Press Release: China Tour and McFall World Premiere among Company Announcements for 13-14 Season


China Tour and McFall World Premiere among Company Announcements for 13-14 Season

  • China tour announced for start of Atlanta Ballet’s 84th season

  • McFall world premiere added to May 2014 program, “MAYhem”

  • Company dancer Christine Winkler returns

ATLANTA – (Monday, September 30, 2013) – Atlanta Ballet had plenty of good news to share at its inaugural “Welcome to the Season” event, Friday Sept. 27, held at its headquarters and midtown studio, the Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre.

The event was a kick-off for the 84th performance season. Company artistic director John McFall gave the address for the evening that included an introduction of the Company; preview of the upcoming repertoire and a reflection of achievements from the previous year.

But the most impressive news of the night closed the program when McFall announced the Company’s first major international tour in more than 10 years – a fall trip to China for that country’s first “International Ballet Season.”

“We are honored to have the extraordinary opportunity to visit China and represent our city and state abroad,” said Atlanta Ballet artistic director John McFall. “The birth of this festival speaks volumes about the energy, enthusiasm and vision of the Chinese dance community, and we are thrilled to be at the forefront of the movement. We are also looking forward to being a part of the rich exchange of ideas and culture. I’m positive that our time there will impact the Company in profound ways, and it’s inspiring to know that we’ll be able to bring those experiences back to our patrons.”

Upon returning from China, Atlanta Ballet will officially begin its 13-14 season in December with “Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker” at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. The season will continue in February at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre with the Atlanta Ballet premiere of Jean-Christophe Maillot’s “Roméo et Juliette” followed by “Modern Choreographic Voices” in March, “Hamlet” in April and “MAYhem” as the season finale in May.

Atlanta Ballet 13-14 Season Announcements + Updates

Atlanta Ballet Kicks-off Season with China Tour – Company’s First Major Tour in 10 Years:
This fall Atlanta Ballet will chart new territory as it ventures to China for its first major international tour in more than a decade. The Ballet will join 11 other ballet companies from around the world for China’s inaugural “International Ballet Season,” hosted by the National Ballet of China.

The Company, represented by 19 of its 26 professional dancers, will depart Atlanta Tuesday, Oct. 29 for the engagement, which will include seven performances at various venues throughout Beijing, China. Their return is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 11.

As the sole representative from the United States, the Company has titled the program “Atlanta Ballet presents Dance from America,” which will feature four distinct works chosen to reflect the Ballet’s broad repertoire and the versatility of its artists:

  • Pas de deux from George Balanchine’s patriotic “Stars & Stripes”
  • Christopher Wheeldon’s neo-classical “Rush”
  • Atlanta Ballet resident choreographer Helen Pickett’s “Prayer of Touch”
  • The wedding night pas de deux from Stanton Welch’s “Madame Butterfly”

The China engagement will be the Company’s first major international presentation since performing McFall’s “Peter Pan” in London in 1999, centerpiece for the Royal Festival Halls’ Millennium Celebration.

Season Programming Updates – McFall World Premiere for Season Finale “MAYhem”:

Atlanta Ballet artistic director John McFall has now been added to the already exceptional list of choreographers presenting works for the 13-14 performance season. McFall will present a world premiere on the May program, “MAYhem, which will be his first mixed-rep work since “The Firebrid” in 2009.

Although a title has not been confirmed, McFall’s work promises to follow his trademark eclectic, inventive, no-holds-barred style. His piece will accompany new resident choreographer Helen Pickett’s world premiere and an encore of Jorma Elo’s “1st Flash.”

Tara Lee’s world premiere, which has yet to be titled and was originally on the May bill, will now be on the March program, “Modern Choreographic Voices, with Ohad Naharin’s “Secus’ and Alexei Ratmansky’s “Seven Sonatas.”

13-14 Season Dancer Announcements – Veteran Dancer Christine Winker Returns:

Ballet patrons will see many familiar faces when the company returns to the stage this season. All 21 dancers from the 12-13 season will return. Of note is veteran company dancer Christine Winkler who’ll be back after giving birth to her first child with husband and fellow company dancer John Welker. In addition, former apprentice Miguel Angel Montoya will join the company ranks, increasing the roster to 22. Former fellowship dancers Kelly Prather and Kelsey Ebersold have also been promoted to apprentice status.

13-14 Board of Trustees Announcements: Three New Trustees + Addition of Advisory Board:

Atlanta Ballet welcomes three new members to its 36-member board of trustees for the 13-14 season: Stuart Kronauge, senior vice president and general manager of sparkling beverages for the Coca-Cola Company; Jan Beaves, community volunteer and former global human resources director for The Coca-Cola Company; and Amy Gerome, senior business analyst for InComm. Each has agreed to serve a three-year term.

The board also approved its new slate of officers. Allen Nelson continues his tenure as board president and will serve alongside Elizabeth Adams, David Crosland and Kristen Manion Taylor as vice chairs, Margaret Carton as secretary and Sue Gibbs as treasurer.

The 13-14 ballet year will also mark the first full season for its newly-instated advisory board – a collection of high-profile, influential community, corporate and civic leaders from the Atlanta metro area. The board will provide guidance, insight and advice to the organization as needed and also serve as advocates for Atlanta Ballet in the community and within their spheres of influence. Its current membership includes various local Consul Generals, senior executives from a number of Atlanta’s major corporations and institutions, and representatives from Atlanta Ballet’s community partners.

12-13 Season Highlights

As the Company looks toward the start of another exciting performance season, it closes its previous season with a number of highlights and achievements:

  • The company exceeded three revenue goals, for its productions of Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker, Cinderella (a one-hour family ballet) and Michael Pink’s Dracula during the 12-13 season.
  • Atlanta Ballet also saw record numbers for its two marquee fundraising events of the season – the Corps de Ballet Luncheon (Sept. 2012) and Atlanta Ballet Ball (Feb. 2013). Both exceeded expectations in attendance and revenue.
  • The Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education surpassed previous numbers as well with the highest attendance recorded since the doors officially opened in 1996. More than 1,200 students were enrolled across all three studios, solidifying the school as one of the largest primary training facilities in the country.


About Atlanta Ballet

Founded in 1929, Atlanta Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the country and the official state Ballet of Georgia. Atlanta Ballet's eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals. After 84 years, Atlanta Ballet continues its commitment to share and educate audiences on the empowering joy of dance. In 1996, Atlanta Ballet opened the Centre for Dance Education and is dedicated to nurturing young dancers while providing an outlet for adults to express their creativity. The Centre serves over 150,000 people in metro Atlanta each year. Atlanta Ballet's roots remain firmly grounded in the Atlanta community and continue to play a vital role in the city's cultural growth and revitalization. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @atlantaballet, and like us on Facebook at