Press Releases

May 19, 2014

San Francisco Ballet's Myles Thatcher Awarded Prestigious Mentorship with Alexei Ratmansky Through Rolex Arts Initiative

Thatcher one of seven emerging artists to be paired with renowned mentors for year of creative collaboration

SAN FRANCISCO, Monday, May 19, 2014—San Francisco Ballet has announced that Corps de Ballet member Myles Thatcher has been named one of seven talented young artists from all over the world who will each benefit from a life-changing, year-long collaboration with one of the world’s greatest artists. The mentorship is sponsored by the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, a biennial philanthropic program created by Rolex to ensure that the world’s artistic heritage is passed on from generation to generation, across continents and cultures.

The young artists, named as protégés for the 2014-2015 cycle of the Rolex Arts Initiative, have each been personally selected by the mentor in their discipline, after a global talent search and selection process conducted by Rolex. ABT Artist in Residence and former Bolshoi Ballet Director Alexei Ratmansky will mentor Thatcher as part of the program; to date, he has choreographed two ballets for San Francisco Ballet, and the Company has four of his works in its repertory.

“San Francisco Ballet is incredibly proud that Myles has been selected for the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative and that Alexei Ratmansky—someone he knows well and has worked with in the studio—will be his mentor. I’ve personally enjoyed watching Myles grow as a dancer, and most recently, as a budding choreographer. I look forward to seeing his first work for the Company, which will premiere on the 2015 season,” said SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Thatcher trained at The Harid Conservatory, Ellison Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet School prior to being named an apprentice in 2009.  He joined the Company in 2010. Thatcher has performed featured roles in Tomasson’s Giselle (Wilfred) and Nutcracker (Jack-in-the-Box, Russian, and Spanish); Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote (Gamache); Cranko’s Onegin (Lensky); Caniparoli’s Ibsen’s House (Oswald); and Wheeldon’s Cinderella (Benjamin), among others.

His repertory also includes Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake, Prism, and Trio; Balanchine’s Coppélia, The Four Temperaments, Scotch Symphony, and Theme and Variations; Fokine’s Petrouchka; Forsythe’s Artifact Suite; Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid; Possokhov’s Classical Symphony, Fusion, and The Rite of Spring; Robbins’ Glass Pieces, The Concert, and Opus 19/The Dreamer; Wheeldon’s Ghosts, Number Nine, and Rush, and Zanella’s Underskin, among others.

Thatcher choreographed In the Passerine’s Clutch for the SF Ballet 2013 Repertory Season Gala and, for the San Francisco Ballet School Showcase, Spinae and Stone and Steel. On May 28, at the annual SF Ballet School Student Showcase, Trainees will premiere his newest work, Spectrum. Prior to joining SF Ballet in 2012, Thatcher participated in the San Francisco Ballet School Trainee Program in 2008–09.

For the 2014-2015 cycle, international nominators invited 154 artists from six continents to apply for mentorships, and from that group three or four artists from each discipline were chosen as finalists. These finalists were then interviewed by the respective mentors, who each chose one protégé for the 2014–2015 mentoring year. The pairs will work together in any way they choose. At the end of every cycle, the Rolex Arts Initiative hosts an international gathering of artists at which the mentors and protégés share highlights from their year together.

In support of their participation, the protégés will each receive a grant of 25,000 Swiss francs and are eligible for an additional 25,000 Swiss francs for the creation of new work after the mentoring year. These gifted young artists are given the time to learn, create and grow outside the financial and commercial demands artists face in the early years of a professional career.

About San Francisco Ballet
As America’s oldest professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States. Guided in its early years by American dance pioneers and brothers Lew, Willam and Harold Christensen, San Francisco Ballet currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world. In 2005, San Francisco Ballet won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Dance” and in 2006, it was the first non-European company elected “Company of the Year” in Dance Europe magazine’s annual readers’ poll. In 2008, the Company marked its 75th anniversary with a host of initiatives including an ambitious New Works Festival. Recent highlights include the United States premiere of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid, which was broadcast internationally, as well as nationally on PBS’s Great Performances “Dance in America” in 2011. In 2012, SF Ballet’s ambitious tour schedule included London and Washington, D.C., plus first-time visits to Hamburg, Moscow, and Sun Valley, Idaho. In October 2013, the Company performed at New York’s David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, where The New York Times declared SF Ballet “a national treasure.” 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of Helgi Tomasson’s tenure as artistic director of San Francisco Ballet.

About The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative
The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative is a biennial philanthropic programme created by Rolex to ensure that the world’s artistic heritage is passed on from generation to generation, across continents and cultures. Since its launch in 2002, the initiative has built a remarkable artistic community that connects artists around the globe. Some of the world’s most distinguished artists have served as mentors. They are: Margaret Atwood, John Baldessari, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Trisha Brown, (the late) Patrice Chéreau, (the late) Sir Colin Davis, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Brian Eno, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, William Forsythe, Stephen Frears, Gilberto Gil, Sir Peter Hall, David Hockney, Rebecca Horn, Sir Anish Kapoor, William Kentridge, Jiří Kylián, Lin Hwai-min, Toni Morrison, Walter Murch, Mira Nair, Youssou N’Dour, Jessye Norman, Martin Scorsese, Kazuyo Sejima, Peter Sellars, Álvaro Siza, Wole Soyinka, Julie Taymor, Saburo Teshigawara, Kate Valk, Mario Vargas Llosa, Robert Wilson, Zhang Yimou and Pinchas Zukerman.

Past protégés include: Naomi Alderman, Sahel Al-Hiyari, Antonio García Ángel, Aditya Assarat, Edem Awumey, Nahuel Perez Biscayart, Michał Borczuch, Selina Cartmell, Josep Caballé-Domenech, David Aaron Carpenter, Alejandro Cesarco, Dina El Wedidi, Sara Fgaier, Lara Foot, Ben Frost, Eduardo Fukushima, Nicholas Hlobo, Masanori Handa, Annemarie Jacir, Sang Jijia, Julia Leigh, Federico León, Mateo López, Aurelio Martínez, Josué Méndez, Celina Murga, Susan Platts, Anani Dodji Sanouvi, Junaid Jemal Sendi, Lee Serle, Tracy K. Smith, Jason Akira Somma, Matthias Weischer, Tara June Winch, Maya Zbib and Yang Zhao. For further information and photographs, please visit

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