Choreographed by John McFall
Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Live with Atlanta Ballet Orchestra led by principal guest conductor Gary Sheldon
Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker is the hallmark of the Atlanta holiday season, and this year marks its 20th anniversary at the Fox Theatre. Celebrate with us this December as we follow our favorite characters into a magical world where anything is possible!
Singing in Act I's "Snow Scene" by
Run time is approximately 2 hours, including a 25-minute intermission.
"Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker Teaser 2015 (Atlanta Ballet);" video by Brian Wallenberg.
Featured photos: Peng Yu Chen as Female Meissen Doll, Tara Lee as Female Arabian, Alessa Rogers as Marya, Claire Stallman as Snow Queen, Rachel Van Buskirk as Dew Drop Fairy, Alexandre Barros as Nutcracker, Christian Clark as Cavalier, Jonah Hooper as Snow King and Male Arabian, Jared Tan as Male Meissen Doll, and Drew Thomas as Drosselmeyer. Photos by Charlie McCullers.
The Fox Theatre
The Fox Theatre is Atlanta’s most opulent historic landmark and a nationally acclaimed theatre.
Location and Parking
The Fox Theatre is located at 660 Peachtree Street at the intersection of Ponce de Leon Avenue and Peachtree Street. Parking for the theatre is available in a variety of lots within a four-block radius. Parking prices range from $4 - $15. Preferred parking for Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker is located at the Bank of America Plaza Parking Garage at 600 Peachtree St. Atlanta, GA 30308. The parking garage is situated one block south of the Fox Theatre. The garage provides safe and secured covered parking for all patrons going to Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker and other area events. To reserve your parking space for the day of the event please click here. The pre-paid parking charge is $11.50, which includes all taxes and fees. The Fox Theatre is also easily accessible via the North Avenue MARTA rail station.
Emergency Phone Number
(404) 881-2100 is the emergency number for the Fox Theatre. Please leave your seat location with your babysitter or answering service so that an usher may reach you in case of an emergency.
Phonic Ear Easy Listening System headsets are available in the Fox Theatre lobby. Headsets are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Assistance is also available for patrons who need help upon arrival at the Fox Theatre. For more information, please call (404) 881-2100.
Community and Corporate Group Tickets
It only takes 10 people to benefit from Atlanta Ballet's Group Sales program. With our fast, friendly and convenient service, you can secure the best seats in the house in no time at all. Groups save up to 30% off regular prices!
Click here for details and to submit a request to Myredith Gonzales, Group Sales Manager.
Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education's Kids In Step for School Groups
The Centre for Dance Education's Kids In Step program is designed to bring dance to the school-age child. For more information on weekday performances for accredited school groups and registered home schools, please visit our Kids In Step page.
A magic handkerchief, dancing life-sized dolls, a hand-carved gift that comes to life, and an enchanted trip through the snow to the Land of the Sweets…what more could a young girl want on Christmas Eve? And what more could Atlanta ask for? Maybe a theatre that evokes an evening in Morocco, with a star-studded sky and clouds borne by invisible winds? A snow storm inside the theatre? An orchestra made up of some of the region’s best musicians? Christmas melodies played on an enormous pipe organ? Good acting and even better dancing? The Atlanta Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” offered these and more on opening night at the Fabulous Fox.
Individual performances were spectacularly moving; it seems Atlanta Ballet’s core company members continue to grow in artistry. As Marya, Nash made a major impression in her first starring role as a member of the lead cast (there are four different casts in this year’s production). Nash rose to the moment, showcasing the spunk and ebullience needed to carry Act I. From the moment she galumphed like a tomboy into her new party dress to the instant she stabbed the Rat King and toppled him with her index finger, she was resolute and radiant — equal parts intelligence and humor.
For Chen, this year’s Nutcracker holds special significance — exactly two years ago she was injured mid-performance as she danced the marquee role of the Snow Queen. She hobbled off stage, suddenly faced with the harrowing prospect she might never return.
