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In celebration of his 10th anniversary as Artist in Residence at American Ballet Theatre, Alexei Ratmansky joined scholars and artists in a special conversation that situated his recent work, Songs of Bukovina, within its cultural and political contexts.
Alexei Ratmansky, ABT Artist in Residence
Michael Beckerman, Carroll and Milton Petrie Collegiate Professor of Music at New York University
Jennifer Homans, Founder and Director, The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University
Christine Shevchenko, ABT Principal Dancer
Larry Wolff, Executive Director, NYU’s Remarque Institute and Professor of History and Director, Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at New York University
Free. No tickets required. Seating began at 6:00pm and was available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Center for Ballet and the Arts’ 2019 public programming is made possible by American Express.
Alexei Ratmansky was born in St. Petersburg and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow. His performing career included positions as principal dancer with Ukrainian National Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet. He has choreographed ballets for the Mariinsky Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, Dutch National Ballet New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Kiev Ballet and the State Ballet of Georgia, as well as for Nina Ananiashvili, Diana Vishneva and Mikhail Baryshnikov. His 1998 work, Dreams of Japan, earned a prestigious Golden Mask Award by the Theatre Union of Russia. In 2005, he was awarded the Benois de la Danse prize for his choreography of Anna Karenina for the Royal Danish Ballet. He was made Knight of Dannebrog by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in 2001.
Ratmansky was named artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet in January 2004. For the Bolshoi Ballet, he choreographed full-length productions of The Bright Stream (2003) and The Bolt (2005) and re-staged Le Corsaire (2007) and the Soviet-era Flames of Paris (2008). Under Ratmansky’s direction, the Bolshoi Ballet was named “Best Foreign Company” in 2005 and 2007 by The Critics’ Circle in London, and he received a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for The Bright Stream in 2006. In 2007, he won a Golden Mask Award for Best Choreographer for his production of Jeu de Cartes for the Bolshoi Ballet. In 2009, Ratmansky choreographed new dances for the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Aida. Ratmansky joined American Ballet Theatre as Artist in Residence in January 2009.
For American Ballet Theatre, Ratmansky has choreographed On the Dnieper (2009), Seven Sonatas (2009), Waltz Masquerade, a ballet honoring Nina Ananiashvili’s final season (2009), The Nutcracker (2010), The Bright Stream (2011), Dumbarton (2011), Firebird (2012), Symphony #9 (2012), Chamber Symphony (2013) and Piano Concerto #1 (2013).
Ratmansky was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow for 2013.
Michael Beckerman is Carroll and Milton Petrie Chair and Collegiate Professor of Music at New York University. He has written articles on such subjects as film scoring, music of the Roma (Gypsies), Mozart, Brahms, exiled composers, and music in the camps, as well as many studies and several books on Czech topics, including Dvořák and His World (Princeton University Press, 1993), Janáček as Theorist (Pendragon Press, 1994), New Worlds of Dvořák (W.W. Norton, 2003), Janáček and His World (Princeton, 2004), and Martinů’s Mysterious Accident (Pendragon, 2007). He has been a frequent contributor to The New York Times and was a regular guest on Live From Lincoln Center and other radio and television programs in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Dr. Beckerman lectures nationally and internationally and has organized many concerts and symposia. He was awarded the Janáček Medal by the Czech Ministry of Culture, is a recipient of the Dvořák Medal, and is also a Laureate of the Czech Music Council; he has twice received the Deems Taylor Award. He was chair of the New York University Department of Music (2004–13), served as distinguished professor at Lancaster University (2011–15), and last year received an honorary doctorate from Palacký University in the Czech Republic.
Jennifer Homans is the Founder and Director of The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, where she is also a Distinguished Scholar in Residence in History and European and Mediterranean Studies. She is the author of Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet (2010), named one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Homans has written for The New York Times, The Guardian (UK), and the New York Review of Books, among others, and was the Dance Critic for The New Republic from 2001-2014. She holds a B.A. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Modern European History from New York University. Before becoming a writer and scholar, Homans was a professional dancer, and performed with the Pacific Northwest Ballet and other companies. The recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2012, she is currently at work on a new book, George Balanchine: A History (Random House).
