Raised in New York and principally trained in Florida with Nolan Dingman and Christa Long, Forsythe danced with the Joffrey Ballet and later the Stuttgart Ballet, where he was appointed Resident Choreographer in 1976. Over the next seven years, he created new works for the Stuttgart ensemble and ballet companies in Munich, The Hague, London, Basel, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Paris, New York, and San Francisco. In 1984, he began a 20-year tenure as director of the Ballet Frankfurt, where he created works such as Artifact (1984), Impressing the Czar (1988), Limb’s Theorem (1990), The Loss of Small Detail (1991, in collaboration with composer Thom Willems and designer Issey Miyake), Eidos:Telos (1995), Endless House (1999), Kammer/Kammer (2000), and Decreation (2003).
In collaboration with media specialists and educators, Forsythe has developed new approaches to dance documentation, research, and education. His 1994 computer application Improvisation Technologies: A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye, developed with the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, is used as a teaching tool by professional companies, dance conservatories, universities, postgraduate architecture programs, and secondary schools worldwide. 2009 marks the launch of Synchronous Objects for One Flat Thing, reproduced, a digital online score developed with The Ohio State University that reveals the organizational principles of the choreography and demonstrates their possible application within other disciplines.
As an educator, Forsythe is regularly invited to lecture and give workshops at universities and cultural institutions. In 2002, Forsythe was chosen as the founding Dance Mentor for The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. He currently co-directs and teaches in the Dance Apprentice Network aCross Europe (D.A.N.C.E.) program, an interdisciplinary professional insertion program based at Dresden’s Palucca Schule. Forsythe is an Honorary Fellow at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance in London and holds an honorary doctorate from the Juilliard School in New York.
Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
The Colombian-Belgian Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is, since 2003, active as a freelance choreographer. She was hailed “rising star of the Dutch dance scene” (NRC) and only 7 years later, the Temecula Performing Arts Examiner wrote: “Ochoa is truly a masterful choreographer with an edge for what dance can and should be in this constantly changing industry”.
Annabelle is a sought-after choreographer who has created works for many companies around the globe such as the Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, Dutch National Ballet, Djazzex, Ballet de Genève, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Gothenburg Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, BalletX, BJM-Danse Montreal, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Ballet National de Marseille, Saarbrucken Ballet, Jacoby & Pronk, Chemnitzer Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Whim W’Him, IncolBallet de Colombia, Finnish National Ballet, CND Madrid, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Washington Ballet, Ballet Nacional Dominicano, Ballet Saarbrucken, Augsburg Ballet, Ballet Austin, Atlanta Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet, Ballet Moscow, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, West Australian Ballet, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, Ballet Nacional Chileno, Ballett am Gartnerplatz, Ballet Manila and Joffrey Ballet.
Ms. Ochoa has won several awards, among them: “Best classical choreography” by the National Dance Award UK for “A Streetcar named desire”, the South Bank Sky Arts Award and a nomination for the prestigious Olivier Award.
Mauro de Candia
Mauro de Candia was born in 1981. At the age of ten, he was discovered by legendary Russian dancer and teacher Marika Besobrasova, who awarded him a scholarship for the summer course at her school in Monaco. In 1998 he joined the Académie de Danse Classique Princesse Grace de Monaco, and in 2001, he departed for Hannover to join the Ballet of the Opera House led by German choreographer Stephan Thoss.
Mauro de Candia has performed leading roles in works by Balanchine, Béjart, Kylián, Mats Ek, Forsythe, Naharin, Marco Goecke among others. He has had works commissioned by Introdans, Royal Ballet of Flanders, TanzTheater Braunschweig, Staatsoper Hannover, Dance Cyprus, Florence’s MaggioDanza, Augsburg Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin, Ballet Opera Nova Bydgoszcz, Traverse City Dance Project, Arena di Verona, and Slovak National Ballet.
Since the 2012-2013 season, Mauro de Candia has been the Artistic Director of the Dance Company Theater Osnabrück in Germany. Founder and director of the ApuliArteFestival and the International Award ApuliArte, he is the program advisor for the dance season of Theatre Curci in his hometown Barletta. In 2009 the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano awarded him, the silver medal for his commitment to and support of dance in Italy.
A former dancer with New York City Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater, Edwaard Liang has built an international reputation as a choreographer. He has created work for the Bolshoi Ballet, Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Shanghai Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre and The Washington Ballet.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised in Marin County, California, Mr. Liang began his dance training at age five with Marin Ballet. After studying at the School of American Ballet, he joined New York City Ballet in 1993. That same year, he was a medal winner at the Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition and won the Mae L. Wien Award. By 1998, he was promoted to Soloist. In 2001, Mr. Liang joined the Tony Award® winning Broadway cast of Fosse. In 2002, he was invited by Jiří Kylián to join Nederlands Dans Theater 1.