Cynthia Perry, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 04, 2014
When Atlanta Ballet’s “Nutcracker” makes its annual run at the Fox Theatre beginning Dec. 11, Felder will debut in two featured roles: the child heroine, Marya, and the sultry Arabian dancer.
It’s a step up for Felder within the ballet’s tiered system of roles that challenge dancers at successive levels. Like Felder, dancers across the metro area are rising from angels to party children, soldiers to flowers, and Dew Drops to Sugar Plum Fairies.
For the entire company, praise is undoubtedly deserved. Atlanta Ballet is knee deep in exceptional talent. And judging by the technical prowess of even the youngest cast member, the Centre for Dance Education is clearly doing its job.
Whether you are 10, 30, or 60, the whimsy and fantasy of the Atlanta Ballet’s The Nutcracker appeals to the child in all of us. If you haven’t already, grab a friend or your family and go see this show before it leaves the Fox Theater on December 29.
I must tell you I was quite transported: I had a fifth row center seat (heaven); the proximity to all that magic, fantasy, music, and superb dancing becomes hypnotic, almost an out-of-body experience. You want to get in touch with your inner child? This is the place. It matters not if you’ve seen it once, 50 times, or never. You think you’re not a dance fan? Go and surprise yourself. This may sound corny, but I’m very grateful to live in a city that offers such glorious entertainment.
No small feat, but with “Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker,” Atlanta Ballet, in its 53rd annual staging of the Tchaikovsky classic, has found its greatness. The performance is not without flaw, but missteps are diluted by the general merriment, and at times they feel almost endearing. Like a house full of relatives visiting for Christmas, the piece is wonderfully exuberant, if occasionally overwhelming. With a host of characters — some cute, some intriguing, some just strange — the whole thing is so much fun that you quickly forgive the frenzy and join in the festivities.
McFall has entirely reimagined Act I but is hesitant to give away too much — he wants the new dances and the illusions to be a surprise. He alludes to flying handkerchiefs, dolls that magically appear from thin air, and a dramatic transformation of the boy Nutcracker into the grown Nutcracker. Integrating the illusions into the storyline was of paramount importance to both Thomas and McFall.
Cynthia Bond Perry, ArtsCriticATL, December 09, 2011
In the midst of the holiday rush, it's comforting to step into the Fox Theatre for Atlanta Ballet's "Nutcracker" and to see the snow-laden evergreens and rounded minarets of the Petrov family's 19th-century Russian home. It's enchanting to peer through a lattice of winter branches into its picture window. There's a feeling of nostalgia, a moment to slow down, take a deep breath and prepare to be transported to the age of old-world classical story ballets - a time when people traveled by horse and carriage or sleigh, pocket watches ticked and ballets lasted four to five hours.
Howard Pousner, The Atlanta Journal-Consitution, November 20, 2013
Illusionist Drew Thomas was so pumped about beginning rehearsals for “Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker” that he wore a Victorian magician’s costume all the way from Jamaica, where he had been staging his long-running show on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, to Atlanta earlier this month.
It's considered a staple of the holidays. The Atlanta Ballet is currently presenting its 52nd annual "Nutcracker Ballet" on stage at the Fox Theatre. FOX 5's Deidre Dukes received a behind the scenes look on Thursday!
19 years of Nutcracker
by Kristin on January 09, 2014
My daughter and I have enjoyed the Nutcracker every year together for 19 years. Its our Christmas tradition. We have seen performances from all over the world from Alaska to Germany.Every performance is different. Atlanta ballet gave a wonderful show! We enjoyed this Russian version very much. The costumes were beautiful. We loved "Mother" and the Chinese dragons were outstanding.
