Sarah Hairston

Academy Director

Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Ms. Hairston began her early ballet training at Charleston Ballet Theatre. At the age of 9, she continued her training in Columbia, South Carolina under the direction of Ann Brodie at the Calvert Brodie School of Dance and later went on to graduate from the North Carolina School of the Arts. Upon graduation, Ms. Hairston joined Boston Ballet II where she danced for a year and in 2001 she joined Cincinnati Ballet as a Corps de Ballet member. Ms. Hairston was promoted to Soloist in 2006 and later to Principal in 2010 after a successful debut as Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. Throughout her performance career, she has held featured roles in the breadth of classical repertoire including Myrtha and Giselle in Giselle, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the Lilac Fairy, Carabosse and Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Snow Queen and the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, among others. In addition to the classics, Ms. Hairston’s Balanchine repertoire includes the Siren in Prodigal Son, the Second Movement in Symphony in C, Emeralds in Jewels, Dark Angel in Serenade and “The Man I Love” in Who Cares?. Ms. Hairston has also performed in work by such notable choreographers as Adam Hougland, Luca Vegetti, Jessica Lang, Amy Seiwert, Val Caniparoli and Yuri Possokhov. She has danced with Cincinnati Opera for many seasons and choreographed their production of Die Fledermaus in 2016. Since 2006, Ms. Hairston has been an instructor in Cincinnati Ballet’s Otto M. Budig Academy and has been promoted to the role of Academy Director in the 2016-2017 Season.

“Being a principal is not just about superior facility, technique, natural ability and determination. Sarah has all of that and more: a strong sense of confidence.”

Victoria Morgan, Cincinnati Ballet Artistic Director & CEO

“Watching her dance, you can see her thoughtfulness and consistency. She imbues every movement with value and importance, reaching deeper to perfect her technique.”

-Victoria Morgan

Professional History

  • Charleston Ballet Theatre (1983-1989)
  • Calvert Brodie School of Dance with Ann Brodie (1989-1997)
  • North Carolina School of the Arts (1997-1999)
  • Hungarian National Ballet
  • Boston Ballet: School, Boston Ballet II
  • Cincinnati Ballet: Corps de Ballet, Soloist, Senior Soloist, Principal Dancer

Favorite Roles

  • Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Marie in Val Caniparoli’s Nutcracker
  • The principal role in Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena
  • Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty
  • Coquette in Balanchine’s La Sonnambula
  • Giselle in Giselle
  • Emeralds in Balanchine’s Jewels
  • Mina Murray in Dracula
  • Adam Hougland’s Mozart’s Requiem
  • Principal couple from Balanchine’s Theme and Variations
  • Princess in Adam Hougland’s Firebird
  • Principal couple from Jessica Lang’s For Always, Forever
  • 2nd Movement in Balanchine’s Symphony in C
  • Juliet in Romeo & Juliet
  • Odette/Odille in Swan Lake
  • Adam Hougland’s All My Favorite People
  • Amy Seiwert’s Yesterday, Tomorrow

Photography: Peter Mueller

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