Here is the press release announcing new dancers.
A few thoughts...
Interesting to see that Luke Ingham is coming west after a year or so at Houston Ballet. One wonders whether Danielle Rowe might follow at some point. Stanton Welch does not exactly have a great track record for keeping dancers at Houston Ballet, but a soloist contract at SFB is certainly worth more than a demi soloist at Houston Ballet. Either Welch didn't recognize the talent he had, or didn't have the money for the promotion needed to keep Ingham in town.
Daniel Baker, is of course, now a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, and already - it seems - getting far more publicity than any ballet company could provide. I look forward to seeing his first performance on Wednesday - his Facebook entries suggest that it's in a dance form that is challenging for him, so not ballet or contemporary.
I noticed that of 19 principal dancers, only 2 are US born or trained, and NONE list any training at the San Francisco Ballet school. Eight came in as principals, 6 as soloists, 4 as corps and one as an apprentice. It can't exactly be motivating to local or US dancers coming up through the school to see such a disproportionate number of imports. It's not good to get into the ABT trap of importing so much that your locally/internally trained talent flees elsewhere because there are no opportunities to grow/be promoted. I would MUCH rather see companies focus on their schools - and bringing in foreign talent then - rather than importing the latest foreign hot talent to fill a so called gap. (It also has to be a nightmare to take the company on foreign tour - now many of those 17 are likely to at least have green cards, but there must be a lot of visas to deal with).
I'm am NOT opposed in any way to bringing in foreign dancers, and I don't think there is an easy answer. Great talent of any kind should be a step up in the immigration ladder. But, as with any other employer, it should not become regular practice to import foreign workers rather than putting some effort into training and nurturing local talent. For instance, here in Alberta, there seems to be a constant shortage of skilled tradesworkers (plumbers, electricians, oil rig type jobs), and companies say they have no choice but to import talent. Yet, it is constantly pointed out that these same companies (and the government to some extent) are resistant to funding/running the training and apprentice programs needed to produce skilled tradesman. Training/apprentice programs take time, money and commitment to produce workers, and there's always room for bringing in specific talent for some jobs, but in the long run, investing in your local/national talent is better for everyone.