American Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie has announced that from September 2016, Cynthia Harvey will become the new Artistic Director of the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.
Harvey is most well-known for her years as an ABT Principal, a company she joined in 1974, and with it she danced almost every role in it’s repertoire. She was also the first American to become a Principal Dancer at The Royal Ballet in London. After retiring in 1995 she has been remounting ballets and teaching throughout the world, and was fundamental in creating the En Avant Foundation, of which she is the Artistic Director. The Foundation’s goal is “to reaffirm the importance of quality, integrity, musicality and artistic meaning in classical ballet”, something certainly in common with the JKO School.
I asked her what she feels about ‘returning home’.
It’s particularly meaningful to return to my career home of New York and American Ballet Theatre. Though there is a new generation of talent – many of whom were taught by my predecessor, Franco De Vita and his staff – I have kept in touch with several of my colleagues. I look forward to renewing friendships and to many new beginnings.
And on taking over at one of the world’s top ballet schools?
I look forward to further advancing the American Ballet Theatre, JKO School, to make it a place of excellence, and to encourage talent by fostering and developing expressivity and musicality in the young students who entrust their training to us.
I wish to create students who, with a strong classical base, are versatile and can adapt to today’s varied dance styles.
There was no planning on her part; no banging on doors or making insistent telephone calls.
The request to take this post came completely out of the blue and took a great deal of reflection. I have taken this offer because, ultimately, it affords me the opportunity to make a larger and genuine contribution to the future of the art form that I love.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.