PBT Welcomes Five New Company Dancers

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has signed five new full-time dancers to the company roster for its 45th Anniversary Season. The new corps de ballet dancers will make their main-stage PBT  debut at the company’s 45th Anniversary Season opener, The Sleeping Beauty with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Orchestra, onstage Oct. 24-26, at the Benedum Center. 

Three of the new dancers – Marisa Grywalski, Michaela King and Masahiro Haneji – come to the company from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School Graduate Program. PBT also welcomes dancers Jake Unger and Lucius Kirst who come to Pittsburgh from Houston Ballet II and Ballet San Jose respectively.

Marisa Grywalski

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Marisa Grywalski joins PBT for her first season from the PBT School Graduate Program, where she trained since 2011. As a PBT School student, Grywalski performed in PBT main-stage productions, including “Swan Lake,” Terrence S. Orr’s annual production of “The Nutcracker,” “Giselle” and George Balanchine’s “Serenade.” Grywalski has also received training at Pacific Northwest Ballet School and at Houston Ballet Academy.

Masahiro Haneji

A native of Japan, Masahiro Haneji joins the company from the PBT School Graduate Program. Haneji trained with Houston Ballet Academy and Houston Ballet II before enrolling in the PBT School Graduate Program in 2012. Haneji has earned honors in a number of international ballet competitions, advancing to the semi-final round of the 2011 Prix de Lausanne competition and earning the bronze medal in the 2014 World Ballet Competition’s pas de deux category.  With Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Haneji has performed as a graduate student in PBT productions of “The Nutcracker,” “Jardin Aux Lilas” and “Swan Lake.”

Michaela King

Michaela King grew up in North Carolina, and joins the company for her first season from the PBT School Graduate Program.  Michaela has trained extensively with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Chautauqua Institution, The Rock School and Carolina Ballet and Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, where she received the opportunity to perform Serenade at the Kennedy Center as a high school student. As a PBT School graduate student, King performed in  many PBT productions, including “Don Quixote,” “Swan Lake,” “The Nutcracker,” “Cinderella” and George Balanchine’s “Serenade.”

Lucius Kirst

A native of Los Angeles, Lucius Kirst joins Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre for his first season. Lucius previously performed with Ballet San Jose as a member of the corps de ballet, and was also a member of the Studio Company at American Ballet Theatre, where he danced on full scholarship. Kirst trained on full scholarship at The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre in New York City, and received his early training at City Ballet School in San Francisco and Marin Ballet in California. He has also participated in summer intensive programs at American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet.

Jake Unger

Jake Unger comes to PBT for his first season from Houston Ballet II – the second company of Houston Ballet. Unger began his training at the California Dance Academy, and went on to train with the Colburn School Professional Training Program, Yuri Grigoriev School of Ballet and Houston Ballet Academy. He has also completed summer intensive programs at the School of American Ballet – the official training institution of New York City Ballet – and San Francisco School of Ballet.