Dancers from José Mateo Ballet Theatre in Mateo's "Schubert Adagio." Photo by Gary Sloan, courtesy JMBT.

José Mateo Steps Down as Artistic Director of José Mateo Ballet Theatre, Company to Go on Hiatus

A mainstay in Boston's cultural landscape, José Mateo Ballet Theatre will end its 32-year run under founder, artistic director and choreographer José Mateo following the company's Moving Violations program this weekend. The 18-member company will be on hiatus until a new director is found, save for performances of Mateo's The Nutcracker in November and December. The 66-year-old Mateo says that while he is ending his duties as artistic director, he is not retiring from the organization—he's merely shifting his focus to further developing the José Mateo Ballet Theatre School and the Dance for World Community festival he produces each year. Pointe spoke with him recently about his decision and his future plans.


Why are you stepping down now, before a new director is hired?

Thirty-two years choreographing for one company makes for a long history. I have other projects I want to turn my attention to.

What will be the biggest challenge in hiring a new artistic director?

Changing hands for a company that has a unique repertory of only my works. I don't know if I would want someone else to set that work, nor would I want to restrain anyone from offering their own work. It's not simply stepping in, it would really be to start something new. Our organizational mission is about presenting new work and developing audiences for it, and that is going to take some time.


Mateo coaches company dancers. Photo by Gary Sloan, courtesy JMBT

Will the company retain the name José Mateo Ballet Theatre? What will happen to the approximately 80 ballets you've created?

The company name is a decision the board will have to make with input from new stakeholders and the new artistic director's vision. As for the ballets, we've have been in discussions on licensing them and making them available to other companies and to the new artistic director.

What are your plans for developing the school?

Creating a movement style has necessitated developing a technique for teaching that style. That technique has helped solidify a pedagogy that I would like to not just codify, but institute more officially in our school. It allows ballet to be more inclusive and so the pedagogy is aimed at very personalized training. Each student is guided to learn his or her own instrument, which ultimately makes for strong technique.

And for your annual festival, Dance for World Community?

With Dance for World Community we have tried to reposition the very role of dance in communities. While we have had success with it over the past 10 years, I feel we have only seen the tip of the iceberg of its potential, and I would like to bring it other cities.


Mateo teaching class. Photo by Gary Sloan, courtesy JMBT.

Tell me about your choice of works for the company's final repertory program?

We have some works from the earlier part of the company's history, the middle part, and a brand-new work. It has been a very effective conclusion to our performances.

Were you trying to say something specific with the program's premiere, New Paths?

It was intended to somehow represent what the artistic mission of José Mateo Ballet Theatre has been all along, which is to take this traditional art form and modernize it. Not turn it on its head and revolutionize it. I have never identified with the term contemporary ballet, but I would like to think our "new classism"-stylized ballets are relevant to contemporary audiences.

What will you miss most?

Our company has always been 18-20 dancers, and I have had the opportunity to develop very close relationships with each of them. I have been very fortunate that many of our dancers have stayed with us for a very long time—many for most of their careers. I have watched them develop from young dancers into mature artists and I will miss that day-to-day process. It is what engages me most and it is where I can give the most.

José Mateo Ballet Theatre present its final performances of Moving Violations, April 27-29, 2018; Sanctuary Theatre, Cambridge, MA. www.ballettheatre.org

Latest Posts


Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

2020 Stars of the Corps: 10 Dancers Making Strides In and Out of the Spotlight

The corps de ballet make up the backbone of every company. In our Fall 2020 issue, we highlighted 10 ensemble standouts to keep your eye on. Click on their names to learn more!

Dara Holmes, Joffrey Ballet

A male dancer catches a female dancer in his right arm as she wraps her left arm around his shoulder and executes a high arabesque on pointe. Both wear white costumes and dance in front of a blue backdrop onstage.

Dara Holmes and Edson Barbosa in Myles Thatcher's Body of Your Dreams

Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

Wanyue Qiao, American Ballet Theatre

Wearing a powder blue tutu, cropped light yellow top and feather tiara, Wanyue Qiao does a piqu\u00e9 retir\u00e9 on pointe on her left leg and pulls her right arm in towards her.

Wanyue Qiao as an Odalisque in Konstantin Sergeyev's Le Corsaire

Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson, Houston Ballet

Three male dancers in tight-fitting, multicolored costumes stand in positions of ascending height from left to right. All extend their right arms out in front of them.

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson (far right) with Saul Newport and Austen Acevedo in Oliver Halkowich's Following

Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

Leah McFadden, Colorado Ballet

Wearing a white pixie wig and a short light-pink tunic costume, a female ballet dancer poses in attitude front on pointe with her left arm bent across her ribs and her right hand held below her chin.

