In a move sending shockwaves through the ballet world today, Bolshoi Ballet’s artistic director–golden boy Alexei Ratmansky has announced he will not, as most expected, be stepping into Christopher Wheeldon’s hallowed shoes as New York City Ballet’s choreographer-in-residence after his current contract expires at the end of this year. Instead, hilariously, he’ll be joining NYCB’s rival, American Ballet Theatre, as its artist-in-residence; he’s signed up to spend twenty weeks per season with the company for the next five years, choreographing at least one new work a year and retooling one of his old ones.
ABT hasn’t benefited long-term from the stamp of a contemporary choreographer since Twyla Tharp’s heyday, so we’re excited to see how the avant-garde Ratmansky works with the star-filled, too-seldom-challenged company (he’s already disclosed his first work for ABT is set to Prokofiev). And while we were initially sad to hear about the no-go with City Ballet, we’ve since reconsidered: The prospect of seeing something like Ratmansky’s groundbreaking Concerto DSCH in between Don Quixote and Swan Lake sounds mighty refreshing.
Bolshoi Ballet’s Loss Is American Ballet Theater’s Gain [NYT]