While dancing with NDT 1, Mr. Liang discovered his passion and love for choreography. He has won numerous awards for his choreography including the 2006 National Choreographic Competition. In 2013, Mr. Liang was named Artistic Director at BalletMet where he continues to choreograph new works for companies domestically and abroad.
Marius Petipa, the “father of classical ballet,” was born in Marseilles, France in 1819. He received his early training from his ballet master father and was a principal dancer in France, Belgium and Spain before joining the Imperial Theatre in St. Petersburg in 1847. There he created several ballets, including his hugely successful The Pharaoh’s Daughter (1862), which led to his appointment as chief choreographer in 1869. By his retirement in 1903, he had produced more than 60 ballets for the Imperial Theatres in St. Petersburg and Moscow—including Don Quixote (1869), La Bayadère (1877), The Sleeping Beauty (1890), Acts I and III of Swan Lake (1895) and Raymonda (1898)—which formed the core of the classical Russian repertoire.
Hans van Manen
Hans van Manen began his career in 1951 as a member of Sonia Gaskell’s Ballet Recital. In 1952 he joined the Nederlandse Opera Ballet, where he created his first ballet, Feestgericht (1957). Later he joined Roland Petit’s company in Paris. He began to work with the Nederlands Dans Theater in 1960, first as a dancer (until 1963), next as a choreographer, then as artistic director (1961–1971). For the following two years he worked as a freelance choreographer before joining Het Nationale Ballet in Amsterdam in 1973. From 1988 to 2003 Hans van Manen was a resident choreographer of NDT, and in 2003 he joined the Dutch National Ballet as a resident choreographer. His body of work includes more than 120 ballets, each carrying his unmistakable signature. Clarity in structure and a refined simplicity are the elements in his work which have earned him the name ‘the Mondrian of dance.’ Outside of the Netherlands, he has staged his ballets for such companies as the Stuttgart Ballet, Bayerisches Staatsballett München, Berlin Opera, Houston Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Pennsylvania Ballet, English Royal Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, State Opera in Vienna, Tanzforum in Cologne , Compañia Nacional de Danza and Alvin Ailey. Hans van Manen has also been awarded numerous prizes. In 1991 he received the Sonia Gaskell Prize for his entire body of work and the Choreography Prize from the Dutch Theater Guild for Two. In 1992, his 35th year as a choreographer, he was knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands in the Order of Orange Nassau. In 1993 he was awarded the prestigious German Dance Prize for his influence on German dance the world over during the past twenty years. In 1996 the Dutch COC awarded him the Bob Angelo Medallion for “the way in which he portrays men and women, human relations and sexuality in his ballets and photography… which can aptly be named liberating in every way.” In 1997 he received the Gino Tani International Prize in the category of Dance. In August of 1998, at the Edinburgh International Festival in Scotland, Hans van Manen was honored with a retrospective; his oeuvre was crowned with an Archangel, the Edinburgh Festival Critics Award 1998. In May 2005 Hans van Manen was awarded the Benois de la Danse for Lifetime Achievement; he also received the Grand Pas award. At the occasion of his 75th birthday Hans van Manen was appointed as Commandeur in de Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw. The insignia were presented to him by Amsterdam’s mayor Job Cohen, concluding the gala premiere of the Hans van Manen Festival. Along with Nederlands Dans Theater and Het Nationale Ballet, the Introdans Ensemble also has several of his ballets in their repertoire. Alongside his choreography work, Hans van Manen is also an acclaimed photographer, and his work has been exhibited all over the world.
Septime Webre was appointed artistic director of The Washington Ballet in 1999, after a six year tenure as artistic director of American Repertory Ballet in New Jersey. In his tenure as TWB’s artistic director, The Washington Ballet’s impact regionally, nationally and internationally deepened in three areas. First, the Company’s work continued to grow and expand in its level of excellence and bold creativity with projects including the “American Experience,” a series featuring original full-length ballets based on iconic works of American literature, and the pursuit of full-length original classic works including Swan Lake, a significant milestone for a dance company. Also, The Washington School of Ballet’s enrollment tripled and the organization’s commitment to community through its visionary DanceDC and TWB programs positively affected the lives of tens of thousands of children in the District of Columbia. Much in demand as a choreographer, Webre has created works that appear in the repertoires of many companies in North America, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Ballet Austin, Atlanta Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet San Jose, Kansas City Ballet and Colorado Ballet, among many others. As a dancer, he was featured in works by George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Antony Tudor, Alvin Ailey and Merce Cunningham, as well as in principal and solo roles from the classical repertoire. Mr. Webre has sat on the boards of Dance/USA and the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington. Among his many awards, Webre received the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Visionary Leadership, Excellence in Artistic Discipline and numerous metro DC dance awards. He has been a recipient of a number of fellowships for his choreography. He is the seventh son in a large Cuban American family and graduated from the University of Texas with a B.A. in history and pre-law.