Leah McFadden as Amour in Colorado Ballet's production of Don Quixote

Mike Watson, Courtesy Colorado Ballet

Maria Coelho, Tulsa Ballet

Maria Coelho and Sasha Chernjavsky in Andy Blankenbuehler's Remember Our Song

Kate Lubar, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

Alexander Reneff-Olson, San Francisco Ballet

A ballerina in a black feathered tutu stands triumphantly in sous-sus, holding the hand of a male dancer in a dark cloak with feathers underneath who raises his left hand in the air.

Alexander Reneff-Olson (right) as Von Rothbart with San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan in Swan Lake

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

India Bradley, New York City Ballet

Wearing a blue dance dress with rhinestone embellishments and a sparkly tiara, India Bradley finishes a move with her arms out to the side and hands slightly flexed.

India Bradley practices backstage before a performance of Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2.

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

Bella Ureta, Cincinnati Ballet

Wearing a white dress with pink corset, Bella Ureta does a first arabesque on pointe in front of an onstage stone wall.

Bella Ureta performs the Act I Pas de Trois in Kirk Peterson's Swan Lake

Hiromi Platt, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

Alejándro Gonzales, Oklahoma City Ballet

Dressed in a green bell-boy costume and hat, Alejandro Gonz\u00e1lez does a saut\u00e9 with his left leg in retir\u00e9 and his arms in a long diagonal from right to left. Other dancers in late 19-century period costumes watch him around the stage.

Alejandro González in Michael Pink's Dracula at Oklahoma City Ballet.

Kate Luber, Courtesy Oklahoma City Ballet

Nina Fernandes, Miami City Ballet

Wearing a long white tutu and crown, Nina Fernandes does a saut de chat in front of a wintery backdrop as snow falls from the top of the stage.

Nina Fernandes in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Miami City Ballet

Quinn Wharton

Pacific Northwest Ballet's Angelica Generosa Shares Her Classic, Comfy Style In and Out of the Studio

"I love the feeling and look of effortless fashion," says Angelica Generosa. Preferring a classic style, the Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist keeps her wardrobe stocked with blazers. But they serve a practical purpose, too. "It tends to get chilly in Seattle, so it's the perfect accessory for layering," Generosa explains.

She's also quite fond of designer handbags. "They're my go-to accessory, and they're also my weakness when shopping," she says, naming Chloé, Chanel and Dior as some of her favorite brands. "I really appreciate the craftsmanship it takes to produce one—they're so beautiful and each has its own story, in a way."

In the studio, Generosa prioritizes comfort, and she'll change up her look depending on the repertoire (leotards and tutus for classical works, breathable shirts with workout pants for contemporary). But she always arrives to work in style. "I really love putting together outfits for even just going to the studio," she says. "It's another way of expressing my mood and what kind of vibe I'm going for that day."

The Details: Street

Angelica Generosa, wearing a blue blazer, white blouse and gray jeans, is photographed from underneath as she walks and looks to the right.

Quinn Wharton

BCBG blazer: "It has some shoulder pads and a really cool pattern," says Generosa. "It reminds me of my mom and '80s fashion."

Zara blouse: She incorporate neutrals, like this white satin button-up, to balance bright pops of colors.

Angelica Generosa looks off to her right in front of a glass-windowed building. She wears a blue blazer, white blouse, gray jeans and carries a small green handbag.

Quinn Wharton

Madewell jeans: Comfort is a major factor for Generosa, who gets her fashion inspiration from her mom, friends and people she comes across day to day.

Chloé bag: "I tend to have smaller purses because I'm quite small. Bigger bags overwhelm me sometimes—unless it's my dance bag, of course!"

The Details: Studio

Angleica Generosa, wearing a blue tank leotard, black wool leggings and pink pointe shoes, balances in a lunge on pointe with her left leg in front, facing a wall of windows.

Quinn Wharton

Label Dancewear leotard: "This was designed by my good friend Elizabeth Murphy, a principal dancer here at PNB. Her leotards always fit me really well."

Mirella leggings: "I get cold easily," says Generosa, who wears leggings and vests to stay warm throughout the day.

Angelica Generosa, wearing a blue tank leotard, black wool tights and pink pointe shoes, jumps and crosses her right foot over her left shin while lifting her arms up to the right.

Quinn Wharton

Freed of London pointe shoes: "When sewing them, I crisscross my elastics and use an elasticized ribbon from Body Wrappers," which helps alleviate Achilles tendon issues, she says. She then trims the satin off of the tip of the shoe. "Then I bend the shank a bit to loosen it up and cut a bit off where my arch is."

Getty Images

This New "Nutcracker" Competition Wants Your Dance Studio to be Part of a Virtual Collaboration

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks