Who is Alexei Ratmansky?
Meet the choreographer behind Shostakovich Trilogy and The Seasons
Alexei Ratmansky’s Symphony #9 was part of SF Ballet’s 2021 Digital Season. It was performed as part of Program 03, streamed March 4–24.
A renowned and lauded choreographer, Alexei Ratmansky was born in St. Petersburg and trained at Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet School. As an acclaimed principal dancer, he performed with the Ukrainian National Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and the Royal Danish Ballet. From 2004-08, Ratmansky served as artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet and under his direction, the troupe was named Best Foreign Company twice (2005 and 2007) by the Critics’ Circle in London.
Since 2009, Ratmansky has held the position of artist in residence at American Ballet Theatre and in May and June of 2016, the company celebrated his many contributions to the dance world with a four-program festival of his works, including the American premiere of his ballet The Golden Cockerel.His accolades are numerous and include being named a 2013 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and serving as a choreographic mentor to Corps de Ballet member Myles Thatcher through the prestigious Rolex Mentor & Protégés Arts Initiative. In a 2015 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Thatcher remarked, “Alexei [Ratmansky] is an incredibly perceptive person. It’s wonderful to bounce ideas off him. He has so much to share.”
In addition, he is the recipient of a knighthood from Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II in 2001. He has been awarded the Benois de la Danse prize for his choreography of Anna Karenina, Shostakovich Trilogy, and The Tempest.
Ratmansky’s work is prodigious and he has choreographed ballets for many companies including Mariinsky Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, New York City Ballet, and the Australian Ballet, among others. His association with SF Ballet began in 2003, when he created Le carnaval des animaux on the Company. Ratmansky choreographed From Foreign Lands for SF Ballet in 2013. As co-commissions with American Ballet Theatre, he has created Shostakovich Trilogy and The Seasons, which will be performed by San Francisco Ballet in 2020.
With all he has achieved, it’s not surprising that in a review of his ballet The Bright Stream, The New York Times noted, “[Ratmansky is] the finest Russian choreographer since George Balanchine . . . Mr. Ratmansky has already subtly changed the course of Russian ballet…[and] he is now quietly changing the course of ballet in the West.”
Header image: Alexei Ratmansky // courtesy of Rolex