Among the flurry of ballet retirements in the past year, some dancers have been able to jump straight into leadership positions. Carla Körbes became associate artistic director of L.A. Dance Project. Julie Kent took charge of American Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive program. But San Francisco Ballet’s Gennadi Nedvigin didn’t even have a chance to announce his retirement before news broke today that he will become the new artistic director of Atlanta Ballet. The Bolshoi-trained principal dancer, who joined SFB in 1997 and was promoted to principal in 2000, has recently begun teaching, coaching and staging works (particularly those of SFB resident choreographer Yuri Possokhov), around the world. In 2014, he set Possokhov’s Classical Symphony on Atlanta Ballet. Now, he’ll take charge of the company, joining the Joffrey’s Ashley Wheater and Boston Ballet’s Mikko Nissinen as the third former SFB dancer currently leading a major American company.
Atlanta Ballet’s current director, John McFall, announced his retirement seven months ago after a 20-year tenure. He will leave after the close of the season on June 1st, and Nedvigin will take over on August 1st, after retiring from SFB with a performance of John Cranko’s Onegin in May. As a dancer known for building dramatic tension in roles like Lensky and Albrecht, it will be interesting to see where he takes a company whose repertory is less focused on these heavy classics.