Stuttgart Ballet artistic director Reid Anderson will be the first to admit that his company loves a good party. "We celebrate quite a lot here," he says. Indeed, there's much to celebrate this week in the industrial German city famous for Porsche and Mercedes Benz: after 39 years at Stuttgart Ballet—17 as a dancer and 22 as artistic director—Anderson is retiring. And the company is giving him a grand, 10-day send-off. A Reid Anderson Celebration starts Friday, July 13 and continues through July 22, with a different event almost every night. The festival includes the film premiere of John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, full-length performances of Christian Spuck's Lulu. A Monstre Tragedy and Cranko's Onegin, three mixed-repertory evenings, a one-man show starring Anderson himself, and a star-studded farewell gala.
Hired into Stuttgart Ballet by legendary choreographer John Cranko at 19, the Canadian-born Anderson rose to become a principal dancer. He then directed Ballet British Columbia and the National Ballet of Canada before returning to take the helm of Stuttgart Ballet in 1996. He is leaving behind an impressive legacy: a diverse repertoire that includes 112 world premieres, internationally acclaimed dancers (Alicia Amatriain, Friedemann Vogel and Jason Reilly to name a few), a new building for the John Cranko School, a diaspora of alumni now choreographing or leading companies, and a 94 percent audience attendance rate. I spoke with Anderson over the phone last month to reflect on his career and to see what's next for him.