We attended the Friday matinee. We did have to ask to move and were graciously allowed to do so. Our original seats did not allow us to see past the side stage scenery. It did not rise as we thought it would and we could not see the full stage. We missed the tree rising! The small choir then stood up in front of everyone's view on that side and we could not see those dances.
by Gretchen Stork on January 08, 2014
My daugher and I have seen the Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker many times over the past 15 years. This was a real disappointment. The revised storyline is incomprehensible, and the second half of the show which is completely without context. The idea that the Nutcracker is a toy which comes to life is integral to the story. Yet it was completely omitted. I was glad I did not have to (try) to explain it to a young child. In addition to the changes in the story, the performance we saw was sparkless and tired. The choreography was lackluster, the dancers nearly all seemed to be going through the motions. I know that the umpteenth performance of the Nutcracker is probably not the highlight of the company's calendar, but at $90 a ticket, there is no excuse for such a production. Of course, the fact that the performance started with a video advertisement blast from sponser Belk should have been a warning that things are not as they once were. Really tacky, folks.
Christmas Eve Seconds
by Nancy on January 08, 2014
We have been making the Christmas Eve matinee a family tradition for 3 years, however it seems that we get second rate performances at this show. For 2013, Drosselmeyer was lackluster and couldn't manage the scarf nor cape. Clara was less than graceful and came off more like a tomboy. Her hair ribbons were very much in the way. In the first half, the essence of the story was cropped, so what was presented made no sense, and the dances had no lead-in flow of movement. Right after the curtain rose for the 'party', we heard a crash backstage. Throughout the show, it looked like half the cast was missing, and the curtain call reflected this, too. We kept seeing a flashlight throughout the show on stage right (two years ago we saw it stage left,as well as the person with a clipboard, and then that person kept getting in the way of the door at the clocktower.)We love the FOX and the various venues, but we may change our attendance for The Nutcracker.
Beautiful Performance of Muddled Storyline
by JM on January 03, 2014
Our family has been attending Nutcracker performances for years, and this one was beautiful as always. The dancing, costumes, and set are lovely, and having live orchestra music is always the best. However, the storyline has become completely muddled. Even though my children have seen it many times they were confused by what was happening, and I had a hard time explaining it myself. Much of the humor is gone from the battle with the rats and Rat King, and the transition to the second action is completely unclear.
One other big minus: why are the ushers at the Fox not addressing the problem of people videoing the performance on their phones?!!! A woman a few rows in front of us repeatedly raised her phone to video scenes, and the light was hugely annoying and distracting. I saw this happen several times in other parts of the theater, and couldn't believe no one stopped this extremely tacky practice.
Storyline lost in this interpretation
by Elizabeth on December 24, 2013
Visually this production was dazzling. The addition of the choir and the very young dancers was enchanting. The costumes and snow falling into the audience was stunning. The story however was hard to follow. This was the first time my daughter has seen the Nutcracker live. She really didn't understand what was going on. She got the party part, the "troublemaker" boy part. But from there, she didn't quite understand what was happening. Suddenly there were mice, rats and fighting with the Nutcracker. The dancers were good, but there wasn't much "dancing" just a lot of posing on stage. The few pas de deux in the second half of the production were very good. But once again, it was a convoluted story line for those who have never seen the Nutcracker.
Really didn't appreciate the commercial we the audience were forced to watch right before the performance, it lacked decorum. Sponsors should stay off the stage and in the program. Next year are we to expect the prima with a logo affix to her bum? We paid over $100.00 a ticket and had to endure a commercial? As to the venue, the Fox Theater; What an extraordinary theater, absolutely spectacular, a place where food and beverages shouldn't be brought into the theater during a performance like this. I am sure it would be fine during a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, but the sound of crunching popcorn and the rolling of empty beverage bottles was distracting to me and I thought rather disrespectful to the performers. While I was magically being transported into the performance by the sugar plum fairy and the music I was rudely assaulted by a bevarage bottle rolling into my foot. Certainly people can go 2 hours without eating, there was so much trash left on the floor of the theater it looked like a football stadium rather than a theater.
