Ballet West promotes its first non-Asian dancers of color to the company’s top level

Ballet West has promoted its first non-Asian dancers of color to the company’s top rung of performers.

Katlyn Addison and Hadriel Diniz, both first soloists with the Salt Lake City-based troupe, will become principal artists for the 2021-2022 season, starting in the fall, the company announced Thursday.

Addison grew up in Campton, Ontario, Canada, and trained with the National Ballet School of Canada. She joined Ballet West in 2011 and has moved up the ranks to demi-soloist in 2014, soloist in 2016, and first soloist in 2018. Among her roles have been The Siren in George Balanchine’s “Prodigal Son,” and the Sugar Plum Fairy in Willam Christensen’s “The Nutcracker.” In 2019, she took part in an exchange between Ballet West and The Scottish Ballet, performing the title character in the premiere of “The Snow Queen.”

Adam Sklute, Ballet West’s artistic director, said in a statement that Addison is “a remarkable artist. She has a depth and passion for her art that every artistic director craves in a dancer.”

Earlier this year, Addison told The Salt Lake Tribune that she wants to “keep the tradition and the aesthetic part of this beautiful, pure art form,” she said. “But it doesn’t have to be one skin pigment to create that aesthetic line or beauty that we’re envisioning in a classical ballerina.”

(Beau Pearson  |  courtesy of Ballet West) Hadriel Diniz performs the title role in Ballet West's production of George Balanchine's "Prodigal Son." Diniz has been named a Principal Artist for Ballet West's 2021-2022 season, the first non-Asian male dancer of color to be promoted to the troupe's top rung of performers.

(Beau Pearson | courtesy of Ballet West) Hadriel Diniz performs the title role in Ballet West’s production of George Balanchine’s “Prodigal Son.” Diniz has been named a Principal Artist for Ballet West’s 2021-2022 season, the first non-Asian male dancer of color to be promoted to the troupe’s top rung of performers.

Diniz comes from Minas Gerais, Brazil, and started training in ballet at age 11. He joined Ballet West in 2015 and rose quickly: demi soloist in 2018, soloist in 2019 and first soloist in 2020. One highlight of his career was landing the title role in Balanchine’s “Prodigal Son.”

“In any role, Hadriel will delight the audience with his stage presence and bravura technique,” Sklute said. “He also is a consummate partner. His love for his art form is palpable and his kindness and generosity of spirit make him a joy to work with.”

They will join an established group of principal artists: Emily Adams, Adrian Fry, Chase O’Connell, Beckanne Sisk and Rex Tilton.

Katherine Lawrence and Arolyn Williams, who have been dancing with Ballet West since 2004, will retire from their positions as principal artists at the end of this season. Lawrence has been a principal artist since 2011; Williams since 2013.

Sklute said Lawrence and Williams “are incredibly gifted and shared their talents with our audience for 17 years. They will be missed and I wish them the very best for their future.”

Other Ballet West dancers who are retiring after this season include Alexander MacFarlan, a first soloist; Katie Critchlow and Emily Neale, soloists; Lindsay Bond, a demi-soloist; and Jordan Richardson and Lucas Horns, both corps artists.

Three former corps artists are returning to Ballet West next season: Amy Potter, promoted to soloist, and Kazlyn Nielsen and Anisa Sinteral, both back in the corps.

Five dancers from Ballet West II are being promoted to the corps: Jazz Khai Bynum, Isabella Martinez Corridon, Robert Fowler, Connor Hammond and Claire Wilson.

(Beau Pearson  |  courtesy of Ballet West) Hadriel Diniz, left, and Katlyn Addison perform together in Ballet West's production of Africa Guzmán's "Sweet and Bitter." Addison and Diniz have been named Principal Artists for Ballet West's 2021-2022 season, the first non-Asian dancers of color to be promoted to the troupe's top rung of performers.

(Beau Pearson | courtesy of Ballet West) Hadriel Diniz, left, and Katlyn Addison perform together in Ballet West’s production of Africa Guzmán’s “Sweet and Bitter.” Addison and Diniz have been named Principal Artists for Ballet West’s 2021-2022 season, the first non-Asian dancers of color to be promoted to the troupe’s top rung of performers.