Nurlan Abougaliev joined PBT as soloist in 2006 and was promoted to principal in 2010. Abougaliev was born in Kazakhstan, where he studied at Almaty Ballet Academy. In 1997, Nurlan moved to Moscow to work with the Russian National Ballet and later Moscow City Ballet. He has toured in the United States, England, China, South Africa, Japan and South Korea. Nurlan came to the United States in 2003 to join the Ballet Internationale, where he has trained with renowned teachers, including Irina Kolpakova and Vladilen Semenov. With Ballet Internationale, Nurlan has performed in International Dance Festivals in Vail and Montreal. He has danced leading roles, such as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Prince Desiree in The Sleeping Beauty and Albrecht in Giselle as well as principal roles in Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Who Cares?, Agon and Serenade. Nurlan's other roles include Paul Taylor's Company B, Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room, Nine Sinatra Songs and Octet, Dwight Rhoden's Ave Maria, Mark Morris’ Maelstrom and Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes , and Ben Stevenson's Dracula. Nurlan and his wife, Aygul Abougalieva, are the proud parents of their daughter and son.
Christopher Budzynski, originally from Erwinna, PA, began his training with his mother at Budzynski Studios located near Philadelphia. He later studied at the North Carolina School for the Arts, The School of American Ballet in New York City and Hungarian National Ballet School in Budapest. He joined Boston Ballet in 1995, and was promoted to first soloist in 1999. He and his wife, Alexandra Kochis, joined PBT in 2006. Christopher's repertory encompasses a variety of classical and contemporary works, including Don Quixote, Dracula, La BayadÃ¨re, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Coppélia, The Sleeping Beauty, Rubies, Theme and Variations, Jiri Kilian's Sarabande, Paul Taylor's Company B, Twyla Tharp's Known by Heart ("Junk") Duet and In the Upper Room, William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Mark Morris’ Maelstrom, Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes and Up and Down and Christopher Wheeldon’s The Four Seasons and Corybantic Ecstasies.
Amanda Cochrane, a native of Spokane, Washington, joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 2009 and was promoted to principal in 2014. She received her early training from Sandra Olgard’s Studio of Dance and Ballet Arts Academy in Spokane. In 2007, she continued her training in the PBT School Graduate Program. She has also studied at summer programs with Ballet West, American Ballet Theatre and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. Since joining the company she has enjoyed dancing in many ballets, including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Kitri in Don Quixote, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room and Nine Sinatra Songs, Caroline in Anthony Tudor's Jardin Aux Lilas, Russian Girl in George Balanchine's Serenade, Cinderella in Septime Webre's Cinderella, Tinkerbell in Jorden Morris' Peter Pan as well as Marie and the Sugar Plum Fairy in Terrence S. Orr's The Nutcracker. Amanda and her husband Bradley are excited for her first season as a principal dancer.
Julia Erickson, originally from Seattle, received her training on a scholarship with Pacific Northwest Ballet School and San Francisco Ballet School. She has toured to Europe and Asia with PNB, and danced with the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet for two seasons prior to joining PBT in 2001. She was promoted to soloist in 2004 and principal in 2009. She has danced principal roles in Balanchine’s Sylvia Pas de Deux, Themes and Variations, Who Cares? and Serenade; the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Diana in Diana & Acteon, and the Sylph in La Sylphide. Her other roles include Lady Capulet in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette, Myrtha in Giselle, Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, and featured roles in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Agon, The Four Temperaments and Divertamento Number 15. She has also danced featured roles in Paul Taylor’s Company B and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room. Julia is the recipient of the 2014 BRAZZY Award for outstanding female dancer and is the creator, along with her fiancé Aaron Ingley, of Barre: A Real Food Bar.
Alexandra, a Massachusetts native, received her early training from Mimi Ferrell of Ballet Arts Academy in Boxford, MA, and Iacob Lascu of Lascu School of Ballet in Bloomfield Hills, MI. She continued her studies at The Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education,The Kirov Academy in Washington D.C. and The School of American Ballet. She joined Boston Ballet II in 1995 and the company in 1998. Since joining PBT in 2006, she has enjoyed the opportunity to dance principal roles in the company’s productions of Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Don Quixote, Coppèlia, Peter Pan, Cinderella, The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge® - The Ballet and Balanchine’s Sylvia Pas de Deux and Serenade. She also danced the roles of Juliette in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Romeo et Juliette, Stella in John Neumeier’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Caroline in Antony Tudor’s Jardin Aux Lilas. Some of her contemporary credits include the Cowgirl in Agnes DeMille’s Rodeo and featured roles in Paul Taylor’s Company B, Mark Morris’ Maelstrom and Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room.
Yoshiaki Nakano, a native of Japan, received his early training at the Elite Ballet Studio in Osaka, Japan. He later trained at San Francisco Ballet School and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School's Graduate Program. Yoshiaki won the gold medal at the 2013 Beijing International Ballet and Choreography Competition in China and the silver medal at the 2010 World Ballet Competition in Orlando, Florida, and, in 2014, Dance Magazine reviewed Yoshiaki as one of the year’s top 25 Dancers to Watch. Yoshiaki has performed featured roles as Prince Siegfried in PBT’s Swan Lake, Basilio in Don Quixote, the Jester in Septime Webre’s Cinderella and the Peasant Pas de Deux in Giselle as well as performances in PBT's The Nutcracker, Balanchine’s Agon, Twyla Tharp's In The Upper Room and Nine Sinatra Songs, and Mark Morris's Maelstrom and Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes. This is Yoshiaki’s fifth year with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and his first as a principal.