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ABT News

March 8, 2006


Kirk Peterson, Ballet Master and former Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, has been appointed Artistic Director of ABT Studio Company, it was announced today by Kevin McKenzie, ABT Artistic Director. Peterson’s appointment becomes effective June 1, 2006.

Peterson began his ballet studies at the age of three in his native New Orleans, where he studied for fifteen years with Lelia Haller. He began his dance career with the New Orleans Opera Ballet and then, Atlanta Ballet. He was awarded a scholarship by David Howard to Harkness House for Ballet Arts and became a charter member of the Harkness Youth Dancers, under the direction of Ben Stevenson. Peterson went on to perform as Principal Dancer with Harkness Ballet, London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) and the National Ballet of Washington. He joined American Ballet Theatre in 1974 and rose to the rank of Principal before joining San Francisco Ballet as Principal Dancer and Resident Choreographer from 1980-1985. His extensive repertoire as a dancer included all the full-length classics and a wide range of works by the world’s leading choreographers.

Formerly the Artistic Director of Hartford Ballet (1993-1998), Peterson created and restaged nearly 20 works for the company including new versions of The Firebird, Le Sacre du Printemps and L’Après Midi d’un Faune and original versions of Coppélia and The Nutcracker.

As a choreographer, Peterson has created over 50 ballets for such companies as San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Cincinnati Ballet, among others. He was a founding member of the San Francisco based OMO Dances and was later appointed Assistant Artistic Director of the Washington Ballet. He collaborated with Michael Smuin on the Broadway shows Anything Goes and Shogun. From 2002-04, Peterson served as the Resident Choreographer of Cincinnati Ballet.

Peterson succeeds John Meehan, Artistic Director of the Studio Company for the past eight years. The ABT Studio Company is a small classical company of 12 young dancers of outstanding potential. Now in its eleventh season, ABT Studio Company prepares young dancers to enter American Ballet Theatre and provides opportunities for the emergence of new and established choreographers and composers. Through in-school performances and academic residencies, ABT Studio Company brings professional dance into communities around the country.

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