After a 16-year career with The Australian Ballet, former principal dancer Robert Curran has moved to the U.S. as the newly appointed artistic director of Louisville Ballet, formerly led by Bruce Simpson. The 24-member unranked company performs both classical full-lengths and contemporary work, throughout a 30-week contract.
Curran did not have a prior relationship with the company, and he credits the board of directors with believing in him despite his lack of formal administrative experience. "I understand the perceived risk involved," says Curran. "But my career as a dancer convinced me that ballet is a contemporary art form, and that's what I'll bring to Louisville Ballet."
Though he won't program a full season until 2015, Curran has already begun to formulate his goals for the company. In addition to continuing the classical tradition, Curran hopes to develop partnerships with artists in other genres, bring in contemporary choreographers and nurture rising talent from within the company.
As for now, Curran doesn't foresee any major changes to the company structure, though he has definite ideas of what he looks for in his dancers. "There's the courage and willingness to expose yourself, intelligence and that indescribable 'it' factor," he says. "Know when to work hard, when to ask for help and when to take it easy."