Angel Corella is regarded as one of the finest dancers of his generation. His talent, passion, and technique have brought him worldwide acclaim and established him as one of the most recognizable names in dance. Angel was appointed artistic director of Pennsylvania Ballet beginning with our 2014/2015 season.
Angel joined American Ballet Theatre in 1995 and quickly rose to the rank of principal dancer. Throughout his 17-year career with them, he excelled in a wide range of repertory, performing such iconic roles as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, and the Nutcracker Prince in The Nutcracker. He has also appeared as a guest artist with the Royal Ballet in London, the Kirov Ballet in Russia, and New York City Ballet. As well, Angel has received numerous awards, including 1st prize in the National Ballet Competition in Spain (1991), the Prix Benois de la Danse (2000), and the National Award of Spain (2003). He has danced for Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Sophia of Spain, and for Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
Angel’s onstage passion and talents have translated to his behind-the-scenes career as well. From 2008 to 2014, he served as director for his own company, the Barcelona Ballet (formerly the Corella Ballet), in his native Spain, where he is regarded as a national treasure. His was the first classical ballet company established in the country in 20 years. And while Angel retired from American Ballet Theater in June 2012, he continued to dance with his own company.
A passionate teacher and mentor to young professional dancers, Angel has taught at various summer programs as well as leading dance schools, including the Royal Ballet School in London. He now applies that same passion, verve, and balletic insight to the dancers of Pennsylvania Ballet.
James Payne brings 18 years of teaching and arts management experience along with an 11-year professional dancing career.
His ballet training began in Phoenix, AZ in a small school directed by Michael Fokine’s great niece, Nina Marlow, and on full scholarship at San Francisco Ballet School. At 17, he was invited to join Ballet West, where he danced ballets by George Balanchine, Marius Petipa, Paul Taylor, Ben Stevenson, and many others. In 1994, he was invited by Ben Stevenson to join the world-renowned Houston Ballet, where he performed ballets by William Forsythe, Glen Tetley, Jiri Kylian, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, and many others, and was promoted to soloist. Jim has performed throughout the United States, Canada, and China. While a dancer, he served on the National Board for the American Guild of Musical Artists and was Union representative for both Ballet West and Houston Ballet dancers.
Upon his retirement from the stage, he transitioned to the management side of Houston Ballet, serving as Company Manager for 2 years. Although successful in this position, he realized he needed to return to the studio to share his knowledge and passion for dance through education. He and his wife created a ballet academy from the ground up, utilizing his experience gained as both an administrator and an artist. Overseeing all artistic and administrative aspects of the school, Jim has developed a thriving program for over 200 ballet students that has been successful artistically and financially for 17 years. Students from his academy have gone on to dance at Houston Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater, and been accepted to prestigious ballet programs at University of Oklahoma, Indiana University, and University of Utah. Jim takes great pride in having created a positive training environment for both professional and recreational students.
Jim has been a Summer Instructor for Houston Ballet since 2008, teaching technique, pointe, pas de deux, variations, and repertory, and ,since February of 2018, has taught all levels of the Houston Ballet’s Boys’ Program. Jim has also been guest teacher for Ballet West Summer Intensive since 2012. Additionally, Jim was repititeur for choreographer Trey McIntyre setting ballets on Milwaukee Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Ballet Florida, and Queensland Ballet in Brisbane Australia.
Jim is married and has two children; one studies animation at Texas A&M University and the other is on scholarship at the University of Oklahoma in the Ballet department. He is thrilled to join the team at Pennsylvania Ballet and is looking forward to growing the solid program they have built.