Known for his innovative and collaborative choreographic projects, Stephen Mills has works in the repertoires of companies across the United States and around the world. His international career began in 1998 after being chosen Prix d’Auteur at Les Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis in Paris. In his inaugural season as artistic director of Ballet Austin in 2000, Mills attracted national attention with Hamlet, hailed by Dance Magazine as “...sleek and sophisticated.”
Mills’ works showcased at The Kennedy Center include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew and performances at the Ballet Across America Festival in collaboration with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet.
In 2005 Mills developed a community-wide human rights collaborative dialogue culminating in his signature work Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project for which he received the Audrey and Raymond Maislin Humanitarian Award from The Anti-Defamation League. Mills contributed a podcast about Light to the Voices on Anti-Semitism series at The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and was invited to speak about the work at The United Nations in 2014. Light has been performed in five U.S. cities, in three cities in Israel, and was recently featured in an Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary, Sharing Light.
George Balanchine was born January 22, 1904, in St. Petersburg, Russia. After studying at the Imperial Ballet School he left the Soviet Union in 1925 to join the Ballets Russes, where his choreography of Apollo (1928) exemplified the spare neoclassical style that became his trademark. His work impressed the impresario Lincoln Kirstein, who in 1933 invited Mr. Balanchine to form the School of American Ballet and its performing group, the American Ballet. The group became the Metropolitan Opera's resident company in 1938 but disbanded in 1941. In 1946 Mr. Kirstein and Mr. Balanchine founded the Ballet Society, from which emerged the New York City Ballet in 1948. Mr. Balanchine created more than 150 works for the company, including The Nutcracker (1954), Don Quixote (1965), and Jewels (1967), and he also choreographed musicals and operas. He collaborated closely with composer Igor Stravinsky, setting more than 30 works to his music. Mr. Balanchine's work remains in the repertoires of many companies worldwide, and he is widely considered the greatest choreographer of the 20th century. Mr. Balanchine died April 30, 1983, in New York City.
Courtesy of the George Balanchine Trust
One of the most sought after choreographers and artists working today, Trey McIntyre is the man behind the mission— and the movement— that is Trey McIntyre Project. Using dance and a variety of media to explore what it means to be human, McIntyre believes that the process of creating art—from the studio to the stage—is a metaphor for the journey of self-discovery. That exploration and discovery has inspired more than 90 works and high praise for its “singular connection between movement and spirit” (Los Angeles Times). Mr. McIntyre’s inventive combination of the ballet lexicon, his connection to music, and an unflinching examination of the human condition has resulted in exceptional artistry that has garnered him a number of awards and much acclaim. Mr. McIntyre was named a United States Artists Wynn Fellow, and he has received the Gold Medal of Lifetime Achievement from the National Society of Arts and Letters, two choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Choo San Goh Award for Choreography. Mr. McIntyre has served as choreographic associate for Houston Ballet (1989–2008) and resident choreographer for Oregon Ballet Theatre, Ballet Memphis, and The Washington Ballet. He has created a canon of works for some of the premier dance companies in the world, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Moscow Ballet Theatre, State Ballet of (Republic of) Georgia, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Ballet de Santiago (Chile), Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Philadanco, Sacramento Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, and Smuin Ballet. While he continues to create extraordinary ballets, Mr. McIntyre’s far-reaching vision has evolved to an exploration of other genres of art. He is a published writer and photographer, and is currently embarking on a feature-length documentary and TV series. His tireless drive and prolific genius have positioned Mr. McIntyre among the most notable American artists of the 21st century.
Arthur Saint-Léon, original name in full Charles-Victor-Arthur Michel (born September 17, 1821, Paris, France—died September 2, 1870, Paris), was a French dancer, choreographer, violinist, and inventor of a method of dance notation, and celebrated as the choreographer of the ballet Coppélia.
The son of Léon Michel, a dancer who had served as assistant to Pierre Gardel at the Paris Opéra and who had adopted the name Saint-Léon, Arthur Saint-Léon spent most of his boyhood in Stuttgart, Germany, where his father held the post of court ballet master. At a young age he proved to be a remarkably gifted dancer. He received his early training from his father and later studied under François Decombe Albert, a former principal dancer who was particularly renowned for developing virtuosity in ballet students. Although dancing would become Saint-Léon’s main focus, he also revealed in his youth an extraordinary skill as a violinist and reputedly studied under Joseph Mayseder and Niccolò Paganini.
Studio Company Performances: NEW WORKS!
