James Kudelka

(b. 1955)

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(b Newmarket, Ont., 10 Sept. 1955)

Canadian dancer and choreographer. He studied at the National Ballet School and joined the National Ballet of Canada in 1972, becoming soloist in 1976 and principal in 1981. Though a gifted demi-caractère dancer his interest rapidly focused on choreography and in 1973 he created his first work for the company Sonata (mus. Franck). Developing a succinctly expressive style that fused classical and modern idioms he created several more ballets including A Party (mus. Britten, 1976), Washington Square (mus. Baker, 1977), and Playhouse (mus. Shostakovich, 1980) and was then officially designated company choreographer (1980–2). In 1981 he joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens as a principal dancer, becoming resident choreographer in 1984. He created many works for the company, including In paradisum (mus. Baker, 1983) and Diversion (mus. Britten, 1985), as well as choreographing for several other companies including Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and National Ballet of Canada for which he created Pastorale (1990) to Beethoven's 6th Symphony. Between 1990 and 1992 he worked freelance after which he was appointed artist in residence at National Ballet of Canada, creating Actress (1994), a new version of The Nutcracker (1995), and The Four Seasons (mus. Vivaldi, 1997). He continued to create works for other companies, including Le Baiser de la fée (mus. Stravinsky, 1996, for Birmingham Royal Ballet), Cinderella (mus. Prokofiev, 2005 for Boston Ballet), and Little Dancer (mus. Glass, 2008, for Houston Ballet). Between 1996 and 2005 he was artistic director of National Ballet of Canada after which he stepped down to become resident choreographer.

Subjects: Dance.

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