Myles Thatcher and Alexei Ratmansky, Photo: ©Rolex/Reto Albertalli
Imagine being able to say that Alexei Ratmansky has personally selected you to be his protégé. San Francisco Ballet corps member and budding choreographer Myles Thatcher can now claim that honor after being chosen as this year’s dance protégé for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. The program, started in 2002, pairs gifted young artists with a renowned mentor in their field. In addition to $28,000, Thatcher will spend the next year working one-on-one with Ratmansky, American Ballet Theatre’s choreographer-in-residence.
After being named a finalist, Thatcher flew to Paris to meet with Ratmansky for an interview. “We sat and chatted for two hours, although it didn’t feel nearly that long,” he says in a statement on the organization's website. Thatcher, who joined SFB in 2010, choreographed on the company for its 2013 repertory gala and has created two works for school. He’s since been commissioned to create a new ballet for SFB’s 2015 season. “I need someone like Alexei to ask me questions and challenge me,” he continues. “I have a lot to learn about how an experienced choreographer stays inspired to create new work, collaborates with music, costumes and lighting, and challenges himself as an artist.”