Pennsylvania Ballet ballet mistress leaps to Indiana University

Kyra Nichols
Pennsylvania Ballet ballet mistress Kyra Nichols danced with New York City Ballet for 33 years.

Kyra Nichols, the Pennsylvania Ballet ballet mistress who recently resigned from the company, will become a faculty member at Indiana University, the school confirmed Friday.

Nichols and former Pacific Northwest Ballet dancer Carla Körbes will join Indiana University’s Jacobs School on Aug. 1, pending approval by the board of trustees.

Nichols and her husband, David Gray, Pennsylvania Ballet’s executive director, announced their departure several weeks ago. At that time, Indiana University declined to comment, but on Friday, officials said she would hold the school’s Kathy Ziliak Anderson chair in ballet, which previously was held by Violette Verdy, who died last year.

Körbes will be an associate professor.

Nichols has followed in the footsteps of Verdy, a longtime New York City ballerina who worked closely with George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Nichols, 58, danced with New York City Ballet for 33 years, first as an apprentice in 1974, then as a member of the corps de ballet, and, starting in 1979, as principal dancer. She retired in 2007.

Gray, 57, became Pennsylvania Ballet’s executive director in March 2015 after serving in an interim role for eight months. He leaves the post June 30, and the company has launched a search for a new leader.