One of my favorite parts to this performance was the orchestra and the organ player ascending and descending from the orchestra pit was brilliant. He and the orchestra were wonderful and welcome additions to the whole experience.
Beautiful and wildly entertaining
by Blanche on December 23, 2013
I loved the entire production, and the FOX was the perfect setting for it. From the time I entered the FOX until the time I left I never ceased being enthralled by the ambience. It was such a mystical and enchanted setting, and one that I will not forget.
The ballet was beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed the comedy mixed throughout. There was always the poise, elegance, strength, and talent of the cast amid the wonderfully decorated sets, and then there was the intermingling comedy. There was the gregarious troublemaker, the whimsical nesting dolls and their "mom", and the exceedingly popular Russian dancers. Then when it "snowed" on the stage and the audience it was as though we became as one with cast and the scenery.
The orchestra was stupendous. There was so many times that I was totally lost in the music, and it was so perfect I had to keep reminding myself that there were people there playing it live. At times I was lost in the rapture of the Nutcracker when suddenly the cymbals would "crash" and wake me up and remind me that someone was playing that beautiful music just below where I was sitting.
I adored the intermission. The organist was very talented. I've never seen anyone play an organ live, and I was quite thrilled by it. The Christmas music that he played kept me thoroughly entertained watching him throughout the intermission.
I'm so glad that I came to see The Nutcracker Ballet. I would definitely see it again.
by Joy on December 23, 2013
Lots of changes as my teenage granddaughter & I attended the Dec. 21 evening performance. Technically, dancing was as good or better than ever. Overall, I did not enjoy a lot of the choreography nearly as much as in years past, primarily because there was not enough dancing - there were several times when primary dancers were being featured, but there would be a dozen or more dancers lining the stage holding a simple pose for what seemed like for-ev-er - so there was no visual interest utilized to complement the featured dancer. However, there were some extremely bright spots, especially in Le Café. The initial party scene, although with some delightful parts and character interpretations, seemed a much less exciting than usual. The very youngest dancers all did very well and are to be praised for their hard work. The major criticism was too many pauses - which were also way too long - between the one passage and the next musical passage. It was quite awkward - like dead air on the radio. We do appreciate this tradition and everyone's hard work, and we do hope to come next year. Merry Christmas.
Best performance yet
by Jim on December 20, 2013
My daughter and I have been attending the Nutcracker performance at the Fox for the last decade and we both agreed that this year's was the best. We both thought Droselmeir was best character this year. Great job Atlanta Ballet!
by Kimberly B. on December 19, 2013
Great Performance of the Nutcracker by the Atlanta Ballet! But the best part is the opportunity to be able to be amazed by a fantastic and talented Hispanic dancer Nadia Mara, who beautifully represented the Hispanic culture and the great performers from Latin America! My trip was well worth to see her perform! Amazing!! Viva Uruguay!
Lack luster with a side of disappointment
by Cary on December 15, 2013
The changes to the show for the 2013 Christmas season were at best rated as "ok". My family has attended a performance of the Atlanta Ballets nutcracker for as long as I can remember I am now 33, long before it was ever moved from the civic center to the fox theater. We paid over $100 per seat and it was an utter disappointment this year. To change things over the years has been welcomed until this year. The entire story line was unclear and the ending .... totally anti-climatic.... Not to mention very rushed in the performance we saw(dec.15th 2013 2:00 pm)prior to the last part the curtain came down before the scene was finished they were't even in final position. I have never been disappointed with the Nutcracker and this year sadly I was.
Atlanta Ballet Nutcracker
by Traci Moore on December 14, 2013
I took my five year old niece to see it for the first time. She was completely enthralled by the entire experience. She is still talking about the ballet and can't wait to see another one. The music and the costumes were just beautiful. I am sure this will become a tradition for us.
by Alan H Marsh on December 14, 2013
I flew down from Rochester, NY to attend with my daughter, son-in-law and 5 year old grandson, it was wonderful. See you soon for Romeo et Juliette.
by Mia L. on December 13, 2013
The dancing was wonderful but the costumes and music were by far the best part. Totally worth the money.
