You are stepping down as Artistic Director of Atlanta Ballet this month after 21 years. How to describe what your tenure accomplished? How to distill such a career?
I could talk about the numbers. How the budget has nearly tripled since 1994 or the 1200 students enrolled in the school. I could talk about how Atlanta Ballet has transformed in your two decades from a regional dance troupe to a world-class institution. About the exciting collaborations- Big Boi from Outkast, the Indigo Girls. Or about the world premieres- Twyla Tharp’s first full length ballet, Helen Pickett’s Camino Real. I could talk about the tour to China, the opening of a beautiful new building, your own choreography including the record-breaking Nutcracker. I could talk about the cutting-edge choreographers like Ohad Naharin, Alexander Ekman and Jorma Elo that you convinced out of a sheer doggedness and passion for your dancers to come to a city in the Southeast and bring their work to us.
These things are astounding, valid and commendable. But you know all these things already.
And this letter isn’t about what you’ve done for Atlanta Ballet. It’s what you’ve done for me and your dancers. So I’d rather talk about the joy. [Read more…]