Cincinnati Ballet Names Jodie Gates New Artistic Director

CB_Jodie Gates

Jodie Gates. Hiromi Platt Photography.

Acclaimed Dancer, Choreographer, Innovator will assume artistic leadership August 1, 2022

Cincinnati, OH (January 18, 2022) – Cincinnati Ballet announced today the appointment of Jodie Gates as Cincinnati Ballet’s next Artistic Director, continuing the Company’s trailblazing history of female leadership in the art form. Ms. Gates will also serve as Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy effective August 1, 2022. Current Artistic Director Victoria Morgan will retire at the conclusion of the 2021-2022 Season after 25 years as the Company’s artistic leader.

For 35 years, Ms. Gates has contributed to the profession as a visionary leader, artistic director, arts educator, stager, choreographer, and dancer. She is a former principal ballet dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Ms.Gates comes to Cincinnati from Los Angeles, where she is most recently the Founding Director of the University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and Artistic Director and Founder of the Laguna Dance Festival in Laguna Beach, California. Ms. Gates is also an accomplished choreographer, as well as an artistic collaborator with choreographer William Forsythe, staging ballets internationally for Forsythe Productions. “Jodie brings with her more than three decades of excellence and innovation on the international stage,” said Scott Altman, Cincinnati Ballet President and CEO. “She has a deep respect for the history of the art form and brings an incredible passion for its future. With the new Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance, we are at watershed moment in the organization’s history. I am delighted to partner with Jodie and support her vision for the Company.” Ms. Gates will set the artistic direction of the Company that includes 27 Company artists and 12 Second Company – CB2 dancers, as well as the Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy Professional Training Division, and all Academy training divisions. Ms. Gates inherits a Company that has experienced rapid growth during the last five years. Cincinnati Ballet completed and exceeded its $30.8 million dollar capital campaign to fund the state-of-the-art, 57,000-square-foot Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance in Walnut Hills, which officially opened in September 2021. The Company’s operating budget has also grown to $11.5 million for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

“I am truly looking forward to contributing to the creative voices of Cincinnati Ballet, a Company I have long admired,” Ms. Gates said. “There is a solid foundation to build on and I enthusiastically embrace the opportunity to evolve the narrative of dance, and curate programs through the lens of inclusion. I envision a future for the art form where ballet is for everyone, for all communities; I would love for people to find themselves in our dances. I would also like to recognize that Cincinnati Ballet has a longstanding commitment to the community through both performance and education, and I am looking forward to deepening and strengthening the identity of the Cincinnati Ballet locally and nationally. I am excited to explore Cincinnati, contribute to the city’s robust cultural fabric, and join the community.”

In June 2021, The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University awarded Ms. Gates the distinguished 2021/2022 Residency Fellowship. Her Fellowship acknowledges her most recent work as initiator for the Artistic Directors Coalition for Ballet in America, a group of artistic directors, choreographers, and educators who are addressing systemic racism and inequities within the culture of ballet. “This is a pivotal time for Cincinnati Ballet and the art form,” said Debbie Brant and Joel Stone, co-chairs of the Artistic Director Search Committee. “Jodie has a visionary point of view, along with such an amazing depth of knowledge and international experience. Jodie recognizes the critical need to expand diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion.”

Ms. Gates’ professional career began with the mentorship of the visionary director Robert Joffrey. She originated many roles and collaborated with a host of renowned choreographers, including Alonzo King, Agnes de Mille, Paul Taylor, William Forsythe, Martha Clarke, and Mark Morris. She was featured at the 1993 presidential inauguration, and previously had the honor to perform at The Kennedy Center for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. Her performing career ranged from full-length productions such as Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, the title roles in Giselle and Cinderella, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanhilda in Coppélia, to principal roles in repertoire by George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Dwight Rhoden, Alvin Ailey, Sir Frederick Ashton, and several reconstructions, including dancing the role as The Chosen One in Vaslav Nijinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Her guest appearances include galas at The Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, and dancing Odette/Odile with Fernando Bujones in Swan Lake at the Ballet de Monterrey, Mexico, to appearing in well-known festivals in Spoleto Italy, The Edinburgh Festival, The Nijinsky Festival in Hamburg, Germany, and The Melbourne Festival in Australia. “I am thrilled for Cincinnati Ballet to attract such exceptional talent,” said Victoria Morgan. “Jodie has worked closely with our art form’s most influential icons. Dance legends have been her personal coaches and teachers.”

As a recognized female ballet choreographer, Ms. Gates has also created more than 60 original dance works. She has created commissioned work for dozens of dance companies and academic institutions, as well as created work for ad campaigns, commercials, and events including choreography for singer/songwriter John Legend. She has been commissioned by Ballet West, Staatsballett Berlin, Kansas City Ballet, Colorado Ballet, BalletX, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, among others. Her teaching credentials include invitations to teach professional companies such as New York City Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Dance Theatre of Harlem, as well as performing arts schools and academic institutions. Ms. Gates’ most recent accomplishment as the Founding Director of the University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance was a monumental success, creating a hybrid curriculum model that explores performance and choreography while engaging students with rigorous academic studies. Added T. Quinn, Chair of Cincinnati Ballet’s Board of Trustees: “Jodie was the perfect choice to lead the evolution of Cincinnati Ballet. With her experience as an artistic director, choreographer, and educator, she deeply understands the importance of connectivity between the Company and Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy.”

Ms. Gates received a Psychology of Leadership Certificate from Cornell University SC Johnson College of Business and studied with the Higher Education Leadership Program for Women (HERS Institute) at Bryn Mawr College. Her honors include the 2021/22 Residency Fellowship from The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University; recognition for Arts Leadership by the American Association of University Women; Altria/ABT fellowship from American Ballet Theatre; honoree from Arts Orange County and a recipient of the esteemed Jerome Robbins New Essential Works program.

About Cincinnati Ballet
Since 1963, Cincinnati Ballet has been the cornerstone professional ballet company of the region, presenting a bold and adventurous array of classical, full-length ballets and contemporary works, regularly with live orchestral accompaniment. Under the artistic direction of Victoria Morgan, Cincinnati Ballet has become a creative force within the larger dance community, commissioning world premiere works and exploring unique collaborations. With a mission to enrich, expand, and excel in the art of dance through performance, a highcaliber academy, and impactful education and community engagement in local to global communities,

Cincinnati Ballet reaches beyond the stage in programs that allow every person in the region to be part of the continued evolution of dance. To that end, Cincinnati Ballet presents exhilarating performances, provides extensive education and community engagement programs, and offers top-level professional ballet training at Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy.

Cincinnati Ballet 2021-2022 Season Sponsors:
Victoria Morgan’s 25th Anniversary Season presented by PNC

Rhonda & Larry A. Sheakley, Margaret and Michael Valentine, ArtsWave, Mercy Health, Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, Ohio Arts Council, The Austin E. Knowlton Foundation


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