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The lack of female leaders in ballet is an old conversation. But a just-launched website, called the Dance Data Project, has brought something new to the discussion: actual numbers, not just anecdotal evidence.

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Audition Advice
Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe.

Have you ever attended an audition and wished that you knew what the director was looking for? We've rounded up some of our favorite quotes from our Director's Notes column over the past few years to give you a deeper glimpse into the minds of 10 artistic directors.

Ashley Wheater, Joffrey Ballet

"I want to develop and nurture artists," says Wheater, seeking "people who are not afraid to be expressive, and understand all the layers that go into making a work above and beyond the steps."

Ingrid Lorentzen, Norwegian National Ballet

"I like athletic classical dancers, with very strong footwork and articulation," Lorentzen says. "But it's also about the feeling I get from them, who I think can adapt to the Norwegian way."

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News
Gennadi Nedvigin rehearsing Classical Symphony at Atlanta Ballet. Photo by Charlie McCullers, courtesy Atlanta Ballet.

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.

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For an art form dominated by women, there sure are very few female in top positions in ballet. Actually, Richmond Ballet is hosting "The Glass Slipper Ceiling" focusing on the rarity of female artistic directors just this morning. Panelists include Ballet Memphis' Dorothy Gunther Pugh, Cincinnati Ballet's Victoria Morgan, Smuin Ballet's Celia Fushille and Richmond's own Stoner Winslett along with special guest Suzanne Farrell. Soon, it looks like we might have one more high-powered woman joining their ranks: The Royal Ballet star Tamara Rojo.

 

Earlier this week, London's The Independent published a feature by Alice Jones about Rojo. In it, Rojo says she's been working towards becoming an artistic director for some time, shadowing National Ballet of Canada's Karen Kain and earning a Master's degree in the performing arts. From what she says, Rojo seems like she would make a fantastic AD: "Ballet has to be not just good, it has to be excellent... When you have...such a big part of your budget guaranteed from the government, I think you do have more of a responsibility to be outrageous and to take risks." Rojo admits she's already eyeing a specific company to take over, but doesn't divulge which one. With a healthy mix of idealism and exacting standards, once she's ready to move on from performing, Rojo might just be the breath of fresh air the ballet world needs.

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