Alexander Ekman is an internationally sought after choreographer producing entertaining works of artistic integrity within the contemporary and classical dance world. Ekman has created 35 works to date. His works are being performed worldwide by companies such as the Boston Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, Norwegian National Ballet, Sydney Dance Company, Dresden Semper Oper, Vienna Staatsballet, Sao Paulo City Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, and Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. Ekman's works are known for their clever ideas, fast-paced choreography, and abundance of humor. Besides holding the choreographic credit, he regularly designs the set/costumes and co-composes the music for his creations.
Ekman also creates unique performances in collaboration with different disciplines. His dance film 40 M UNDER (2009 Cullberg Ballet) formed part of a triple bill performance. In 2012 Ekman incorporated pop singer Alicia Keys into his choreographic work Tuplet for her annual Black Ball event in New York. This work was originally made for Cedar Lake Dance Company utilizing a score created with the dancers' own rhythmic impulses and employing their bodies as percussion instruments. In 2014 Ekman made his debut on the main stage of the Norwegian Opera House with a surrealist interpretation of the classic ballet Swan Lake, creating his own version for the Norwegian National Ballet. Together with top designer Hendrik Vibskov and with a new musical score by composer Mikael Karlsson, Ekman produced this groundbreaking performance in which he transformed the stage into an actual lake. In April 2015 Ekman premiered his version of A Midsummer Night's Dream with the Royal Swedish Ballet. Visit alexekman.com for more information on Mr. Ekman's work. (Photo by T.M.Rives.)
Choreographer, Angels' Share
John is the winner of the 2014 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award and is a two-time recipient of the Jerome Robbins Foundation New Essential Works (NEW) Fellowship Grant (2010, 2012). In addition to his work with Dance Heginbotham, John’s choreography has been seen at Dance Theater Workshop, The Museum of Modern Art, Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, and the New York and Toronto Fringe Festivals, among other venues. He has created work for the Cork Opera House (Cork, Ireland), Dartmouth College, The Juilliard School, Purchase College, Princeton University, Long Island University, The Wooden Floor (Santa Ana, CA), Big Apple Baroque, Oasis Theater (Minneapolis, MN), art/pop group Fischerspooner, and the cabaret artists Lady Rizo and the Assettes and Our Lady J. A frequent collaborator with live music, John has worked with numerous composers and ensembles, including string quartet Brooklyn Rider, Alarm Will Sound, the Raymond Scott Orchestrette, Jesse Blumberg, Tyondai Braxton, Colin Jacobsen, Gabriel Kahane, and Shara Worden (also known as My Brightest Diamond). In December 2013, he choreographed Isaac Mizrahi’s Peter and the Wolf at the Guggenheim Museum and collaborated with Mizrahi again in spring 2014 on The Magic Flute at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, John graduated from The Juilliard School in 1993 and was the recipient of the Martha Hill Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Dance. He has danced in the works of Pam Tanowitz, John Jasperse, Rebecca Stenn, Janis Brenner, Allison Chase, David Neumann, Ben Munisteri, Stanley Love, Vanessa Walters, and Pilobolus Dance Theater (guest artist). From 1995–1998, he was a member of Susan Marshall and Company, originating roles in her evening-length works, The Most Dangerous Room in the House and the award-winning dance opera composed by Philip Glass, Les Enfants Terribles. John was a member of the Mark Morris Dance Group from 1998–2012. As a member of MMDG, he performed across the United States and internationally with artists including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, The Bad Plus, Zakir Hussain and with opera companies including The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, and the English National Opera.
As a teacher, John offers dance master classes in the United States and abroad. He has taught at institutions including the University of California, Berkeley, George Mason University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Washington, and The Laban Centre in London. He is currently on faculty at Princeton University and the Mark Morris Dance Center, and he is a founding teacher of Dance for PD®, an ongoing collaboration between the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group. Visit danceheginbotham.org to learn more about Mr. Heginbotham's upcoming projects. (Photo by Amber Star Merkens.)
Choreographer, Classical Symphony
Yuri Possokhov received his training under Pyotr Pestov at the Choreographic Ballet Academy in Moscow. Upon graduating in 1982, he joined the Bolshoi Ballet. During his ten years with the company, he worked primarily with Ballet Master Yuri Grigorovich and was quickly promoted to become one of the premier dancers in the company, partnering Natalia Bessmertnova, Ludmila Semenyaka, Nadezhda Pavlova, and Galina Stepanenko. During his time with The Bolshoi, Possokhov performed the leading roles in almost all of the classical and contemporary ballets in the repertoire at that time. He danced the lead role in the Bolshoi’s premiere of The Prodigal Son, the company’s first performance of a work by George Balanchine.
