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More Dancers Leaving PNB with Last Performances during Season Encore, June 18-22, 2021

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From the Season Encore press release,  William Lin-Yee, Leah Merchant, Nancy Casciano, and Angeli Kiana Mamon-Urrea (a DanceChance alumna) will be leaving PNB at the end of this season, and will be featured in the Season Encore Performance, which will stream from June 18-22.


“Season Encore offers a unique opportunity to celebrate dancers’ careers at PNB,” said Pacific Northwest Ballet Artistic Director Peter Boal, in announcing the program line-up. “Whether tenures span seasons or decades, we recognize the profound contribution each dancer makes to our company.”


“I’ve watched four men enter a studio each day for weeks and witnessed true camaraderie and friendship,” said Mr. Boal. “Ryan Cardea, Ezra Thomson, Jerome Tisserand, and William Lin-Yee are fast friends, and Ezra has made a splendid celebration of that bond. Will is - at the core - always supportive, positive, committed, musical, and downright funny. We’ve tapped him for his humor in Drosselmeier, Doctor Coppelius, Sechs Tanze, and Basilio. He’s also a Prince and a Cavalier, not only in his thoughtful partnering, but in his dancing and presence. I’ve been working with Will since he was a boy and he has never wavered in his generosity, care for those around him, and true professionalism. We are all grateful and appreciative of his contributions to PNB.”

William Lin-Yee is from San Francisco, California. He trained at Contra Costa Ballet Centre, San Francisco Ballet School, and the School of American Ballet. In 2004, he joined New York City Ballet as an apprentice and also was a Mae. L. Wien Award recipient. Mr. Lin-Yee joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2008 and was promoted to soloist in 2014 and principal in 2016.


Leah Merchant beguiles in her interpretations of choreography by Alejandro Cerrudo, Jiri Kylian, Benjamin Millepied, Crystal Pite, and Robyn Mineko Williams,” continued Mr. Boal. “Her conviction and vulnerability strike a chord in contemporary works. She is also regal and generous as Sugar Plum Fairy and Titania. Leah takes audiences on a journey; unknown and enchanting. Fellow dancer and choreographer Christopher D’Ariano captures that journey in a tribute piece d’occasion as we recognize Leah’s unparalleled artistic signature.”

Leah Merchant is from Mobile, Alabama. She trained at North Carolina School of the Arts, the School of American Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Ms. Merchant joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 2007 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2008 and soloist in 2016.


Nancy Casciano brought a natural talent to the stage and welcome laughter to the studio. She danced countless roles in The Nutcracker and seemed truly at home in works by Balanchine. She created two original works for NEXT STEP and taught her choreography to students in our school. Nancy now embarks on a new career, and we thank her for bringing her singular joy of dance to the stage.”

Nancy Casciano is from Atlanta, Georgia. She studied at the School of American Ballet and PNB School, and she attended summer courses at PNB School, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell. Ms. Casciano joined PNB as an apprentice in 2014 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2015.


“In 2003, Angeli Kiana Mamon-Urrea took part in an audition along with fellow third-graders for a program she had never heard of called DanceChance. Weeks later, she found herself at the barre in first position, wishing she was in her schoolyard playing tetherball. It wasn’t long until her passion shifted to ballet, and dreams of a career as a ballerina took hold. In 2015, that dream came true when Angeli became the first female DanceChance alum to join the company. Now, months after welcoming son, Apollo, into the world, Angeli is discovering and following a new path and passion.”

Angeli Kiana Mamon-Urrea is from Seattle, Washington. She trained on scholarship at PNB School, beginning as a DanceChance student in 2003. She attended summer courses at PNB School, Miami City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, and the School of American Ballet. In 2014, Ms. Mamon-Urrea participated in PNB School’s exchange with the Palucca University of Dance in Dresden, where she also was a guest apprentice with Dresden Semperoper Ballett. Ms. Mamon-Urrea joined PNB as an apprentice in 2015, becoming the first female DanceChance student to join the Company. She was promoted to corps de ballet in 2016.

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In order to know, a ballet professional has to speak about it.  

At PNB, the only other dancer I can remember who did speak about it was Ariana Lallone, who said she wanted to retired one year later than she was forced to.

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Oh, no -- Emma Love Suddarth is, for another week :( , the reigning senior corps member, and the depth in which she imbued corps and demi-soloist roles was evident, too, in the feature roles we have seen her in over the past 15 years.  The list is at the end of her PNB bio:


I wish her health and happiness in whatever her future holds. :flowers: :flowers: :flowers:

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To see the story while it's still up, click the circle with "PNB" in it.

Sarah Pasch was the dancer who took over today's PNB Instagram account: different dancers have shared the duties.  There's footage from the backstage vantage of Company Class onstage, and from the performance.  The featured dancers are:  Noelani Pantastico and Christopher D'Ariano (Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier), Cecilia Iliesiu and Joshua Grant (Hot Chocolate), Sarah Pasch (Arabian), Price Suddarth (Tea), Madison Abeo (Marzipan), Kyle Davis (Candy Cane), and Lesley Rausch (Dewdrop).  

We still get her for another half year, but :flowers: to Pasch in her new profession next year!

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