Christine Shevchenko was born in Odessa, Ukraine where she was chosen to train in rhythmic gymnastics and ballet at an Olympic School. At the age of eight, she moved to the United States and trained for nine years at Pennsylvania Ballet’s Rock School. Shevchenko danced the children’s lead in Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker for three years, and was featured in the NBC special Degas and the Dance. In 2002 she was invited to perform with International Ballet Theatre Company’s “Stars of Kirov, Bolshoi and Ukrainian Ballet” in Annapolis, Maryland. In 2003, Shevchenko became the youngest recipient of the Princess Grace Award. Other awards include the Bronze Medal in the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, 2005 Gold Medal and Title of Laureate at the Moscow International Ballet Competition, the George Zoritch of Ballet Russe Award for Talent Recognition and the 2010 Margaret Moore Dance Award. She danced leading and soloist roles from Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Harlequinade, The Flames of Paris, Grand Pas Classique, Le Corsaire, Paquita, La Bayadère, and Balanchine’s Symphony in C. She also performed various contemporary pieces by many choreographers that included Caprice #1 specially choreographed by Benjamin Millepied for a competition.
Shevchenko joined American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company in August 2006 where she performed classical and contemporary pieces including the pas de deux from August Bournonville’s Flower Festival at Genzano, Lilac Garden and Continuo by Anthony Tudor, and Eyes that Gently Touch by Kirk Peterson, along with other pieces. She joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in December 2007 and the corps de ballet in June 2008. She became a Soloist in 2014 and a Principal Dancer in September 2017.
Her repertoire with the Company includes Polyhymnia in Apollo, Gamzatti and a Shade in La Bayadère, a role in Birthday Offering, Milkmaid in The Bright Stream, the Fairy Summer in Cinderella, Lead Mazurka/Czardas in Coppélia, Medora in Le Corsaire, Kitri, Mercedes, the Dryad Queen and a flower girl in Don Quixote, the title role in Firebird, Lead Can-Can Dancer in Gaîté Parisienne, Myrta and Moyna in Giselle, Lead Persian Lady in The Golden Cockerel, Partisan Woman in The Green Table, Pierrette in Harlequinade, Nanine in Lady of the Camellias, one of The Nutcracker’s Sisters in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, Lilac Fairy and Diamond Fairy in Ratmansky’s The Sleeping Beauty, Fairy of Joy in The Sleeping Beauty, Odette/Odile, the pas de trois and Italian Princess in Swan Lake, Ceres and Diana in Sylvia, Mademoiselle Marianne Chartreuse in Whipped Cream and roles in Bach Partita, Brahms-Haydn Variations, Company B, Duets, Her Notes, Mozartiana, Piano Concerto #1, Raymonda Divertissements, Seven Sonatas, Sinfonietta, Symphonic Variations and Thirteen Diversions.
She created roles in AfterEffect, Everything Doesn’t Happen at Once, Praedicere, Private Light and Songs of Bukovina.
Larry Wolff is the Silver Professor of History at New York University, Director of the NYU Center for European and Mediterranean Studies, Executive Director of the NYU Remarque Institute, and Co-Director of NYU-Florence. His most recent book is The Singing Turk: Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon (2016). He is also the author of Paolina’s Innocence: Child Abuse in Casanova’s Venice (2012); The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture (2010), Venice and the Slavs: The Discovery of Dalmatia in the Age of Enlightenment (2001), Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment (1994), The Vatican and Poland in the Age of the Partitions (1988); and Postcard From the End of the World: Child Abuse in Freud’s Vienna (1988). He has received Fulbright, American Council of Learned Societies, and Guggenheim fellowships, and he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.