- Francesca Dugarte
- Jonathan Jordan
- Daniel Roberge
Choo San Goh
Choo San Goh was born in Singapore to Chinese parents. He was first introduced to dance at the age of ten at the Singapore Ballet Academy under the guidance of Soo Nee Goh, his sister, who had received her training at the Royal Ballet School in London, He continued his dance studies through high school and college while completing studies for his Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry, awarded by the University of Singapore in 1969.
He decided to pursue his career in dance and in 1970 he joined the Het National Ballet in Amsterdam, Netherlands. As a dancer he performed works by George Balanchine as well as Het National Ballet's three resident choreographers Toer van Schyk, Rudi van Dantzig, and Hans van Hanen. His five years as a dancer with Het National Ballet provided him an opportunity to create, in the National Ballet Workshop, his first ballets which were produced in 1973 and 1975. These initial efforts were so successful that he was awarded a grant from the Netherlands Ministry of Culture to further his work in choreography. In 1976, at the request of Mary Day, the founder and director of the Washington Ballet, Choo San came to the United States to join the company as resident choreographer. With the Washington Ballet he created fourteen original works Many of them became his greatest choreographic pieces, such as "Fives", "Variations Serieuses", "Double Contrasts", "In The Glow Of The Night", "Schubert Symphony", and "Unknown Territory", He also staged for Washington Ballet several successful works he originally created as a guest choreographer for other companies.
Choo San's reputation as an exciting young choreographer grew and he received many commissions to create or stage his works from companies such as Alvin Alley American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Bat Dor Dance Company, Boston Ballet, Ballet Nuevo Mundo De Caracas, Royal Danish Ballet, Jeffrey Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Louisville Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Houston Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet De Santiago, and Royal Swedish Ballet. Many of his works have been filmed and broadcast both nationally and internationally. His creation for Mikhail Baryshnikov, "Configurations", has been presented in the United States and Europe. Choo San also developed great talent as a teacher and taught many times for the Washington School of the Ballet and American Ballet Center, among others.
In 1983, he received the choreographic award In the International Ballet competition in Varna, Bulgaria for his pas de deux from the ballet "Momentum". He has also been presented with a 1978 choreographic award from the National Endowment For The Arts, Other honors have included the Mayor's Award For Excellence In Artistic Discipline in Washington, D.C, in 1986. In 1987 Cultural Medallion of Singapore, the most prestigious award given by the government of Singapore to a citizen, was presented to Choo San Goh in recognition of his contribution to the dance world. At the time of Choo San Goh's death in November, 1987, he was 39 years old.
Choo San had established the Choo San Goh H. Robert Magee Foundation to award grants to dance companies to produce works by young, emerging choreographers. It is a significant project to help encourage choreographic talent.
His ballets will continue to be performed all over the world. The production and care of his works are cared for and supervised by his long-time ballet master, Janek Schergen. His ballets remain a testament to his creative powers.
At 28 years old, Justin Peck has already been hailed as an important new voice in 21st-century choreography. He is currently a soloist dancer and the Resident Choreographer with New York City Ballet. Peck, originally from San Diego, California, moved to New York at the age of 15 to attend the School of American Ballet. In 2006, he was invited by ballet master in-chief Peter Martins to become a member of the New York City Ballet.
Since joining New York City Ballet, Peck has danced extensive repertoire, including principal roles in George Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, The Firebird, Liebeslieder Walzer, Tchaikovsky Suite #3, La Sonnambula, The Four Temperaments, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, A Midsummer Night's Dream; Jerome Robbin's West Side Story, The Cage, I'm Old Fashioned, Glass Pieces, NY Export: Opus Jazz, Ives Songs; Alexei Ratmansky's Concerto DSCH; Benjamin Millepied's Plainspoken and Why am I not Where you Are; Peter Martins' Fearful Symmetries, Thou Swell, Waltz Project, Romeo and Juliet; and Christopher Wheeldon's Scenes De Ballet and Estancia.
Although his time at City Ballet has been eminently stimulating, Peck eventually found himself itching to explore another creative interest: choreography. Since his debut as a choreographer in 2009, he has created works for the New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, the New York Choreographic Institute, the School of American Ballet, the Miami City Ballet, L.A. Dance Project, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Guggenheim Museum, NY Fall For Dance, the Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival, and more. He has been recognized for his choreographic promise, and has received favorable reviews from the New York Times, the Daily News, Vanity Fair Magazine, Vogue, New York Magazine, The Last Magazine, and Dance Magazine, to name a few. In 2013, he was nominated for the International Benois De La Danse Award for new choreography. In 2015, Peck's ballet Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes won the Bessie Award for Outstanding Production. His work has been consecutively included in the New York Times year end best-of lists for 2012 2013, and 2014.
