James Kudelka

Cruel World
Sin and Tonic
States of Grace

James Kudelka became Resident Choreographer of The National Ballet of Canada following nine years as Artistic Director. He brings to the role an international reputation as one of the most imaginative and vitally important figures in contemporary ballet. His many works, which encompass a wide variety of forms, from original full length story ballets and re-interpretations of the classical canon to more intimate chamber and solo pieces, exemplify a tireless intelligence, probing and exploring the emotional and psychological avenues of the human condition with a vision at once forthright yet deeply compassionate. He terms himself a “conscientious observer” who gravitates in his work toward the themes of love, sex and death. Whether employing narrative means or the more elliptical strategies of abstraction, Kudelka’s ballets show a choreographer at home equally in the vocabularies of classicism and modernism, but infusing everything he does with an arrestingly original and richly visual style. A remarkably prolific artist, his more than seventy ballets have been staged by dance companies throughout the world.

Kudelka’s major works for The National Ballet include An Italian Straw Hat (2005); Cinderella (2004); Chacony (2004); his first full-length original ballet, The Contract (The Pied Piper) (2002); The Firebird (2000), a co-production between The National Ballet of Canada, American Ballet Theatre and Houston Ballet; A Disembodied Voice (1999); Swan Lake (1999); The Four Seasons (1997); The Nutcracker (1995); Spring Awakening (1994); The Actress (1994); The Miraculous Mandarin (1993) and Pastorale (1990). His works for other companies include In Paradisum (1983) and Désir (1991) for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens; The Heart of the Matter (1986) for The Joffrey Ballet; Fifteen Heterosexual Duets (1991) for Toronto Dance Theatre; Terra Firma (1995) and Some Women and Men (1998) for San Francisco Ballet; Le Baiser de la fée (1996) for Birmingham Royal Ballet; The Book of Alleged Dances (1999) for The Australian Ballet and Gazebo Dances (2003) for BalletMet.

In 2005, Kudelka was appointed Officer of The Order of Canada.

Désir is Kudelka’s fifth work to enter American Ballet Theatre’s repertoire since Cruel World (1994), States of Grace (1995) and Sin and Tonic (2002) and Cinderella (2006).


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