Regional Dance Company of the Week: BalletMet Columbus
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In 1986, John McFall was named Artistic Director. During his eight-year tenure he introduced more than 60 new works to the repertoire by artists such as Lynne Taylor-Corbett, James Kudelka, Liz Lerman, Alwin Nikolais and Paul Taylor, as well as Ben Stevenson, Enrique Matinez, Lew Christensen and George Balanchine.
David Nixon, internationally renowned dancer, choreographer, teacher and ballet master, was named as BalletMet's Artistic Director at the beginning of the 1994-95 season. Mr. Nixon's vision and vitality were instrumental in transforming the Academy, Company and repertoire. He expanded and enriched professional training programs in the Academy and assembled a corps of accomplished professional dancers.
Under Mr. Nixon's leadership, BalletMet continued its commitment to the creation of new work and the restaging of contemporary masterworks. Mr. Nixon added 19 world and 19 company premieres to the repertoire, including his own full-length productions of The Nutcracker, Dangerous Liaisons, Butterfly, Beauty and the Beast, Carmen, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Dracula and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Mr. Nixon left BalletMet in 2001 to assume the directorship of Northern Ballet Theatre in Leeds, England.
Gerard Charles was named the new Artistic Director and Stanton Welch Artistic Associate in 2001. Under their leadership BalletMet celebrated its 25th Anniversary season, with Mr. Charles' world premiere of Cinderella in 2002, and Mr. Welch's world premiere of Don Quixote in 2003. Don Quixote was also Mr. Welch's first full-length North American ballet. Mr. Charles premiered his new The Nutcracker in 2004, Alice in Wonderland in 2006, and Aladdin in 2008.
BalletMet's international debut in Cairo, Egypt in 1989 opened the doors to an expanded touring program. The Company also toured to 24 states in the U.S., Canada and abroad, including a New York City debut at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts in 1991, two residencies at the prestigious DanceAspen Festival, and an engagement at the Italica Festival in Seville, Spain in 1993.
In May 2004 BalletMet made its critically acclaimed Manhattan debut at the renowNed Joyce Theater in New York. The company was one of 18 chosen from a field of 66 applicants internationally to perform. In 2006 several BalletMet dancers and Mr. Charles participated in the 13th Annual International Contemporary Dance Festival in Bytom, Poland and began an international collaboration with Jacek Luminski, Director of Poland's Silesian Dance Theatre. BalletMet was invited to return to New York City's Joyce Theater in 2008.
BalletMet ended 2005 with the purchase of a city block in downtown Columbus. BalletMet purchased its home and two additional buildings, one of which was reconstructed into a performance space and scene shop. In 2006, BalletMet unveiled its in-progress performance space, a casual and intimate 225-seat venue located behind the BalletMet Dance Centre.
BalletMet annually reaches a total audience of nearly 125,000 through performances at home and on tour, Academy classes and activities, and extensive DanceReach educational/outreach programs. BalletMet ranks among the 15 largest dance companies in the nation.
BalletMet is governed by a board of trustees who make substantial personal and financial contributions to the development of the institution. The organization is committed to collaboration among artistic and management staff and the board of trustees in order to sustain an institution of cultural, educational and social merit that continually strives to stimulate and inspire audiences.
BalletMet will next present ROMEO and JULIET from February 14-17 at the Ohio Theatre. For tickets and more information, click here.
To learn more about BalletMet, click here.
Photo credit: Will Shively. Information courtesy of BalletMet