Asian American ballerina Georgina Pazcoguin paves the way for other diverse performers

An Asian American ballerina is tackling new ways to promote diversity and pave the way for others in the performing arts.

“It’s when I first entered a studio in Altoona Pennsylvania and I fell in love with the practice of this art form,” said Georgina Pazcoguin, a ballerina.

Pazcoguin stepped into ballet shoes for the first time at just 4 years old and she couldn’t have imagined then where her love for the art would take her and the glass ceilings she would shatter.

She joined the New York City Ballet Corps in 2003, and a decade later went on to become the company’s first Asian American soloist.

“There is no other ballet company in the world like the NYC ballet. In its intensity, in its passion,” Pazcoguin said.

Earlier this month, Pazcoguin took her final bow on the stage inside the David H. Koch Theater.

“The David H. Koch Theater has been my home and will probably forever be my siren call home whenever I walk across Lincoln Center. It’s just so special,” she said.

But in many ways, it was the journey to get to this point that laid the foundation for the next chapter.

During her time with the NYC Ballet, Pazcoguin cofounded two organizations to promote AAPI diversity and inclusivity in ballet and the broader art world, working to eliminate stereotypes of Asians on stages and leading by example.

“If you look around the room and you see yourself as being the only, it’s an opportunity to acknowledge that just by being there, you are making a difference,” she said.

And now, she’s blending her love for the arts and activism as a co-producer of a Broadway show called “Here Lies Love” based on the life of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines who then went on to have a political career of her own.

“It’s a beautiful way to honor my dad who is an immigrant from the Philippines,” Pazcoguin said. “It’s the first ever binational producing team, it’s the first time it’s a fully immersive experience.”

Pazcoguin is known as the rogue ballerina, proud of her ability to disrupt the spaces she inhabits. It’s something she plans on doing for a long time to come.

“It’s time for me to break new glass ceilings and then look back and see who’s coming with, right?” she said.

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