In July of 2011, he was appointed by Peter Martins as the first active Choreographer-in-Residency of the New York Choreographic Institute for the 2011/2012 annual season - a newly created position underneath the functioning artistic umbrella of the New York City Ballet.
In 2014, Peck was appointed Resident Choreographer of New York City Ballet, making him the second choreographer in the history of the Institution to hold this position. Learn more.
JIRÍ KYLIÁN started his dance career at the age of nine, at the School of the National Ballet in Prague. In 1962 he was accepted as a student at the Prague Conservatory. He left Prague when he received a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School in London in 1967. After this, he left to join the Stuttgart Ballet led by John Cranko. Kylián made his debut as a choreographer here with Paradox for the Noverre Gesellschaft. After having
made three ballets for Nederlands Dans Theater (Viewers, Stoolgame and La Cathédrale Engloutie), he became artistic director of the company in 1975. In 1978 he put Nederlands Dans Theater on the international map with Sinfonietta. That same year, together with Carel Birnie, he founded Nederlands Dans Theater II, which served as a bridge between school and professional company life and was meant to give young dancers the opportunity to develop their skills and talents and to function as a breeding ground for young talent. He also initiated Nederlands Dans Theater III in 1991, the company for older dancers, above forty years of age. This three dimensional structure was unique in the world of dance. After an extraordinary record of service, Kylián handed over the artistic leadership in 1999, but remained associated with the dance company as house choreographer until December 2009. Jirí Kylián has created nearly 100 works of which many are performed all over the world. Kylián has not
only made works for Nederlands Dans Theater, but also for the Stuttgart Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet, Bayerisches Staatsoper Münich, Swedish television and the Tokyo Ballet.
Kylián has worked with many creative personalities of international stature—composers: Arne Nordheim (Ariadne 1997), Toru Takemitsu (Dream Time 1983)—designers: Walter Nobbe (Sinfonietta 1978), Bill Katz (Symphony of Psalms 1978), John Macfarlane (Forgotten Land 1980), Michael Simon (Stepping Stones 1991), Atsushi Kitagawara (One of a Kind 1998), Susumu Shingu (Toss of a Dice 2005), Yoshiki Hishinuma (Zugvögel 2009).
In the summer of 2006, together with Film Art Director, Boris Paval Conen, he created the film CAR-MEN. It was choreographed “on location” on the surface brown coal mines of the Czech Republic. In 2010, Kylián served as Mentor in Dance in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. In 2013, together with NTR, he created the film BEWTEEN ENTRANCE & EXIT which was nominated as one of the contestants for the ‘Gouden Kalf’ award during the Dutch Film Festival 2013 in Utrecht. For the Aichi Trienalle in Nagoya, Japan, he created the full-evening dance/film production, EAST SHADOW which was dedicated to the victims of the Tsunami in Japan in 2011.
In the course of his career, Kylián received many international awards including: “Officer of the Orange Order”—Netherlands, “Honorary Doctorate”—Juilliard School New York, three “Nijinsky Awards”—Monte Carlo (best choreographer, company and work), “Benoit de la Dance”—Moscow and Berlin, “Honorary Medal” of the President of the Czech Republic, “Commander of the Legion d’honneur” France, and in 2008 he was distinguished with one of the highest royal honors, the Medal of the Order of the House of Orange given to him by Her Majesty the Queen Beatrix from the Netherlands. In 2011, Kylián received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of dance and theater by the Czech Ministry of Culture in Prague.
Alexei Ratmansky was born in St. Petersburg and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow. His performing career included positions as principal dancer with Ukrainian National Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet. He has choreographed ballets for the Mariinsky Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, Dutch National Ballet New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Kiev Ballet and the State Ballet of Georgia, as well as for Nina Ananiashvili, Diana Vishneva and Mikhail Baryshnikov. His 1998 work, Dreams of Japan, earned a prestigious Golden Mask Award by the Theatre Union of Russia. In 2005, he was awarded the Benois de la Danse prize for his choreography of Anna Karenina for the Royal Danish Ballet. He was made Knight of Dannebrog by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in 2001.
Ratmansky was named artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet in January 2004. For the Bolshoi Ballet, he choreographed full-length productions of The Bright Stream (2003) and The Bolt (2005) and re-staged Le Corsaire (2007) and the Soviet-era Flames of Paris (2008). Under Ratmansky's direction, the Bolshoi Ballet was named "Best Foreign Company" in 2005 and 2007 by The Critics' Circle in London, and he received a Critics' Circle National Dance Award for The Bright Stream in 2006. In 2007, he won a Golden Mask Award for Best Choreographer for his production of Jeu de Cartes for the Bolshoi Ballet. In 2009, Ratmansky choreographed new dances for the Metropolitan Opera's production of Aida. Ratmansky joined American Ballet Theatre as Artist in Residence in January 2009.