Stunning & Outstanding!
by Laura Kelley on December 13, 2013
I felt bad that poor Drosselmeyer's pants ripped during the opening performance, but he handled it well! What a stunning and entertaining performance for all ages! I'm thankful for the added comedy to keep the men entertained! Excellent technique showcased by the dancers! I stayed on the edge of my seat the entire show!
by Mary Ellen Smith on January 06, 2013
The performance this year was wonderful...what could not be wonderful at the Fabulous Fox Theater.
My grand daughter and I look forward to this each year in bulding our Christmas traditions for her memory book.
This performance was different than the past years...I have to say I enjoyed the past story line much better. It followed the original.
We made sure we were under the stars to experience the snow...guess what? NO SNOW! It was disappointing.
I appreciated the show very much...excellent...but, please bring back the snow and the original story line.
by Barbara Koblentz on December 27, 2012
My daughter and I enjoyed your version of the Nutcracker. But I have to admit that certain parts were not as spectacular as I have seen in the past. I do not believe that the original scene, where the family and friends arrive, was emphasised enough to truely familiarize oneself with the parents, uncles, aunts. The actual gift of the Nutcracker was not clear enough to those who do not know the story line. She goes to sleep with the toy Nutcracker and reawakens with the toy Nutcracker in her arms. Years ago there was the most spectacular Russian version done at the Fox. I wish I could remember more of the details. Perhaps you know which performance I am remembering. That performance stressed more of the opulence of that era. That is how family visited in those times. My mother grew up in Switzerland and enjoys the Nutcracker so much because it brings back the memories of her youth and how family came to visit. The room was decorated, with tree and gifts, and then the massive doors were opened and all the children were allowed to go inside!! That was the traditional way. I do not believe your opening depicted this in quite that way.
I imagine you are aware that the snow effect did not work and many in your audience were soaked? We were in row G. First I thought it was raining and then we realised it was some sort of foamy substance coming down on us. Not good. You would be better off using the fake, dry flakes. I wonder if others complained of this. I had to cover myself with my coat and the woman in front of me asked if she needed to get out her umbrella. My daughter had on her new Christmas coat and was not pleased at all. The foam had a strange smell.
Anyways, we had a wonderful evening. The dancers did a fabulous job. The snow scene was quite magical on stage! It is an enormous amount of work to put together such a production. I think the children did a fabulous job. Loved the music. Thank you and perhaps my few criticisms will help towards future productions. I even purchased an adorable Nutcracker as a souvenir! Thank you for all your hard work!!!!
by Merrimoore McDonald on December 27, 2012
This nutcracker was different from other ballets we have seen. I have never seen Clara save the day. We found this performance non entertaining. Wish this performance had been the traditional version. This is a family tradition once a year and this year we were not impressed with the performance .
by Mary P. Clark on December 27, 2012
We have attended The Nutcracker with our grandchildren on Christmas Eve over the last twelve years and are all agreed (ages 17, 14, 9, and 7) this performance was the best ever. Two years ago, we attended the New York City Ballet's Nutcracker. There is much about the Atlanta presentation that we prefer. This ballet is a Christmas treat for children - and we all like popcorn!
Great dancing, but what’s up with the modified story line?
by JKL on December 26, 2012
Great--no, fabulous--dancing! Nice special effects too. I took a group of high school music students who also loved it, but..... I was inundated with questions regarding the story line. Isn't the NUTCRACKER the hero to vanquishes the rat king? Doesn't he escort Maria/Clara to the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy, rather than her wandering off and stumbling upon it herself? And what's the point of the Christmas Tree "growing" (Maria/Clara "shrinking to toy size) if her gift Nutcracker is already life size? Is this a new trend in Nutcracker interpretation, or an alternate storyline? Yours doesn't follow either Balanchine or any of the plot synopses I've found online. Even so, great, magical evening!
