Next February, Atlanta Ballet will present the 19th-century ballet “La Sylphide,” shown here in a Boston Ballet production. CONTRIBUTED BY GENE SCHIAVONE
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

Announcing 2018-19 season, Atlanta Ballet unveils plans to expand

Two years ago, when Atlanta Ballet appointed Gennadi Nedvigin as its fourth artistic director, he voiced a vision to increase the company’s size, add a main stage production in the fall, and appear in new venues in Atlanta and beyond. Despite a major turnover last spring, he’s well on his way to realizing that vision.

Atlanta Ballet is announcing its 2018-19 season with plans to expand the company from 32 to 42 artists. It will be the largest professional company Atlanta Ballet has presented since its founding in 1929, Atlanta Ballet officials say.

The midsize company will enable Nedvigin to program bigger and broader productions, such as next season’s larger-than-life new version of “The Nutcracker,” choreographed by Yuri Possokhov.

The three-year initiative is funded by a $1.5 million gift from an anonymous donor.

Arturo Jacobus, president and CEO of Atlanta Ballet, said the donation will enable the organization to “shift Atlanta Ballet’s status to a size that puts us among some of the larger companies in the nation.”

“Not only will the expansion allow us to adopt a robust array of world-class repertoire,” Jacobus said, “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.”

This fall, Atlanta Ballet will add six new positions to its main company and four to its second company, Atlanta Ballet 2. Nedvigin hopes that the company expansion will “extend our platforms and audience, not just in metro Atlanta, but beyond to neighboring states and nationally.” In this way, Nedvigin hopes to attract more students to the school as well as funds to sustain the larger company into the future.

Next season’s repertoire ranges from “La Sylphide,” one of the oldest surviving ballets from the Romantic era, to three new commissions (in addition to “The Nutcracker”), including a world premiere by Liam Scarlett, one of today’s most sought-after ballet choreographers.

The season will begin in September, the company’s first fall mainstage production since 2011. The mixed bill will feature Jiri Kylian’s 1975 masterwork “Return to a Strange Land,” a new piece by Ricardo Amarante, and Mauro Bigonzetti’s “Vertigo,” a stark contemporary duet performed by members of the Czech National Ballet.

Next March, Atlanta Ballet will reprise Alexander Ekman’s “Cacti,” shown here in its 2015 Atlanta Ballet premiere. CONTRIBUTED BY CHARLIE MCCULLERS / ATLANTA BALLET
Photo: For the AJC

Spring repertory highlights include a revival of Alexander Ekman’s “Cacti,” a humorous poke at high-brow conceptual art, and the company premiere of Mark Morris’ large-cast “Sandpaper Ballet,” which the San Francisco Chronicle described as “a light and slight, delightfully loopy sprawl of a pop dance.”

Next April, Atlanta Ballet plans to debut at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center.

Mark Morris’ “Sandpaper Ballet,” shown here in a Pittsburgh Ballet production, will receive its Atlanta Ballet premiere next March. CONTRIBUTED BY RICH SOFRANKO
Photo: For the AJC

ATLANTA BALLET’S 2018-19 LINEUP

Sept. 14-16: Jiri Kylian’s “Return to a Strange Land,” world premiere by Ricardo Amarante, Mauro Bigonzetti’s “Vertigo” performed by members of the Czech National Ballet

Dec. 8-24: Yuri Possokhov’s “The Nutcracker” (with Atlanta Ballet Orchestra)

Feb. 15-23, 2019: “La Sylphide” (with Atlanta Ballet Orchestra)

Feb. 21-24, 2019: “Beauty and the Beast” one-hour family ballet

March 22-24, 2019: “Cacti” by Alexander Ekman, “Sandpaper Ballet” by Mark Morris, world premiere by Yury Yanowsky (with Atlanta Ballet Orchestra) 

April (dates TBD): Program at Byers Theatre, Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center

Next season, Atlanta Ballet will reprise “Denouement,” by rising choreographer Gemma Bond. CONTRIBUTED BY KIM KENNEY / ATLANTA BALLET
Photo: For the AJC

May 10-12, 2019: “Denouement” by Gemma Bond, “Sum Stravinsky” by Kiyon Gaines, world premiere by Liam Scarlett (with Atlanta Ballet Orchestra)

All performances will be at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, except “Nutcracker” at the Fox Theatre and April’s production at Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center. Subscription packages are on sale, with single tickets available in late summer. 404-892-3303, atlantaballet.com.

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