For American Ballet Theatre, Ratmansky has choreographed On the Dnieper (2009), Seven Sonatas (2009), Waltz Masquerade, a ballet honoring Nina Ananiashvili's final season (2009), The Nutcracker (2010), The Bright Stream (2011), Dumbarton (2011), Firebird (2012), Symphony #9 (2012),Chamber Symphony (2013) and Piano Concerto #1 (2013).
Ratmansky was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow for 2013.
Since graduating from Barnard College in 1963, Ms. Tharp has choreographed more than one hundred sixty works: one hundred twenty-nine dances, twelve television specials, six Hollywood movies, four full-length ballets, four Broadway shows and two figure skating routines. She received one Tony Award, two Emmy Awards, nineteen honorary doctorates, the Vietnam Veterans of America President's Award, the 2004 National Medal of the Arts, the 2008 Jerome Robbins Prize, and a 2008 Kennedy Center Honor. Her many grants include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
In 1965, Ms. Tharp founded her dance company, Twyla Tharp Dance. Her dances are known for creativity, wit and technical precision coupled with a streetwise nonchalance. By combining different forms of movement – such as jazz, ballet, boxing and inventions of her own making – Ms. Tharp’s work expands the boundaries of ballet and modern dance.
In addition to choreographing for her own company, she has created dances for The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Paris Opera Ballet, The Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, The Boston Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Martha Graham Dance Company, Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Today, ballet and dance companies around the world continue to perform Ms. Tharp’s works.
Ms. Tharp's work first appeared on Broadway in 1980 with WHEN WE WERE VERY YOUNG, followed by her collaboration with musician David Byrne on THE CATHERINE WHEEL and later by SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN. In 2002, Ms. Tharp’s dance musical MOVIN' OUT, set to the music and lyrics of Billy Joel. Ms. Tharp later worked with Bob Dylan’s music and lyrics in THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ and COME FLY AWAY, set to songs sung by Frank Sinatra.
In film, Ms. Tharp has collaborated with director Milos Forman on HAIR, RAGTIME and AMADEUS. She has also worked with Taylor Hackford on WHITE NIGHTS and James Brooks on I'LL DO ANYTHING.
Her television credits include choreographing SUE'S LEG for the inaugural episode of PBS' DANCE IN AMERICA IN 1976, co-producing and directing MAKING TELEVISION DANCE, and directing THE CATHERINE WHEEL for BBC Television. Ms. Tharp co-directed the television special BARYSHNIKOV BY THARP.
In 1992, Ms. Tharp published her autobiography PUSH COMES TO SHOVE. She went on to write THE CREATIVE HABIT: Learn it and Use it for Life, followed by THE COLLABORATIVE HABIT: Life Lessons for Working Together. She is currently working on a fourth book.
Today, Ms. Tharp continues to create.
Antony Tudor is undoubtedly regarded as one of the greatest choreographers of all time. His body of work is only equaled in scope with the improbable journey he undertook to achieve this greatness. What follows does not pretend to be an exhaustive history, but rather selected anecdotes to give the reader a peek inside the life of one of the most creative forces in twentieth-century dance.
Tudor was born William Cook on April 4, 1908. He grew up in the hardscrabble neighborhood of Finsbury, a suburb east of London. His father was a butcher at the famous Smithfield meat market in nearby Islington, which his mother helped manage. Neither parent had any connection to the arts, typical of most working-class families of that region and era, but music would still play an important part of Tudor’s childhood.
Tudor’s mother played the piano and gave him lessons as a youngster. This would prove to be an invaluable skill for the budding choreographer later in life. While Tudor did not have an upbringing filled with the arts, his early memories of his father taking him to music hall shows (a form of vaudeville in London) left an indelible impression on the boy. He stated that his exposure to these performances left him “completely stage-struck. Forever and ever." Perhaps foreshadowing his future career, Tudor remembered creating dances with his siblings at the age of six, using the marble slab counters of the fish shop next door as a stage and cutting a little hole in the lace curtains for a spotlight.
A wealthy uncle paid for an excellent education, allowing Tudor two years of study beyond the then traditional age of fourteen. During his time as a schoolboy, Tudor accidentally discovered ballet. Riding on the top of a double-decker tram on the way to physical education fields, Tudor noticed a large studio window level with his view. Inside, he saw young people “doing the strangest things.” It turned out to be a typical dance studio that taught a little bit of everything, including drama. Tudor signed up, but apparently found the classes “dreadful” due to this smorgasbord approach.
Soon after starting these classes, Tudor began spending his evenings working as an actor with small Dramatic Societies he would later credit as an influence on his choreography. Tudor’s role as Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at the age of 18 and other characters would appear in his first ballet, Cross-Garter’d. As he progressed through bigger and better dramatic societies he was exposed to his first dance class on partnering, where the foundation of his philosophy was born. During a dance scene in which he played the devil Tudor came to realize how much he loved applause. Although acting was an appealing career to Tudor, he lacked a confident “voice,” setting his path towards becoming a dancer.
