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PNB promotions announced

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Last night, in front of the curtain at the start of the magnificent "All Wheeldon" program (and with Chris Wheeldon in the house), Director Peter Boal announced 2 promotions: Leslie Rausch and Rachel Foster have been promoted to Principal. Both highly deserved. Conspicuous by its absence, there were no promotions from corps to soloist.

On a personal note, as some may remember, some 6 years ago I rather arrogantly proclaimed myself as Leslie Rausch's number one fan. I've seen her rise from someone in the back of the corps that I simply could not keep my eyes from, to this final triumph last night. Congratulations Leslie :clapping:................no one could be more pleased than I (your number one fan :wink:). I'm excited to see where you take yourself in the future with this confidence booster under your belt. You give me so much, but I know I've only seen half of what's possible. You are a remarkable dancer.

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Gary Tucker sent me the text of Peter Boal's remarks in his curtain speech about the promotions -- here it is:

“It gives me great pleasure to announce two well deserved promotions tonight.

“Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Rachel Foster came to PNB from Pittsburgh Ballet Theater in 2002. She was promoted to soloist in 2008 and becomes a Principal tonight. Initially making her mark in more contemporary works like Ulysses Dove’s Vespers and Red Angels and Molissa Fenley’s State of Darkness, Rachel has become a dancer of tremendous range with recent triumphs in George Balanchine’s Coppelia as a feisty Swanilda, as a winning heroine in Kent Stowell’s Cinderella and last June as a mesmerizing Giselle. Rachel dances tonight in Polyphonia and can also be seen in After the Rain tomorrow night and next week. Rachel, we applaud you for your exceptional work and many extraordinary performances. Congratulations.

“Lesley Rausch trained with Shi Lee Wu in Columbus Ohio and at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School, where she originated the role of Snow White. At the invitation of Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, Lesley joined the corps de ballet in 2001. She caught my eye the moment I arrived and I cast her as the lead in Red Angels at our opening gala performance. She has demonstrated impressive range in roles as different as the showgirl in Balanchine’s Slaughter on Tenth Avenue and the charming Princess Aurora in Ronald Hynd’s Sleeping Beauty. She’s also just coming back from an injury and won’t dance tonight or in this program, but is already preparing for LOVE STORIES. Please join me in congratulating Lesley Rausch on her promotion to Principal.”

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