Corps de ballet, San Francisco Ballet
Esteban Hernández’s ballet career began in an unusual place: the backyard of his home in Guadalajara,
Mexico. That’s where his father, a former professional
dancer who danced with Dance Theatre of Harlem,
Houston Ballet and Harkness Ballet, taught class for
Hernández and his siblings. Hernández was serious
from the start, and after four years training at home,
he moved to Philadelphia to study at The Rock School
for Dance Education on scholarship. In 2010, a Youth
America Grand Prix scholarship had him traveling
the globe again, this time to the Royal Ballet School
in London. He auditioned for San Francisco Ballet
during his final year at RBS. “I had the chance to visit
my brother”—former SFB dancer and current English
National Ballet lead principal Isaac Hernández—“a
few times while I was still in school,” Hernández says.
“That gave me a great feeling about San Francisco.
The people here are so kind.”
Since joining SFB, Hernández, now 22, has danced
dozens of roles, with a rep that includes everything
from George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations to
Liam Scarlett’s Fearful Symmetries. In addition to his
onstage accomplishments, Hernández participates in
his brother’s outreach efforts to improve ballet educa-
tion in Mexico. “I think it’s important for me as a
dancer, as well as a human being, to give something
back to the people of my country,” he says. —Nicole
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A
PARTNER? Honesty. “It’s hard to
be yourself onstage. I appreciate
it when someone can do that.”
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST
MISCONCEPTION ABOUT MALE
BALLET DANCERS? “That ballet
isn’t masculine. If only people
knew what it takes to become a
WHAT SETS THIS GENERATION
OF MALE DANCERS APART? “A lot
of people I’ve trained with don’t
have ideal ballet bodies, and at
times we were told we wouldn’t
make it. Instead of giving up, we
focused on dancing.”
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST
THRILLING ONSTAGE MOMENT?
“Performing at my brother’s Gala
Despertares in Zapopan, Mexico.
I brought a group of SFB dancers.
It was a meeting of two worlds.”
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL?
“My brother Isaac. I’ve always
aspired to follow in his footsteps.
We’ve accomplished a lot of the
same things, but we’ve found
our individual paths that have
allowed us to grow.”
Artist, Boston Ballet
Dance is in Alexander Maryianowski’s blood: His parents are professional ballroom
dancers. Though Maryianowski did a typical range of sports and activities growing
up in Abilene, TX, it was ballet that stuck. He trained at Ballet Abilene and at the
Houston Ballet Ben Stevenson Academy, and at 17 he decided to follow in his parents’
footsteps and pursue dance professionally.
After a year with Houston Ballet II, Maryianowski joined Boston Ballet II in
2014. Halfway through his second season with BBII, he was handpicked to dance
the principal role of Lensky in John Cranko’s Onegin. Now he’s a full-fledged artist
with the company, learning featured parts in The Nutcracker and William
Forsythe’s Artifact—but the 22-year-old isn’t resting on his laurels. “I stay at the
studio every night to work on technique or on roles I’m dancing,” he says.
“Security is always coming to kick me out, like, ‘We have to close. Go home!’ I’m
just so focused on my dream of becoming a principal dancer.” —Helen Rolfe
ADAGIO OR ALLEGRO? “I love both. Fast is
so exciting and slow is so beautiful. I’m
definitely not someone who’s like, ‘Ugh,
time for adagio…’ ”
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION
ABOUT MALE BALLET DANCERS?
“Sometimes when people hear what I do,
they say something like, ‘Man, those shoes
you have to wear!’ I can’t believe I have to
explain that it’s the girls who wear pointe
shoes, not us!”
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR
DANCING IN THREE EMOJIS?
ARE YOU MORE OF A BASILIO
OR AN ALBRECHT? “I think
I’m more of an Albrecht. But,
WHO ARE YOUR DANCE IDOLS?
“Roberto Bolle, Manuel Legris
and, of course, Nureyev.”