Tudor’s first exposure to professional ballet did not come until 1926 or 1927, when he first saw The Diaghilev Ballet Russes. This Russian company would later introduce him to the great Anna Pavlova, who enchanted Tudor and solidified his destiny to enter the world of dance.
Unlike his contemporaries, Antony Tudor did not become a ballet dancer until his late teens. Spurred by witnessing a memorable performance by Serge Lifar of the Diaghilev Ballet in Balanchine’s Apollon Musagète in 1928, Tudor decided it was time to get serious about his interest in dance. He was advised to contact Cyril Beaumont, a writer, publisher and owner of a ballet book shop in the Charing Cross Road district in London. Beaumont suggested Tudor work with either Margaret Craske or Marie Rambert, both of whom had ballet schools in London. Rambert had danced with the Diaghilev Ballet and was considered an influential presence in the rapidly growing English ballet community. Her faculty, like Craske’s, taught the Cecchetti method, mixed with techniques borrowed from visiting Russian teachers.
Thanks to his father, Tudor had by this time acquired a job as a “clark” (English term for office boy) at the Smithfield Meat Market. Although his interest was clearly in music and dance, he could not afford to give up his job. As a result, Tudor could not take classes until after four o’clock in the afternoon. Since Craske did not offer evening classes, Tudor approached Madame Rambert.
Not surprising, Rambert accepted Tudor into her company almost immediately; due to the scarcity of male dancers in England. While Tudor had dabbled in Spanish dance, Tap, German modern dance and Ballroom dancing (especially overhead lifts); he was at a disadvantage due to the late start of his career. Rambert, however, saw something special in this young man from “the other side of the tracks” and set about to expedite his dance education by having him take lessons from her leading dancers. Thus began a ten year association that would launch the career of Antony Tudor.
Rambert was impressed with Tudor’s work ethic as he maintained a full-time job at the meat market while studying ballet every evening. Rambert spoke of Tudor as “tall and handsome with poetic eyes, someone with intelligence and a deep appreciation of the art of dance.” To pay for his lessons, Tudor gradually took on extra work around the school, including teaching younger students (he became a certified teacher of dance in less than a year), playing piano, bookkeeping, working the technical aspects of performances such as lighting and set design, and even janitorial duties.
Tudor made his professional debut dancing for the English Opera Company in 1929, using his annual two weeks of vacation for rehearsals. It was this performance that spurred his eventual name change, as William Cook did not exactly “spark the imagination.” Rambert told him he would never be taken seriously as a performer or choreographer with the name William Cook. He chose Anthony Tudor, with the intentional intimation of royalty, spelling it with the ‘h’ at first. There is a famous story that the “h” met its demise after an encounter with an elderly woman at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, where, in a casual conversation, she suggested he would “never get anywhere with that ‘h’."
In 1930, Tudor first danced with Rambert’s fledgling company in a small part in Michel Fokine’s ballet Le Carnaval and then in Frederick Ashton’s Capriol Suite. Tudor would often dance in his own ballets up until he retired from performing in 1950. He did this not because of ego or self-indulgence, but as a way of learning what worked for dancers and audiences alike.
“I never got the feeling that he really loved to dance,” Sally Brayley Bliss, Trustee of the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust, said of Tudor. “He wasn’t considered a great dancer, but his classical technique was strong. When he would show us how to do something, whether the character was a child or a woman, we would be left emotionally stunned. Here he was in his dress shoes and his immaculate clothing and he would move so beautifully. He always did it better than us.” Tudor always demonstrated what he wanted. As he grew older and couldn’t’ do this as easily, he became frustrated and it probably affected his drive to choreograph late in his career.
Although Tudor later admitted he liked dancing in his (and other people’s) ballets, especially dramatic roles where he could emotionally connect with the audience (like Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet), he knew if he truly had ambitions as a dancer, he would have to work on steps, which he loathed. It appeared that, for Tudor, dancing was always a means to an end. And that end was to becoming a choreographer.
Sir Frederick Ashton
It's easy to forget that Frederick Ashton, founding genius of English ballet, was originally South American. The youngest of four boys, he was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador on 17 September l904, and brought up in Lima, Peru where his sister was born. Ashton's father, a businessman and vice-consul, was British, and so was his mother, who introduced her impressionable son to the airs and graces of belle epoque Lima. Images from childhood - the languorous sensuality of tango dancers at colonial tea dances, the swaying, ritualized walk of feast day processions - stayed with Ashton, infiltrating his choreography. His Roman Catholic schooling also found expression in his ballets. The ceremony and mystical potency of high mass influenced his timing of effects and climaxes, while the ecstatic, baroque indulgence of Spanish religion is obliquely sublimated in Symphonic Variations, his greatest and most life-affirming work. More crucially, it was an epiphanic experience in Lima that decided the 13 year old Ashton's destiny. This was a performance by Anna Pavlova that not only triggered his vocation to dance, but is the palimpsest behind every ballerina role he went on to create.
