Ballet Dancer, 21
This has been dancer Chase Finlay’s year. His breakout performance in the New York City Ballet’s Apollo last May made him the star of the season. It was no doubt one of the main reasons for his promotion—after nearly three years with the company—to soloist in July. The Fairfield, Connecticut, native made the switch from lacrosse to ballet at the age of 8, after watching a live performance of The Nutcracker. “In the second act, the Chinese character comes out of a box and he’s doing all these split jumps and all these cool acrobatic leaps,” Finlay remembers. “I sat straight up in my seat and I told my mom I had to start.” Finlay, who trained at Ballet Academy East and then The School of American Ballet, says he initially had his eyes on a more traditional company, but his experiences working through the “more complicated, more in-depth” steps of the NYCB repertory have slightly altered his course. Now a full-fledged New Yorker, and looking forward to the season ahead, Finlay is careful not to let all the attention and accolades go to his head. “It has felt like a great accomplishment,” he says. “But I just have to keep my head down and keep working.”
Photo: Chase Finlay in New York, October 2011. Shirt and jeans: Diesel.