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Soloist, Boston Ballet

Heritage: Brazilian

Age: 26 


Past Recognitions:                                                                        

  • Best Contemporary Dancer Award at the Youth America Grand Prix, 2008

  • First Place in the Senior Division of the Youth America Grand Prix Brazil, 2007

  • Subject of the documentary, “Only When I Dance,” 2009

  • Promoted to Boston Ballet Second Soloist, 2015

  • Promoted to Boston Ballet Soloist mid-season, 2016


By: Tim Estiloz


Irlan Silva is truly an inspiration whose amazing artistry, strength and talent has catapulted him into the spotlight as a soloist for the renowned Boston Ballet. Silva has overcome incredible odds and formidable obstacles to become a part of one the top ballet companies in world. Since his debut in 2011, Silva has entertained thousands with his exquisite dancing ability.


A former resident of one of the most violent neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Silva began dancing at the age of 11; first with tap dance, then jazz. His talent soon became apparent and he was encouraged to begin ballet training. However, his journey was not without obstacles.


“At first, my dad was not very receptive to my dancing,” said Silva. “He felt it was only for girls to do classical ballet. But, then I took him to the show once and he cried and he became my first fan. It was a very special moment.”


“My family has always motivated me with my dancing,” added Silva. “They didn’t have money to support me, but they never let me give up and they’re always next to me. To have them support  me is very important.”


Silva’s journey through the challenging world of ballet competitions was chronicled in the 2009 documentary “Only When I Dance” and he was eventually invited to perform with the American Ballet Theater in New York. In 2011, he joined the Boston Ballet where he made an immediate impression and soon became a soloist.


Silva’s superb talent continues to triumph. During the 2015-2016 season, Silva was promoted twice in one year; a rare occurrence for any dancer.


“I was very proud of myself and that performance,” said Silva, “and now my next goal is to become a Principal Dancer with Boston Ballet.”

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