He was a late starter. After three years in an English boarding school, and a spell of working as a clerk in the City, Ashton began taking weekly private lessons with Leonid Massine, and went on to become a pupil of Marie Rambert. Although he lacked strength and technique, he had a natural elegance and lyricism that enabled him to make his debut as a danseur noble, partnering the great Tamara Karsavina in Les Sylphides. Rambert, divining where Ashton's true gift lay, gave him the opportunity to choreograph his first ballet in l926, designed by Sophie Fedorovich, a close friend and formative collaborator. A Tragedy of Fashion, while youthfully over-indebted to the chic milieu of Bronislava Nijinska's Les Biches, immediately showed a remarkable ability to transpose character into movement. In l928 when Ashton joined the Ida Rubinstein company in Paris, he was able to perfect his craft by apprenticing himself to Nijinska, who taught him how to personalize the language of classical ballet and make it relevant to his time.
Another crucial early influence was Diaghilev's baby ballerina Alicia Markova. Knowing that her career had been put in jeopardy by the impresario's recent death, Ashton arranged for her to be taken on by Rambert as a guest artist - the start of a remarkable collaboration. If Ashton rescued Markova and was responsible for creating a personal repertory that displayed her virtuosic technique and sophisticated musicality, she, with her link to the deities of ballet from Spessivtzeva to Stravinsky, provided him with the experience and heritage that he lacked.
During the l930s, as both a dancer and choreographer, Ashton shared himself between Rambert's small troupe as well as that of Ninette de Valois, while supplementing his meager income by working in commercial theatre. In l935, having established a professional company of her own, de Valois invited Ashton to join her at the Vic-Wells Theatre where, under the inspired musical guidance of Constant Lambert, a native ballet began to evolve. What we have come to call "the English style" was embodied by Ashton's muse, Margot Fonteyn, whose own restraint, simplicity and poise was enriched by traces of the lush, romantic plastique he had loved in Anna Pavlova. After the war, de Valois' company - renamed The Royal Ballet - moved to the Royal Opera House, and in l963, when she retired, Ashton took over as director, remaining in the post for the next seven years.
With an oeuvre of over one hundred works - at least four of which, Symphonic Variations, Scènes de Ballet, The Dream and la Fille mal gardée, are 20th century masterpieces - Frederick Ashton is unquestionably one of the most important choreographers in the history of ballet. He was also a major figure in the cultural landscape of the day: Gertrude Stein pronounced him a genius; Yeats wanted him to direct plays at The Abbey Theatre; Matisse was inspired by the spontaneous flow of his movements; the three Sitwell siblings all sought his company. He took delight in cultivating a dazzling life outside his profession, drawn into the Bright Young set of the Twenties, and launched into English society in the l930s, by the American millionairess Alice Astor. Success in this world was Ashton's fieldwork. The aristocratic manners and mores he observed, like his ability to capture the very essence of a person and their surroundings, imbued ballets such as A Wedding Bouquet and Enigma Variations with their vividness of character and period.
The content of Ashton's work is as personal as its style. He was a romantic, whose emotional life acted as an important creative impetus. Unrequited love for a beautiful young man is the inspiration behind more than one ballet, his own suffering and yearning encoded most ingeniously of all in the story of Two Pigeons, a fantasy about infidelity and reconciliation. Enigma Variations, Ashton's portrayal of the composer Edward Elgar's feelings of professional neglect, is also a confession of the insecurity he himself was experiencing at the end of his career. He need not have been concerned. A recipient of the Order of Merit - the most distinguished honour of all - Sir Frederick Ashton, in his final years, was a national treasure. Not only that, he was a court favourite, a member of the Queen Mother's inner circle, accepted and beloved for his unthrusting nature, brilliant wit and incomparable impersonations. And today, although the choreographer will always live on in his ballets, it is the man himself who is greatly missed. Those who remember Ashton's curtain calls will still picture his pit-pattering along the inside of the drapes to stir-up anticipation before he appeared on stage. Then the slow, regal wave acknowledging the adoration "a la Pavlova", he used to say: first up to the gods, where the true balletomanes sat, then the balcony, grand tier and stalls. Blessed with the common touch, Ashton never lost his degree of humility that was both genuine and tongue-in-cheek. 'Is this really all for me,' he seemed to be saying, "Little Freddie Ashton from Lima, Peru?"