Among the flurry of ballet retirements in the past year, some dancers have been able to jump straight into leadership positions. Carla Körbesbecame associate artistic director of L.A. Dance Project. Julie Kent took charge of American Ballet Theatre's summer intensive program. But San Francisco Ballet'sGennadi Nedvigin didn't even have a chance to announce his retirement before news broke today that he will become the new artistic director of Atlanta Ballet. The Bolshoi-trained principal dancer, who joined SFB in 1997 and was promoted to principal in 2000, has recently begun teaching, coaching and staging works (particularly those of SFB resident choreographer Yuri Possokhov), around the world. In 2014, he set Possokhov's Classical Symphony on Atlanta Ballet. Now, he'll take charge of the company, joining the Joffrey's Ashley Wheater and Boston Ballet's Mikko Nissinen as the third former SFB dancer currently leading a major American company.
Gennadi Nedvigin rehearsing Classical Symphony at Atlanta Ballet. Photo by Charlie McCullers, courtesy Atlanta Ballet.
Atlanta Ballet's current director, John McFall, announced his retirement seven months ago after a 20-year tenure. He will leave after the close of the season on June 1st, and Nedvigin will take over on August 1st, after retiring from SFB with a performance of John Cranko's Onegin in May. As a dancer known for building dramatic tension in roles like Lensky and Albrecht, it will be interesting to see where he takes a company whose repertory is less focused on these heavy classics.
Nedvigin with Maria Kochetkova & Clara Blanco in Cranko's Onegin. Photo by Erik Tomasson.
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.
I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.
I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.
That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?