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ABT News

November 30, 2009




American Ballet Theatre Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky
will choreograph an all-new production of the Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky classic, The Nutcracker to premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in December 2010. ABT’s World Premiere of The Nutcracker was announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie at a press conference held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker will feature scenery and costumes by Richard Hudson and lighting by Jennifer Tipton. The Nutcracker will receive its World Premiere by American Ballet Theatre on Thursday evening, December 23, 2010 and will be given 16 performances during the two-week engagement, with preview performances given Wednesday evening, December 22 and Thursday matinee, December 23.

American Ballet Theatre’s new production of The Nutcracker launches a five-year partnership with Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). ABT will perform the holiday classic each December through 2014. ABT’s inaugural season at BAM will be a two-week engagement, with three and four-week engagements planned for subsequent seasons. The partnership was announced today by ABT Executive Director Rachel Moore.

“BAM is an extraordinary institution, committed to artistic excellence, and we cannot think of a better collaborator for our performances in Brooklyn,” said Moore. “The opportunity to broaden our reach and engage new audiences in this vibrant community is immeasurably important to ABT and its mission.”

BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins said, "This is a partnership made in heaven! We are delighted to be working with the extraordinary artists and leaders of American Ballet Theatre and are particularly pleased that our association will bring a beloved holiday classic to Brooklyn for years to come. These performances will thrill audiences of all ages and provide residual benefits to business establishments in the BAM neighborhood at large. New York is ready for a fabulous new Nutcracker, and we couldn’t be happier that it will have a special home at BAM."

BAM Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo said, “It is enormously gratifying to welcome American Ballet Theatre back to BAM after many years. We’re honored to partner with ABT and we’re especially excited to have Alexei Ratmansky’s new Nutcracker on the stage of the Howard Gilman Opera House for holiday seasons to come.”


Underwriting American Ballet Theatre’s new production of Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker will be a lead matching gift from David H. Koch of $2.5 million. The gift is a matching grant with funds raised for The Nutcrackermatched 1:1 by Koch.

Of his gift, Koch said, “I am delighted to make this pledge to American Ballet Theatre and its new production of The Nutcracker. ABT can benefit greatly from direct access to the burgeoning family-filled neighborhoods of Brooklyn, and the community, in turn, can develop a lasting relationship with this most important artistic institution. It is my hope that my pledge will inspire others to donate to this wonderful project.”


In announcing American Ballet Theatre’s five-year holiday engagement at BAM, Executive Director Rachel Moore spoke of community-related educational opportunities that will accompany ABT’s performances. “ABT regularly engages with area public schools in the cities which we perform. Our award winning Make a Ballet program and Make a Ballet on Tour help meet the need for arts education in underserved schools and communities,” said Moore. “We intend to carry on that tradition with public schools in Brooklyn through ABT at School: The Nutcracker Program.”

ABT at School, specifically tailored for grades 2-5, sponsors classroom visits by ABT teaching artists to introduce the art of ballet to young people, foster an appreciation for the performing arts and develop and educate future audiences. ABT at School will also invite its students to a special dress rehearsal of The Nutcracker and distribute study guides to enable teachers to incorporate the arts into their regular classroom lessons.

In addition to ABT at School, American Ballet Theatre will host a series of master classes led by a member of ABT’s artistic staff. These classes will be geared specifically to aspiring young dancers in Brooklyn. Prior to select performances, families will have opportunities to work with ABT teaching artists to explore ABT’s new production of The Nutcracker. Special hands-on activities will include storytelling, crafts and creative movement.


Alexei Ratmansky (Choreography) was born in St. Petersburg and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow. His performing career included positions as principal dancer with Ukrainian National Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet. He has choreographed ballets for the Dutch National Ballet, Kirov Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and the State Ballet of Georgia, under the artistic direction of former ABT Principal Dancer Nina Ananiashvili. His 1998 work, Dreams of Japan, choreographed for Ms. Ananiashvili, earned a prestigious Golden Mask Award by the Theatre Union of Russia. In 2005, he was awarded the Benois de la Danse prize for his choreography of Anna Karenina for the Royal Danish Ballet.

Mr. Ratmansky was named artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet in January 2004. For the Bolshoi Ballet, he choreographed full-length productions of The Bright Stream
(2003) and The Bolt (2005) and re-staged Le Corsaire (2007) and the Soviet-era Flames
of Paris
(2008). Under Mr. Ratmansky’s direction, the Bolshoi Ballet was named “Best Foreign Company” in 2005 and 2007 by The Critics’ Circle in London, and he received a
Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for The Bright Stream in 2006. In 2007, he won a Golden Mask Award for Best Choreographer for his production of Jeu de Cartes for the Bolshoi Ballet.
Mr. Ratmansky was named American Ballet Theatre’s first Artist in Residence in January 2009. For ABT, he has created On the Dnieper, Seven Sonatas and Waltz Masquerade&#4#44; a pièce d’occasion for Nina Ananiashvili.

