Philadelphia Ballet announces that Davit Karapetyan has been named Director of School of Philadelphia Ballet. An acclaimed performer and dance educator, Karapetyan joins Philadelphia’s leading school of ballet following five years as co-artistic director of the Pennsylvania Ballet Academy, preceded by over a decade as a principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet. He will begin in this role on August 22.
“We are thrilled to welcome Davit to Philadelphia Ballet,” said Angel Corella, The Ruth & A. Morris Williams, Jr. Artistic Director. “Throughout his career, Davit has continually distinguished himself both as a performer and a teacher of ballet’s next generation. His wide range of experience, depth of knowledge, and passion for ballet education make him the ideal person to lead the School boldly into the future.”
Davit Karapetyan joins School of Philadelphia Ballet after five years as co-artistic director of the Pennsylvania Ballet Academy in Camp Hill, PA. Born in Yerevan, Armenia, Karapetyan received his training at the Armenian School of Ballet and the Schweizerische Ballettberufsschule in Zurich, Switzerland. His extensive experience includes 12 years as a principal dancer with the San Francisco Ballet, and six as a soloist with the Zurich Ballet. Karapetyan served on the jury for Prix de Lausanne in 2018, and has been a guest teacher with San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Philadelphia Ballet and more.
“I am deeply honored to join School of Philadelphia Ballet, and am excited to grow its programs and expand its reach,” said Davit Karapetyan. “I look forward to working with students in Philadelphia and beyond to develop their abilities as the next generation of ballet artists, and to instill the skills and discipline necessary to become confident and successful young adults.”
Davit Karapetyan is the recipient of numerous international awards and honors. He is the recipient of a gold and silver medal from the Armenian Ballet Competition, a prizewinner at the Prix de Lausanne in 1999, a winner (with Vanessa Zahorian) of Best Couple in the Senior Division at the 2006 USA International Ballet Competition, and a recipient of the Isadora Duncan Award for Best Ensemble Performance. Karapetyan’s 2015 film, Meran vor Aprink, earned an Emmy Award from the San Francisco/Northern California chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Among his many leading roles are the Nutcracker Prince and King of the Snow in The Nutcracker; Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake; Albrecht in Giselle; Romeo in Romeo & Juliet; Onegin in Onegin; Basilio in Don Quixote; and principal roles in numerous works by George Balanchine, including Diamonds, Divertimento No. 15, The Four Temperaments, Rubies, Scotch Symphony, and Symphony in C, among others. Karapetyan has been featured in numerous PBS “Great Performances” television and theatrical broadcasts, including the Nutcracker Prince in Helgi Tomasson’s The Nutcracker (2008); Sea Witch in John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid (2011); and Romeo in Helgi Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet (2015).
Karapetyan will assume the leadership of School of Philadelphia Ballet from outgoing director James Payne, who departs from Philadelphia Ballet after more than four years in this role.
“I, like so many others at Philadelphia Ballet, am truly grateful to Jim Payne for his years of devoted leadership at the School and his commitment to first-class ballet education for our students of all ages,” said Shelly Power, the Dr. Carolyn Newsom Executive Director. “Likewise, I am delighted that Davit is joining our organization, and am confident he will further our tradition of excellence and strengthen our reputation as the region’s leading school of ballet.”
School of Philadelphia Ballet offers the highest caliber dance education of any program in the Greater Philadelphia area, providing students with exceptional technical training and unparalleled performance opportunities. Founded by Barbara Weisberger, a protégé of George Balanchine, the school carries on his honored tradition of (and devotion to) developing young artists and preparing them to become successful professionals in today’s competitive ballet landscape. The School provides a complete and comprehensive ballet education for its students, starting with movement classes for the youngest learners and progressing to the level of training needed to sustain a career as a working ballet professional. Each student is individually evaluated and placed according to their ability level by a dedicated faculty of current and former members of Philadelphia Ballet, along with some of the industry’s finest dance educators.