Beautiful Nutcracker performance Dec 22
by Linda Dryer on December 26, 2012
Although I also enjoy small scale local community performances of The Nutcracker and have seen several professional performances in other cities, the dancers of the Atlanta Ballet were the best. Some dances were absolutely stunning. I enjoyed the variation from what I have seen in the past. I will definitely plan to see it again at the Fox next year.
by Kim on December 26, 2012
An event not to be missed in Atlanta. My daughter and I see a different production of the Nutcracker every year. It is wonderful to see each company's own version. Atlanta didn't disappoint.
by Tony Minella on December 26, 2012
This was my first time seeing the Atlanta Nutcracker. I was completely thrilled by all aspects of the performance including the orchestra. Since I have limited ballet knowledge I cannot comment on the choreography but the show was well worth every penny and minute spent. I will certainly be back next year. Great show!
Beautiful!….. but where was the Nutcracker?
by Renee` Bradshaw on December 25, 2012
I thought the choreography, music and wardrobe was stunning! My only complaint is the MISSING Nutcracker. Where was he? He was only featured in 3 dances, 2 of which he didn't even dance, but rather had dancers surround him. The Nutcracker, IS the play! After all the title is the Nutcracker. I fully embrace new interpretations of classics and in most regards this one was OUTSTANDING. My only suggestion is that in next years show they make the Nutcracker more central to the story.
by C Crain on December 20, 2012
Over the years I've seen too many Nutcracker ballet performances to count, and I did not think I could enjoy seeing another, no matter the company. A friend enthusiastically encouraged me to see John McFall's revised choreography, though. It is fabulous. He maintained the tradition while making the first act fresh and more enjoyable than anything I've experienced before. Congratulations Atlanta Ballet on a splendid performance.
by Chris & Tamera Phillips on December 19, 2012
We are new to the Atlanta area and this was the first production that we have attended. It was an absolutely outstanding and flawless performance. The illusions added even more magic to the ballet.
The dancers were wonderful, not just the leads, but also the children, who were just magical.
Our attention never faded and we enjoyed the audience knowing when to clap along and support the cast. If this is the standard of the Atlanta Ballet, we will be there at every opportunity.
Chris and Tamera Phillips
Walked out After First Act
by diane on December 19, 2012
Did not enjoy this performance as choreography was dramatic departure from the Balanchine classic. The climatic first act adagio was particularly disappointing. The snow blowers drowned out the orchestra as well if you were seated in the loge.Selling popcorn during a ballet performance and an introductory Belk television commercial were not in keeping with what I expect when attending a classical performance. Have seen much better Nutcrackers by NYC Ballet, ABT, Pittsburgh Ballet, Portland Ballet and Miami.
by Dulce Garcia on December 19, 2012
A magical evening with my mother! Had not seen this ballet in a very long time, and it was absolutely flawless. Loved the colors of the costumes and the stage.
Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker
by Michael on December 19, 2012
Loved it! Very beautiful dancing and stage design!
by Melissa on December 14, 2012
I took my 5 year old daughter for the first time and she loved it! We both enjoyed the show, very magical! We plan to make this a tradition every year.
The best “Nutcracker” I’ve ever seen!
by Scott Fugate on December 13, 2012
I have seen various versions of the Nutcracker done over the past 50 years all over the world during each Christmas season. I've even been involved in some consulting and performance training for some companies. However, this production amazed me! It brought out all the beauty, magic and fantasy of the ballet with grace and precision. It is undoubtably the best production of Nutcracker I've ever seen.
