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In Step with Atlanta Ballet's Gennadi Nedvigin
By Austin Holt | Photo: By Aubrie Pick | February 22, 2017
Up close and personal with guest editor Gennadi Nedvigin—Atlanta’s new voice of professional ballet.
Atlanta’s arts patrons tend to keep track of the big names moving through the inner circles of the city’s premier institutions. Ballet fans, in particular, will recognize the name John McFall, who, after two decades at the creative helm of Atlanta Ballet, announced his retirement in 2015. In the ballet’s eight-plus decades of existence, McFall was only the third person to hold the position of artistic director, and, so, the search was on: His venerable seat would have to be filled by someone with a similar passion—someone who could guide the company through its next epoch of evolution.
The particularly savvy will recognize the newest name in the program: While Gennadi Nedvigin may be a new face to Atlanta, he is certainly no stranger to the world of international dance. And, as the new artistic director of Atlanta Ballet, he’s a name to keep at the front of your mind. “I’ve been very busy, but excited,” Nedvigin says. “There’s such a diverse, well-developed cultural sensibility in Atlanta, and I’m honored to contribute to its thriving dance scene at such a pivotal time.”
Nedvigin’s career began at a young age. Growing up in the former Soviet Union, he attended one of the world’s best (and most demanding) ballet academies: The Bolshoi Ballet Academy has long turned out some of the world’s most elite performers, and Nedvigin was no exception. He went on to dance with Le Jeune Ballet de France in Paris and the San Francisco Ballet.
A 2014 staging with Atlanta Ballet struck a chord. McFall’s retirement was by no means imminent, but an aesthetic of the hospitality inherent in the Southeast stuck with Nedvigin, and he made a mental note to throw his name in the hat, should the opportunity arise. “It’s one of the most rewarding paths a professional dancer can take,” says Nedvigin. “I did succeed in my previous career, and now, it’s a brand-new adventure—like having a child, growing a flower or creating a brand-new dish. You gather all these components, and you want to have them be the best quality they can be, to create something that’s never been done before.”
This March, dance aficionados have a unique chance to get inside Nedvigin’s mind: In addition to a much-anticipated season, Gennadi’s Choice (tickets $25 to $128) is being staged March 17 to 19. This carefully cultivated trio of repertoire selections (one a North American premiere, one a world premiere, one staged by Nedvigin) will be the first chance for Atlanta to see the distinct voice the ballet’s new art director plans to bring to the table.