Gennadi Nedvigin, principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet, must have made an impression at Atlanta Ballet when he staged Yuri Possokhov's Classical Symphony for the company in 2015. After a seven-month search, AB has chosen Nedvigin to succeed artistic director John McFall, who steps down from the position this summer.
Nedvigin will take up his new post on August 1. Though this will be his first directorship, he has taught company class at SFB and acted as ballet master and stager at Atlanta Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, and Romanian National Ballet. Bolshoi-trained Nedvigin joined SFB in 1997 and became a principal in 2000. In his 19 seasons with the company, he has performed nearly every principal role in the classical repertoire, a broad range of contemporary works and has originated roles by modern dancemakers.
Atlanta Ballet is particularly excited about Nedvigin's experience working with preeminent choreographers. Allen Nelson, chair of AB's board of trustees, said in a press release that Nedvigin has the “access, artistry and innate understanding of excellence" to elevate the company and its artistic vision.
As a student at SFB School, I had the privilege of witnessing that artistry first hand, in company rehearsals and onstage. Nedvigin is one of those performers who puts his audience at ease: you never worry if he'll complete a tricky move; you simply watch and marvel at the number of revolutions or height of the leap. San Francisco's ballerinas shine with him as a partner, and his elegance radiates in classical roles and gives him fluid dynamism in contemporary ones.
Nedvigin follows in the footsteps of Joffrey Ballet director Ashley Wheater and Boston Ballet director Mikko Nissenen, other SFB dancers-turned-directors. The company will send Nedvigin off with a farewell performance, to take place during the run of John Cranko's Onegin, the final program of SFB's season.
Programming for Atlanta Ballet's 2016-2017 season has yet to be announced, although we bet Nedvigin has some ideas.