American Ballet Theatre (ABT) announced today that Alexei Ratmansky will be stepping down as Artist in Residence at the end of his contract in June 2023. Ratmansky, who has been with ABT since January 2009, has made a significant impact on the Company with his choreography and leadership.
During his time at ABT, Ratmansky has choreographed many ballets for the Company, including:
Waltz Masquerade (2009)
On the Dnieper (2009)
Seven Sonatas (2009)
The Nutcracker (2010)
Symphony #9 (2012)
Chamber Symphony (2013)
Piano Concerto #1 (2013)
The Tempest (2014)
The Sleeping Beauty (2015)
Serenade after Plato's Symposium (2016)
Whipped Cream (2017)
Songs of Bukovina (2017)
The Seasons (2019)
Of Love and Rage (2020)
Bernstein in a Bubble (2021)
Ratmansky was born in St Petersburg and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow and had a distinguished career as a dancer and choreographer prior to his time with ABT. He was principal dancer with the Ukrainian National Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and the Royal Danish Ballet. He has also choreographed for a number of other companies, including the Bolshoi Ballet, the Mariinsky Ballet, New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, The Royal Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, La Scala Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, The Australian Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Berlin Staatsballet, Bayerische Staatsballett Munich, Ballet Semperoper Dresden, Zurich Ballet, State Ballet of Georgia, and National Ballet of Ukraine. From 2004 to 2008 he was the director of the Bolshoi Ballet.
ABT has also performed Ratmansky's The Bright Stream, created for the Bolshoi Ballet in 2003 and premiered by ABT in 2011; The Golden Cockerel, created for The Royal Danish Ballet in 2012 and premiered by ABT in 2016; and Souvenir d'un lieu cher, created for Dutch National Ballet in 2012 and premiered by ABT in 2017.
In March 2021, American Ballet Theatre and New York City Center co-presented the digital programme ABT Live from City Center | A Ratmansky Celebration, a filmed performance featured excerpts from Ratmansky's choreographic works, including The Seasons, Seven Sonatas, and The Sleeping Beauty, as well as the World Premiere of Bernstein in a Bubble, a piece created during a quarantined “ballet bubble”.
In the coming months, ABT will be performing Ratmansky's Songs of Bukovina in various US cities as part of the company's Spring 2023 tour.
Ratmansky was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2013 and received a Critics' Circle National Dance Award for Best Choreography in 2020 for his work with San Francisco Ballet on Shostakovich Trilogy, a co-commission with ABT.
The outgoing Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre, Kevin McKenzie, said:
Alexei has given an immeasurable gift to ABT, creating an indelible mark on our identity. He pushed the bar of what is possible to achieve in artistic language that speaks to artists and the general public with equal measure: to be human is a wonder, and to be excellent is the goal. ABT is so honoured to have Alexei reside with us these last 13 years.
Susan Jaffe, the incoming Artistic Director of ABT, said:
Alexei's extraordinary vision of dance has propelled ballet to heights far beyond what we thought was possible 20 years ago. As his works have brought ballet into a new era, ABT has been incredibly fortunate to have been part of that process for the last 13 years. We will continue to perform Alexei's works and commission new works from him in the future. We wish him well in his new adventures and look forward to working with him again.
In a press release, ABT said:
Ratmansky's impact on the world of dance has been profound. His choreography is known for its innovative use of classical forms and its ability to connect with audiences on a deeply emotional level. His works have been performed by companies around the globe, and he has inspired and mentored countless dancers and choreographers.
My time at ABT has been a true privilege, offering me a unique opportunity to work with its incredible artists under the wonderful direction of Kevin McKenzie, and the remarkable ballet staff and management team. I will always be grateful for my time here and would like to thank everyone in the organization, from the Board to the staff, for making me feel a part of the ABT family. I would also like to thank the donors and audiences for supporting my work at ABT throughout the years. ABT has a bright future under Susan Jaffe's directorship, and I look forward to working with Susan and the company well into the future.
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.