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Leaps and bounds: Chyrstyn Fentroy promoted to principle dancer at Boston Ballet

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Leaps and bounds: Chyrstyn Fentroy promoted to principle dancer at Boston Ballet
Chyrstyn Fentroy in George Balanchine’s Apollo © The George Balanchine Trust. PHOTO: BROOKE TRISOLINI; COURTESY OF BOSTON BALLET

Chyrstyn Fentroy has been promoted from soloist to principal dancer in the Boston Ballet Company. Fentroy joined the Boston Ballet in 2017 and for several years was the only Black female dancer in the company. Today, as she ascends to a new position in the organization, she moves with a more diverse group of dancers.

“Having joined Boston Ballet as a corps de ballet member, becoming a principal dancer is such a special achievement for me,” said Fentroy. “This is a step that means I will be given opportunities that will challenge and push me as an artist, ultimately encouraging the continued growth I am always striving for.”

Chyrstyn Fentroy in Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker. PHOTO: BROOKE TRISOLINI; COURTESY OF BOSTON BALLET

Originally from Los Angeles, Fentroy began her dance training with her mother Ruth and moved to New York City for a scholarship with the Joffrey Ballet School. She spent five years performing as a principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem under Virginia Johnson and showcased her talents in Austria, Honduras, Italy, Israel and Turkey during that period. Here in Boston, she’s found a strong dance community.

“I can undoubtedly say that I have found my home here, and now with this promotion, I really get to enjoy this home to its fullest,” says Fentroy. “I will forever be thankful to Boston Ballet for sharing with me the space to grow as a dancer, choreographer, a mentor and, most importantly, a person.”

At the Boston Ballet, she’s performed in Mikko Nissinen’s “The Nutcracker” (Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop, Arabian Coffee, Snow Queen); Paulo Arrais’ “ELA Rhapsody in Blue” and Justin Peck’s “In Creases,” among many others.

When Fentroy joined the company, she was the only Black female dancer. This was a bit of a culture shock after a childhood in Los Angeles and work with Dance Theatre of Harlem. In fact, Fentroy was the second Black female dancer to be part of the Boston Ballet in its history, following Tai Jimenez who was with the company for 12 years prior to Fentroy’s arrival.

In September of 2021, Michaela De Prince, hired as a second soloist, joined Fentroy. There are five Black men in the company and Fentroy has participated in dialogues with the organization about increasing diversity and inclusion. She is optimistic and sees the change at work.

Fentroy says, “With this deepened sense of belonging, I look forward to inspiring future generations of artists from all types of social backgrounds to find their own homes within classical ballet.”