New York City Ballet And The School of American Ballet Announce Next Generation Of Artistic Leadership | Jonathan Stafford Names Artistic Director & Wendy Whelan Names Associate Artistic Director News By New York City Ballet
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New York City Ballet And The School of American Ballet Announce Next Generation Of Artistic Leadership | Jonathan Stafford Names Artistic Director & Wendy Whelan Names Associate Artistic Director

Dance News By New York City Ballet | Posted on March 01, 2019 06:52 PM

New York City Ballet And The School of American Ballet Announce Next Generation Of Artistic Leadership | Jonathan Stafford Names Artistic Director & Wendy Whelan Names Associate Artistic Director  

Dance News by New York City Ballet : The Boards of Directors of New York City Ballet (NYCB) and its affiliate training academy, the School of American Ballet (SAB), today announced the appointment of Jonathan Stafford as Artistic Director of NYCB and SAB, and Wendy Whelan as Associate Artistic Director of NYCB, establishing the esteemed former NYCB dancers, SAB alumni, and prominent industry notables as the next generation of artistic leadership at two of the world's most acclaimed and storied dance institutions.

At NYCB, Stafford and Whelan will serve in a new management structure designed to ensure that one of the world's preeminent dance companies will continue to present performances of the highest artistic caliber while providing a supportive and nurturing environment for all of its artists, including more than 90 dancers and the 62-piece New York City Ballet Orchestra.

"New York City Ballet is proud to usher in this next generation of leadership with two of our own brightest luminaries at the artistic helm," said Charles W. Scharf, Chairman of New York City Ballet's Board of Directors. "Jonathan Stafford, whose 20-year career with the Company includes remarkable work as both an exemplary principal dancer and indispensable ballet master, has done an extraordinary job as our interim artistic leader over the past year. Wendy Whelan is one of the most important and beloved dancers in our Company's history who went on to a build a dynamic post-NYCB career as an innovative and collaborative artist.

"I would also like to thank members of the joint search committee which was comprised of board members from both NYCB and SAB and co-chaired by Barry Friedberg and Barbara Vogelstein," added Scharf. "The boards of NYCB and SAB tasked the committee with gathering feedback from more than 220 artists, employees, and various stakeholders across the larger cultural community and then evaluating the broadest candidate pool as possible to establish our artistic leadership for the future. We are thrilled with the selection of Jonathan and Wendy, who have more than 50 years of combined experience with NYCB and SAB, and also bring fresh perspectives.

"I would also like to express my appreciation to Justin Peck, Craig Hall, and Rebecca Krohn who provided outstanding service to NYCB over the past year as members of the interim artistic team; and finally, I would like to thank the entire New York City Ballet community of dancers, musicians, ballet masters, production crew, staff, board, donors, and audience members who have been steadfast in their support of the Company during this transitional period," Scharf said.

Barbara Vogelstein, Chairman of the School of American Ballet's Board of Directors, added, "The shared artistic leadership of School and Company, originally modeled by George Balanchine, will ensure that our organizations continue to work seamlessly to maintain our distinctly American brand of classical ballet. Jonathan's accomplishments as a dancer and his long tenure with the School as a faculty member uniquely position him to lead SAB's efforts in producing the highest caliber artists for NYCB and companies around the world."

Candidates from across the globe submitted applications and others were nominated for consideration by multiple sources. From that pool of candidates, 20 of the most qualified individuals were invited to in-person interviews with the full search committee. Outside counsel and management of the entire process was led by Phillips Oppenheim, a leading non-profit consultancy firm.

Stafford, who has been serving in interim leadership roles for NYCB and SAB since December 2017, will begin his new positions immediately and Whelan will begin her new role with NYCB in mid-March.


The new artistic leadership structure at NYCB – with both an Artistic Director and Associate Artistic Director – acknowledges the growing and evolving demands of an arts organization of its size and stature. NYCB is the largest dance organization in America and currently functions with an annual operating budget of approximately $88 million and supports more than 450 employees, including both artists and administrators. The board concluded that the demands of maintaining the highest standards of artistic excellence and managing the artistic needs of the Company are best served with the complementary skills of Stafford and Whelan.


As Artistic Director of the School of American Ballet, Stafford will work closely with Chairman of Faculty Kay Mazzo and SAB Executive Director Carrie Hinrichs to ensure that the most promising ballet students in the United States have the training, resources, and guidance to develop into world-class artists and healthy, well-rounded individuals. While Whelan will not take on a formal leadership role at SAB, she is expected to guest teach with regularity.

Source: PR Newswire/New York City Ballet/ The School of American Ballet


HashTags: #NewYorkCityBallet #TheSchoolofAmericanBallet #Lifestyle #Ballet #Dance #JonathanStafford

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