While performing, Possokhov studied choreography and the teaching of ballet at the State College of Theatrical Arts, completing the five-year course under Evgeny Valukin in 1990. In addition to participating in the Bolshoi’s frequent international tours, Possokhov was often invited to perform as a guest artist in Europe, Asia and Latin America. He also performed with Bolshoi ballerina Nina Ananiashvili’s own company, Ananiashvili and Friends, in numerous performances and galas worldwide.
In 1992, at the invitation of Ballet Master Frank Andersen, Possokhov joined the Royal Danish Ballet as a principal dancer. Performing many leading roles on the stage of The Royal Danish Theater, Possokhov’s repertory diversified with works by John Neumeier, Anna Laerkesen, George Balanchine, and John Cranko. Possokhov was also cast in the role of Prince Desiré in the Royal Danish Ballet premiere of Helgi Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty. The following year, he was invited to dance a guest performance at San Francisco Ballet’s opening night gala, after which Helgi Tomasson invited him to join the company as a principal dancer.
Possokhov spent the following 12 years dancing with San Francisco Ballet, performing leading roles with the company both in San Francisco and abroad, and partnering many of the company’s ballerinas, including Yuan Yuan Tan, Joanna Berman and Lucia Lacarra. During this period, he began choreographing. In 1997, he completed three separate works – Songs of Spain and A Duet for Two set on fellow San Francisco Ballet principal dancers Muriel Maffre and Joanna Berman; and Impromptu Scriabin for San Francisco Ballet soloist Felipe Diaz. He also organized a program titled Ballet Beyond Borders, with sixteen dancers from San Francisco Ballet, which performed in five cities throughout Russia. The success of the tour led to additional performances with San Francisco Ballet dancers in Japan, China, and Denmark in the following years.
In 1998, Possokhov premiered in the title role of Lar Lubovitch’s Othello — a co-production of the San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre (ABT) — and reprised the role as a guest artist with ABT in New York City the same year.
In 2000, Yuri Possokhov created Magrittomania, a work commissioned for San Francisco Ballet’s Discovery Program and inspired by the paintings of René Magritte. The ballet won an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for outstanding choreography the following year. In 2002, Possokhov premiered Damned, a work based on Euripides’ play Medea. The piece was performed during the season and was taken on tour to New York City with the company that fall. Damned was subsequently re-staged and performed under the name Medea at The Perm Opera and Ballet Theater (Russia) in 2009. In 2003, he co-choreographed a full-length production of Don Quixote with San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson, which the company subsequently performed in Los Angeles and Paris. Study in Motion, set to the music of Alexander Scriabin, was Possokhov’s piece for San Francisco Ballet in 2004, which was performed in London the same year and reprised in San Francisco the following season. The same year, he was invited by Oregon Ballet Theater (OBT) to create a new production of Firebird, which was so successful that he was invited back the following year to create La Valse.
For San Francisco Ballet’s 2005 repertory season, Possokhov created Reflections, a piece set to the music of Felix Mendelssohn. In early 2006, he was invited by the Bolshoi Ballet to create a full-length Cinderella, which premiered to critical acclaim and was performed by the company in Moscow, at the Royal Opera House in London, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. As part of San Francisco’s earthquake centennial in 2006, Possokhov created Ballet Mori, which was performed by SFB principal dancer Muriel Maffre. After the 2006 repertory season, Yuri Possokhov retired from the stage as a principal dancer; his last performance was during the company’s tour to New York’s Lincoln Center that summer.
Following his retirement, he joined the artistic staff at San Francisco Ballet as a choreographer in residence, where he continually choreographs new works for the company and dances principal character roles. In 2006, he created Once More, a ballet performed at the New Century Chamber Orchestra Gala by Joanna Berman and principal dancer Damian Smith. The following year, he premiered his Firebird with San Francisco Ballet, adapted from his previous work for Oregon Ballet Theater. In 2007, The Georgia State Ballet commissioned Sagalobeli, a one-act work that the company presented on its first-ever American tour in 2008.
In the following years, Yuri Possokhov has continued to create new works for each of San Francisco Ballet’s repertory seasons, including Fusion, Diving Into the Lilacs, Classical Symphony, RAkU, and Francesca da Rimini. Both Classical Symphony, originally premiered in 2010, and RAkU in 2011, have been presented on the company’s national and international tours, including an engagement at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theater. Yuri Possokhov is a frequent guest at Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet, having staged both Bells and a new full-length Don Quixote for the company in 2011. In 2012, Possokhov returned to Copenhagen and created Narcisum, commissioned by the Royal Danish Ballet. His latest work for San Francisco Ballet was Rite of Spring, choreographed in 2013 to mark the centennial year of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps. Go to yuripossokhov.com for a full list of Mr. Possokhov's dance roles. (Photo by Chris Hardy.)