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Boston Ballet tweaks its roster

Boston Ballet's artistic director, Mikko Nissinen, announced yesterday that seven dancers have been promoted for the upcoming season, including Romi Beppu and Karine Seneca, who will become principal dancers. Nissinen wouldn't say whether the ballet, which faced an attendance drop during last year's holiday run of ''The Nutcracker," would end up with a balanced budget for the fiscal year ended June 30.

Beppu, who joined Boston Ballet as a member of the corps in 1998, danced the lead in ''The Sleeping Beauty" last season. Seneca, hired as a soloist in 2004, danced the lead in ''La Sylphide."

''Romi is striking looking, incredibly flexible, and just commands the stage," said Nissinen, who is entering his fourth full season with Boston Ballet. ''Karine brings sort of an incredible warmness and overall harmony and such an honest approach. When you look at her, you sort of just melt."

The roster changes are far less dramatic than after Nissinen's first full season, when four of the company's principals -- April Ball, Simon Ball, Jennifer Gelfand, and Paul Thrussell -- either left or failed to have their contracts renewed. Two principals from last year are no longer with the company: Pollyana Ribeiro is opening a ballet school in Indiana, while Adriana Suarez is, according to the ballet, ''pursuing other interests."

When the upcoming season opens in October with ''Cinderella," 37 of the 45 dancers on Boston Ballet's roster will have been brought in by Nissinen.

''But for me, it's not important if they are people I have picked or were here in the past," Nissinen said. ''We all have a job to do so I'm trying to create a cohesive team. I'm looking at the dancer and really trying to help them to develop and we're working altogether."

In the upcoming season, Boston Ballet's production of ''The Nutcracker" moves to the Opera House. Last year, ''The Nutcracker" moved to the 1,640-seat Colonial Theatre from its former location at the 3,600-seat Wang Theatre.

Boston Ballet, which had a $650,000 surplus in 2004, will report later this fall on the budget year that ended in June, Nissinen said.

Geoff Edgers can be reached at

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