“As a startup we want to be sure that any decision that we make is a unanimous decision," he said.
Earlier this year, Tara Lee, Rachel Van Buskirk and Christian Clark announced that they will leave the company at the end of the season. AJC's Amanda Coyne reported that Lee spent 21 seasons with the dance company, while Clark and Buskirk were with the Atlanta Ballet for 15 and 10 seasons, respectively. After seven seasons with the Atlanta Ballet, Heath Gill's contract was not renewed.
All four dancers will join Welker at Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre, which is expected to have its first performance at the Westside Cultural Arts Center in West Midtown in October.
Welker said the group first started to consider forming their own collective last fall, although they kept the details a secret out of respect for ongoing relationships within the Atlanta Ballet.
“As people know, our roots go very deep within that organization," he said. "We have a lot of personal relationships that mean very much to us. We did not want to harm those relationships. This was a way for us to figure out what we wanted to do and keep everything in a positive light.”
Welker said the autonomy and freedom the five dancers had at the Atlanta Ballet was a key factor in deciding they wanted to form their own dance company, instead of heading elsewhere. The group's love for Atlanta also played a huge role in the decision.
“We all feel passionately that Atlanta is our home," Welker said. “We’ve all been here so long and we’ve fallen in love with this city that we wanted to stay here. We did not want to take our talents elsewhere, which would’ve actually been the easier thing to do.”