Born in Sun Valley, Idaho, Isabella Boylston began dancing at the age of three. Throughout Boylston’s early childhood, she participated in ballet classes among many other activities including skiing and gymnastics. In 1994 she began training at The Boulder Ballet. Albeit only a small studio–where Boylston reveled in more expressive and playful interpretive dance–each class was accompanied by live piano music. This introduction to dance, as not only a physical challenge but one of musicality, resonated with her. Her fascination and newfound determination led her to the Academy of Colorado Ballet in Denver, Colorado. It was a testimony to her tenacity that each day, at the age of 12, she commuted two hours on a public bus to study there. Her hard work won her the gold medal at the 2001 Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City and a year later, she found herself at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida.
Boylston joined the American Ballet Theater Studio Company in 2005, the main company as an apprentice in May 2006 and the corps de ballet in March 2007. During her time as a member of the corps de ballet Boylston’s talent flourished in varied roles including the lead in Theme and Variations and the Ballerina in The Bright Stream. She also had principal roles choreographed for her in Benjamin Millepied’s Capriccio and From Here on Out. In 2009 Boylston was awarded the Princess Grace Award and subsequently nominated for the 2010 Prix Benois de la Danse. She was promoted to Soloist in 2011, and was the recipient of the Clive Barnes Award that same year. In 2012, she debuted as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake at the Metropolitan Opera House. Other mentionable roles include the title roles in Giselle and Firebird, and Kitri in Don Quixote. She was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2014.
As a dancer, Boylston is known for her beautiful lines, powerful jump, expansive range, and her musicality, thus more diverse roles are not only a welcome challenge but also a delight for choreographers. In addition to playing muse for Millepied, Christopher Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky have created leading roles for her. As a performer, she continues to explore the depth of each character by training with an acting coach. Boylston’s passion and curiosity for the arts has even led her to play costume designer; she created costumes for the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Three Movements.
Recently, she has appeared as a guest star with the Royal Danish Ballet and the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia. Boylston is the recipient of the 2013-2014 Annenberg Fellowship. She lives in NYC with her husband.
— Chelsea Zalopany