This story originally appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of Pointe.
Atlanta Ballet has hired former San Francisco Ballet principal Gennadi Nedvigin to become the company's fourth leader. He stepped into the role in July, after longtime artistic director John McFall retired on June 1. "I could have danced longer, but I wanted to prioritize this opportunity," explains Nedvigin of his recent retirement from the stage. "It will work best if I do one thing."
While at San Francisco Ballet, Nedvigin's experience included working as a ballet master and stager of Yuri Possokhov's works, in addition to dancing lead roles in a wide variety of repertoire. When he staged Possokhov's Classical Symphony for Atlanta Ballet in 2014, Nedvigin was very impressed with the company. "I also enjoyed the sense of closeness among the dancers and the family atmosphere," he adds.
Glimmers of Nedvigin's vision can already be seen in the 2016–17 season, which includes a new commission choreographed by American Ballet Theatre corps dancer Gemma Bond, his own staging of Paquita, Possokhov's Firebird and the U.S. premiere of Liam Scarlett's Vespertine, as well as the previously successful Atlanta Ballet productions of Carmina Burana and Camino Real.
"I would like to build a platform of works made just for Atlanta Ballet and so well suited that we become known for it," says Nedvigin. He believes agility to be one of the advantages of helming a small company and hopes to start touring more as a result. It's too soon to know how Nedvigin's shift in direction will affect hiring and casting. However, all of the dancers were offered contracts for the 2016–17 season.