NEW YORK CITY – 21-year-old Mira Nadon’s artistry and grace took center stage this spring when she landed a leading role at the New York City Ballet as the company’s first Asian American female principal dancer.
“It feels like a kind of new era at the company,” Nadon told CBS News, “It’s a great honor and something to grow.”
Nadon began taking ballet at the age of five. His mother, Bipasa, who was born in India, took him to classes near their home in Montclair, California.
Now, Nadon says he’s honored to be a part of the company’s evolution.
“It’s exciting for me to have some responsibility and feel like I can do something to help our company culture,” Nadon said.
Nadon is one of only five Asian American principal dancers in the company’s 75-year history, including current dancers Chun Wai Chan and Anthony Huxley.
“We live in this really diverse city of New York City, and we haven’t always been the most diverse ballet company,” said Jonathan Stafford, the company’s artistic director. “And so what we’re working really hard on is increasing the diversity within our ranks at every level. And what we put on stage can be an inspiration to many, many young women out there who look at her and reflect something in her. Go back, see something in yourself, Reflecting back… she is already a great role model at such a young age. And she represents an important milestone for us that we want to continue.”
When asked about the delay in promoting an Asian American woman to the role of principal dancer, Stafford replied: “I’m not happy that it took this long. But I’m really grateful that we got to where we are. A milestone has been passed. And I think she Will continue to inspire other generations of dancers.”
Stafford believes that bringing a more diverse group of dancers brings more talent to the stage, and Nadon agrees.
“Looking up on stage and seeing such different faces is so special,” Nadon said. “And makes the company more interesting and more vibrant.”