Choreographer Alexei Ratmansky leaves the American Ballet Theater

Alexei Ratmansky, one of the greatest living ballet choreographers, is leaving American Ballet Theater after 13 years as artist-in-residence, the company announced Thursday, noting that it was losing a towering figure who had been a force deep creative.

“Alexei’s extraordinary vision of dance has taken ballet far beyond what we thought was possible 20 years ago,” American Ballet Theater’s new artistic director Susan Jaffe said in a statement. statement, adding that his works had “brought ballet into a new era.” The company said Ratmansky would leave in June.

Over the course of his long career, Ratmansky, 54, has been hailed for his energy, wit and technical virtuosity, as well as for the eclecticism of his interests, from the revival of forgotten works – including Shostakovich’s ballet” The Bright Stream” for the Bolshoi – to creating ballets that draw on both past and present, such as his “Shostakovich Trilogy” and “Songs of Bukovina” for American Ballet Theatre.

“I will always be grateful for the time I spent here,” he said in a statement Thursday.

Announcing his departure, the company said Ratmansky had been an immeasurable influence and had choreographed many ballets, including classics like “The Nutcracker”, which he reinvented, and “Sleeping Beauty”, in a opulent production that sought to return to its original choreography.

He had also been an innovator, reshaping works for the pandemic era. “Bernstein in a Bubble,” a playful virtual ballet set to music by Leonard Bernstein, was filmed without an audience during the coronavirus pandemic and presented in March 2021 as part of a performance titled “ABT Live From City Center: A Ratmansky Celebration. ”

In the coming months, American Ballet Theater will also perform Ratmansky’s “Songs of Bukovina,” a suite of dances to preludes loosely based on Ukrainian folksongs, in Chicago, Iowa City, and Stony Brook, NY.

Ratmansky’s work took on added resonance after Russia invaded Ukraine, Ratmansky, who grew up in Kyiv and trained in Moscow, became a strong supporter of Ukraine. When the invasion began, he was working in Moscow at the Bolshoi Ballet, of which he had been artistic director; he left immediately and said he was unlikely to return as long as President Vladimir V. Putin remained in the Kremlin. He also supported Ukraine by founding The United Ukrainian Ballet Company and staging “Giselle” with a group made up of Ukrainian refugees.

“It was exactly like the world was falling apart,” he said of the first morning of the war. “The fact that Russia was bombing Kyiv, where my parents and sister live, and that my family’s lives were in danger, was just too damning.”


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