S./Pinellas County Center for the Arts: "His potential," said Pomerantzell, "is limitless."

After winning a scholarship to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of NYC's American Ballet Theater, he went on to become a member of ABT II, Ballet Theater's studio company. Now, according to today's New York Times, he's received a promotion: he will become an apprentice in the main company — ABT's only new apprentice this year.

Read more of the story, including a splashy pic of Calvin on the ABT stage, after the break.

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