Cincinnati Ballet Announces New Artistic Director

“There is a solid foundation to build on and I enthusiastically embrace the opportunity to evolve the narrative of dance, and curate programs through the lens of inclusion."

click to enlarge Jodie Gates will take over for outgoing Artistic Director Victoria Morgan in August. - PHOTO: HIROMI PLATT PHOTOGRAPHY
Photo: Hiromi Platt Photography
Jodie Gates will take over for outgoing Artistic Director Victoria Morgan in August.

Continuing what it refers to as its "trailblazing history of female leadership in the art form," the Cincinnati Ballet has announced Jodie Gates as its next artistic director.

Longtime Artistic Director Victoria Morgan has announced she'll be stepping down at the end of the 2021-22 season — her 25th year with the Cincinnati Ballet. Gates will take over leadership Aug. 1.

“Jodie brings with her more than three decades of excellence and innovation on the international stage,” says Scott Altman, Cincinnati Ballet president and CEO, in a release. “She has a deep respect for the history of the art form and brings an incredible passion for its future. With the new Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance, we are at a watershed moment in the organization’s history.”

Gates will be relocating to the Queen City from Los Angeles, where she founded and artistic directed the Laguna Dance Festival in Laguna Beach, California, and also was the founding director of the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Previously, she was a principal dancer with companies including the Frankfurt Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She is also a choreographer and has staged ballets for Forsythe Productions.

The Cincinnati Ballet opened its 57,000-square-foot Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance in Walnut Hills in September 2021 after relocating from their former home in the West End. (The ballet was involved in a dispute with FC Cincinnati over zoning, parking and noise issues involved with the team's TQL Stadium, but eventually settled.) The center is home to 27 company dancers, 12 CB2 second company performers and the Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy Professional Training Division. (Gates will also become the Artistic Director for the academy.)

In a release, Gates says she is looking forward to joining a company she has "long admired."

“There is a solid foundation to build on and I enthusiastically embrace the opportunity to evolve the narrative of dance, and curate programs through the lens of inclusion," she says. "I envision a future for the art form where ballet is for everyone, for all communities; I would love for people to find themselves in our dances. I would also like to recognize that Cincinnati Ballet has a longstanding commitment to the community through both performance and education, and I am looking forward to deepening and strengthening the identity of the Cincinnati Ballet locally and nationally. I am excited to explore Cincinnati, contribute to the city’s robust cultural fabric, and join the community.”

Outgoing Artistic Director Morgan said it will be a "poignant" season for her.

“I am so proud of this organization and the work we have accomplished and continue to build upon — elevating our artistry, growing a healthy endowment, championing female choreographers, and the imminent opening of the new Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance," she said in a release regarding her departure. "I will cherish being with you next season, as I have done so many seasons before. Nothing will give me greater joy than raising the curtain on this remarkable season together one last time for my grand finale.”

The ballet's season continues with Cinderella at Music Hall Feb. 17-27.

Learn more about the Cincinnati Ballet and get tickets to upcoming performances at cballet.org.

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