Richard Hudson (Scenery and Costumes) was born in Zimbabwe and attended the Wimbledon School of Art in England. He is the British Scenography Commissioner to OISTAT (Organization Internationale des Scenografes, Techniciens et Architects de ThéƒÅtre) and a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI). In 1988 he won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Set Design for his work at the Old Vic and in 1998, Mr. Hudson was awarded the Tony Award for his set designs for The Lion King. Mr. Hudson’s designs for The Lion King also garnered him the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design. He has designed sets and costumes for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre, the Young Vic and The Gate, London. He has designed operas for the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera House, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Vienna State Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and in Z√ºrich, Munich, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Venice, Florence, Turin, Houston and Washington. In 2003, Mr. Hudson won the Gold Medal for Set Design at the Prague Quadrennial for his designs for Tamerlano at the Teatro alla Pergola, Florence.

Jennifer Tipton (Lighting) was born in Columbus, Ohio and attended Cornell University. Among her numerous awards and citations are two “Bessies” and a Laurence Olivier Award for lighting dance, a Drama-League Award, two American Theatre Wing Awards, an Obie, two Drama Desk Awards and two Tony Awards (The Cherry Orchard and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway), the National Endowment for the Arts Theatre Program Distinguished Artist Award, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize in 2001, the Jerome Robbins Prize in 2003 and the Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture in New York City in 2004. In 2008, Ms. Tipton became the United States Artists Gracie Fellow and a MacArthur Fellow.

Ms. Tipton’s work in opera includes Richard Jones’ production of Hansel und Gretel, and David McVicar’s production of Il Trovatore for the Metropolitan Opera and
Aida directed by Mr. McVicar at the Royal Opera House in London.
Ms. Tipton teaches lighting at Yale School of Drama and has been an artistic associate with the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge and the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Ms. Tipton’s lighting has been represented in American Ballet Theatre’s repertory since A Soldier’s Tale in 1971. Among the many ballets in the Company’s repertory that she has lit are Amnon V’Tamar, Bach Partita, Ballet Imperial, Brief Fling, Bruch Violin Concerto No.1, Bum’s Rush, Don Quixote (Kitri’s Wedding), Enough Said, Field, Chair and Mountain, Gala Performance, Giselle, The Informer, Intermezzo, In the Upper Room, The Leaves are Fading, Mikhail Baryshnikov’s production of The Nutcracker, The Other, Push Comes to Shove, Sinatra Suite and Stravinsky Violin Concerto.


David H. Koch, a member of American Ballet Theatre’s Board of Governing Trustees for the past 25 years, is an executive vice president and a board member of the privately owned Koch Industries, Inc., based in Wichita, Kansas, which owns a diverse group of companies with more than $100 billion in revenues, 80,000 employees and a presence in nearly 60 countries. Familiar Koch companies’ brands include STAINMASTER¬Æ carpet, LYCRA¬Æ spandex, Quilted Northern¬Æ tissue and Dixie¬Æ
cups and tabletop products. Mr. Koch, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, applies that scientific expertise in his other role as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Koch Chemical Technology Group, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries. In addition to his business activities, Mr. Koch has personally pledged and contributed more than $500 million to a wide variety of organizations and programs which further cancer research, enhance medical centers and support educational institutions, as well as programs that sustain arts and cultural institutions. A member of ABT’s Board of Governing Trustees since 1984, he served as Vice Chairman of the Board for more than a decade. David and his wife, Julia, frequently serve as co-chairs at ABT’s benefit galas and have underwritten previous ABT productions. Mr. and Mrs. Koch also host an annual fundraising event in Palm Beach, Florida on behalf of ABT. This year’s December 19 event will include a preview from Mr. Ratmansky’s new production of The Nutcracker.


America’s oldest performing arts institution in continuous operation, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is recognized internationally for innovative dance, music, and theater programming‚Äîincluding its renowned Next Wave Festival. BAM also features an acclaimed repertory film program, literary and visual art events, and extensive
educational programs. The institution is led by President Karen Brooks Hopkins and Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo.


American Ballet Theatre is recognized as one of the great dance companies in the world. Few ballet companies equal ABT for its combination of size, scope and outreach. Since its founding in 1940, ABT annually tours the United States, performing for more
than 650,000 people and has made more than 30 international tours to 42 countries as perhaps the most representative American ballet company. In 2006, ABT was recognized as America’s National Ballet Company¬Æ by an act of Congress.

Tickets for American Ballet Theatre’s all-new production of The Nutcracker will go on sale to the general public in September 2010 at Brooklyn Academy of Music’s box office, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, New York and on-line at

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