Atlanta Ballet’s 2018–19 season will feature four world premieres, including a new version of Nutcracker and pieces by choreographers Liam Scarlett and Ricardo Amarante. The company also announced today that it will add 10 new dancers for its main company and the Atlanta Ballet 2 training ensemble over the next three years.
The season — the company’s third under artistic director Gennadi Nedvigin — will feature a mix of traditional classical and contemporary ballet, including one of the oldest surviving classical masterpieces, August Bournonville’s La Sylphide.
In recent years, Atlanta Ballet stopped presenting fall shows, instead opening each season with Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker in December. The upcoming season will mark the return to a fall show in September, a mixed repertory program that features choreographer Jiří Kylián, whose Petite Mort was performed by the company in April. Also on that program will be a world premiere by Brazilian choreographer Ricardo Amarante.
The company will return to the stage of the Fox Theatre in December with its new, highly anticipated version of Nutcracker by choreographer Yuri Possokhov, a former dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet. Possokhov is now choreographer in residence at San Francisco Ballet, where Nedvigin was a principal dancer until his retirement. Possokhov has become very familiar to Atlanta audiences in recent years. He choreographed Classical Symphony, which was first staged by Atlanta Ballet in 2015 and again in 2016, along with Firebird in 2017 and Don Quixote from the current season.
The 2018–19 season will continue with Bournonville’s La Sylphide in February. A Danish dancer who studied in Paris and went on to lead the Royal Danish Ballet and bring it to worldwide prominence, Bournonville first staged his version of La Sylphide in 1836. It is considered one of his masterworks, and a ballet that came to epitomize the French Romantic tradition.
In March, Atlanta Ballet will perform three works: Alexander Ekman’s Cacti, an irreverent look at contemporary dance the company first staged in 2015, the company premiere of Mark Morris’ Sandpaper Ballet, and a commissioned work from recently retired Boston Ballet principal dancer Yury Yanowsky.
The season will close in April with a new commission by choreographer Liam Scarlett, whose work Vespertine was performed by Atlanta Ballet last year.
Atlanta Ballet will also bring 10 additional dancers on board to the main company and Atlanta Ballet 2, with the goal of expanding the professional company from 32 dancers to 42 over the next three years. An anonymous donor has funded the expansion with a $1.5 million donation.
“We are so grateful for this extraordinary gift from a donor who believes in Gennadi’s work and has given us the opportunity to shift Atlanta Ballet’s status to a size that puts us among some of the larger companies in the nation,” Arturo Jacobus, president and CEO of Atlanta Ballet, said in a press release. “Not only will this expansion allow us to adopt a more robust array of world-class repertoire, but it will also contribute to a transformational change that will help establish Atlanta Ballet as a cornerstone organization of the highest quality and stature.”
The company said the expansion will enable Nedvigin to execute his artistic vision for the company for next season and beyond. Increasing the number of dancers will create more opportunities to present even bigger and broader productions, and increase the range of its repertoire.