This isn’t “The Nutcracker”
by Melissa on December 13, 2012
While the ballet is beautifully performed by the dancers - I was left disappointed. The storyline and the choreography are changed - and the changes did not improve upon the original work, but instead diminish it. In fact, much of the choreography doesn't even go well with Tchaikovsky's music. As one who adores the ballet, and has seen Balanchine's choreography performed by many different professional dance companies - I was just really disappointed. Is Balanchine rolling in his grave? My guess - yes. As I said the dancers performed beautifully - but they did not perform "The Nutcracker." Why not choose different music, stop calling it "The Nutcracker" - which it is not - and call it
Atlanta Ballet's Christmas Spectacular" or anything other than "The Nutcracker"?
by Donna B on December 07, 2012
This rendition of the Nutcracker Ballet was magical! Very light and funny...with awesome dancing. Thanks for ushering in Christmas!
Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker
by Anonymous on December 22, 2011
Much happier version of this often dark story. Some of the scenes were incredible. All were good.
Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker was amazing!!!
by Dogsandcatsaregreat on December 22, 2011
The best yet! We are so fortunate to have such wonderful performances in the Atlanta area! This year's Nutcracker was exceptional! Wonderful for the whole family!
Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker Teaser 2015 (Atlanta Ballet)
Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker: Snow Pas de Deux
Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker: Waltz of the Flowers excerpt 2014
Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker: Cavalier Variation 2014
Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker 2014 30 Second Commercial
Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker in Rehearsal
Atlanta Ballet's Road To Nutcracker
Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker 2013
Atlanta Ballet brings holiday classic to the Fox
John McFall studied dance with Ms. Tatiana Dokoudovska, who not only taught him the art of dance, but also inspired him to pursue an adventurous life in theater. At sixteen, he was contracted to dance at Starlight Theater, one of the showcase summer stock venues in the country. Following this, he performed with San Francisco Ballet for two decades, working with distinguished choreographers and touring the world. John became recognized as a choreographer himself and was commissioned to create premieres for a variety of companies, including San Francisco Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, and National Ballet of Canada. Mikhail Baryshnikov invited John to create two works for American Ballet Theater in which Mikhail also performed. In 1986, John received an invitation from Robert Barnett, artistic director of Atlanta Ballet, to premiere a work titled Watchers. Eight years later, John would become artistic director. John has continued to contribute to the Atlanta Ballet repertoire with family classics such as Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker,Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Swan Lake, Firebird, and Don Quixote. Notably, he has expanded the range of the repertoire with invitations to many of the world’s most provocative and imaginative choreographers. These individuals include Wayne McGregor, Jorma Elo, Ohad Naharin, David Bintley, Christopher Wheeldon, James Kudelka, and Twyla Tharp. John is committed to continue leading Atlanta Ballet into the future with innovative and extraordinary works. By commissioning brilliant choreographers and nurturing the development of new talent, he will ensure that for generations to come Atlanta Ballet will present evenings of dance that touch the soul and engage the imagination. Simply put, to INSPIRE.
Photo by Charlie McCullers.
Principal Guest Conductor
Gary Sheldon was recently appointed principal guest conductor for Atlanta Ballet. In this, his fifth season with the Company, he returns to conduct Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. His distinguished career has included positions with San Francisco Ballet, Ballet Met, and Miami City Ballet, where he currently serves as principal conductor. He has guest conducted for Alberta Ballet, Delta Festival Ballet, Hartford Ballet, New Orleans Ballet, and the Norwegian Ballet in Oslo. Maestro Sheldon recently won the American Prize in Orchestral Conducting for recordings with Lancaster Festival Orchestra at the Lancaster Festival in Ohio, where he is artistic director. He is also principal conductor at the Festival at Sandpoint in Idaho. He has held conducting positions with the New Orleans Symphony, Spoleto Festival, Syracuse Opera Theatre, and Marin Symphony in California, where he served as music director and, in 1996, won the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Marin Cultural Center and Museum. He is a native of Bay Shore, N.Y., and a graduate of the Juilliard School.