Russell Janzen, who grew up in Wyndmoor, was named a principal dancer at New York City Ballet, the company announced on Sunday. This makes Janzen, whose family still lives in Wyndmoor, one of the highest ranking dancers in American ballet.
He is scheduled to debut the principal males lead in Jerome Robbins' Glass Pieces tonight opposite Maria Kowroski.
Janzen started ballet at age 6 at Philadelphia's Rock School for Dance Education, and studied there until 2005, when at age 16, when he moved to New York to attend the School of American Ballet.
Janzen was born in Bridgeport, Conn., and attended two summer programs at the School of American Ballet, which is affiliated with New York City Ballet, before enrolling full time. There, he received the 2007 Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise, given to the school's most talented student dancers.
He became an apprentice with City Ballet in October 2007 and joined the corps de ballet in June 2008. He was promoted to soloist in October 2014.
As a soloist, he performed principal roles in August Bournonville's Bournonville Divertissements, George Balanchine’s Cortège Hongrois, Peter Martins’ Morgen, Fearful Symmetries, and Swan Lake, Justin Peck’s Everywhere We Go, and Jerome Robbins’ Glass Pieces. He also originated roles in several new works. During the City Ballet's run of The Sleeping Beauty, Janzen made his debut in the role of Gold.