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 Nine Sinatra Songs and Octet, Dwight Rhoden's Ave Maria, Mark Morris' Maelstrom and Ben Stevenson's Dracula. Nurlan and his wife, Aygul Abougalieva, are the proud parents of their young daughter and baby 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.
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, "An Episode in His Past" in Jardin Aux Lilas and featured roles in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 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 and Nine Sinatra Songs.
Alexandra Kochis, a Massachusetts native, received her training at The Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education as well as The Kirov Academy in Washington D.C. and The School of American Ballet. She joined Boston Ballet II in 1995, and was promoted into the company in 1998. Since joining PBT in 2006, some of her featured roles have been Juliette in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Swanilda in Coppélia, Stella in John Neumeier's A Streetcar Named Desire and Balanchine's Sylvia Pas de Deux. Some of her contemporary credits include Paul Taylor’s Company B and Mark Morris’ Maelstrom. Lauri Stallings’ glint, and the cowgirl in Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo. She has also had roles created on her in Viktor Plotnikov's Shall We Dance, Dwight Rhoden's Chromatic and Lauri Stalling's Glint.
Christine Schwaner is from Brazil, where she began her training with Maria Clara Salles in her hometown of Bello Horizonte. She first came to the United States to participate in the New York International Ballet Competition, where she was a finalist and was invited to join Cleveland Ballet in Ohio. Her repertoire includes Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Roland Petit’s Carmen, Giselle, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Don Quixote and Coppélia. She has also performed in George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations and The Four Temperaments. Christine is married to PBT Soloist Alexandre Silva, and both are delighted to be a part of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.