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Boston Ballet renews AD Mikko Nissinen's contract, through 2014


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From the company:


Nissinen’s Contract Extended Through 2014

BOSTON, MA – September 29, 2008 – Boston Ballet Chairman of the Board, J. Peter Lyons, announced today the extension of Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen’s contract through 2014.  Nissinen has been Artistic Director of the institution since September 2001 and his current contract was set to expire in 2009.

“Over the past seven years, Mikko has dramatically raised the profile of the institution by establishing a roster of talented dancers, heightening the quality of dancing, building a varied and reputable repertory and expanding the reach of the school and community programs,” said Lyons.  “The Board is pleased to announce his continued leadership and looks forward to even greater success in the coming years.”

“I am extremely proud of Boston Ballet’s accomplishments over the past seven years,” said Nissinen.  “The quality and versatility of our dancers is especially impressive, and with our strong artistic team, the Company has come a long way.  I’m also very proud of our acquired repertoire, and how well Boston Ballet has curated the major classics, the works of Balanchine, and those of contemporary choreographers. Our long term relationship with resident choreographer Jorma Elo has produced unique signature pieces for Boston Ballet which have progressed the art form farther.  It is especially important for me to develop new work and emerging choreographers. We are cultivating the next generation of talented choreographers through commissioned and Company premieres.”

Nissinen continued, “We’ve taken a great and important step with our recent national and international touring.  I’m looking forward to the future and the Company’s next phase.”

 “Under Mikko's direction Boston Ballet has flourished,” said Mark Morris, choreographer and Director of Mark Morris Dance Group. “He's doing it right: the company is once again a serious, viable and high-quality organization; real dancing by real people.  Boston is a lucky town.”

Since taking the reigns as Artistic Director, Nissinen has defined the Company’s image with classical and neo-classical works, ranging from full-length ballets including John Cranko’s Onegin, Sir Fredrick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée, Rudolph Nureyev’s Don Quixote, Nikolay Sergeyev’s The Sleeping Beauty and August Bournonville’s La Sylphide, to masterworks by George Balanchine and new works and world premieres by some of the finest contemporary choreographers, including William Forsythe, Jiří Kylián, James Kudelka, Peter Martins, Mark Morris, Val Caniparoli, David Dawson, Christopher Wheeldon, Helen Pickett, and Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo.  Nissinen has himself contributed to the Company’s repertory with his versions of The Nutcracker in 2003, Swan Lake in 2004, and Raymonda, Act III in 2006 for Boston Ballet.

In 2007, Boston Ballet became only the second U.S. ballet company to perform John Cranko’s Romeo & Juliet and the only American company to have three of Cranko’s greatest works as part of its extensive repertoire: The Taming of The Shrew, Onegin and Romeo & Juliet.

Nissinen has been integral in nurturing emerging choreographers including Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo, who has created five new works for the company since 2002, company member Heather Myers and choreographers Helen Pickett and Sabrina Matthews.

Under Nissinen’s direction, Boston Ballet toured internationally for the first time in 16 years, receiving critical acclaim during its 2007 six-week tour to seven festivals in Spain and its tour this summer to Korea.  Recent domestic touring engagements have included performances this past summer at the acclaimed Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina and at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC as part of the Ballet Across America series.  Last fall, the company performed in New York at the Guggenheim Museum as part of its ground-breaking Works & Process series and for the second time at New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival.

Since Nissinen joined Boston Ballet in 2001, Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education has radically expanded its programming and Boston Ballet School has become the largest ballet school in North America.  In 2007, Nissinen named Margaret Tracey, former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer, as Associate Director of the Center.  This January, Boston Ballet School’s fourth location will open in Marblehead, MA in partnership with the North Shore YMCA.

Last March, Nissinen announced that beginning in the fall of 2009, Boston Ballet’s new home and sole performing venue for its Boston season and subscription series as well as its popular holiday classic, The Nutcracker, would be the Opera House.  The Opera House will offer Boston Ballet audiences a more intimate experience with the artists on stage and a single venue for all Boston Ballet productions.

Born in Helsinki, Finland, Nissinen began his dance training at age ten with The Finnish National Ballet School, and launched his dance career at age 15. In 1978, he won First Prize at The National Ballet Competition in Kuopio, Finland. The following year he continued his studies at The Kirov Ballet School. Nissinen went on to dance with Dutch National Ballet, Basel Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, where he held the position of principal dancer for ten years, until he retired from the stage in 1996. During Nissinen's performance career his vast repertoire ranged from classical to contemporary works. As a guest artist, he danced at numerous international galas and with many different companies and partners.

Nissinen was appointed artistic director of the Marin Ballet in San Rafael, California in 1996.  Two years later he was appointed artistic director of Alberta Ballet, in Calgary, Canada. Under Nissinen’s leadership, Alberta Ballet’s global visibility, national stature, performance schedule and touring and were increased.

Nissinen has received extensive media coverage, including a cover story in Dance magazine and a profile on CNN Worldwide. He was a fellow at the 2002 Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders in the Arts at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

He has juried the Prix de Lausanne, Benois de la Danse, Japan Grand Prix and the Helsinki International Ballet Competition, and his knowledge of dance history has made him a popular presenter at conferences. Nissinen is a member of the Artistic Committee for the New York Choreographic Institute. He is an advisory board member of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, and Armitage Gone! Dance. Nissinen is the recipient of the Finlandia Foundation’s 2008 Arts and Letters Award and the 2007 United Nations Association of Greater Boston Leadership Award.

About Boston Ballet

Founded in 1963, Boston Ballet is one of the leading dance companies in North America. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen, the Company maintains an internationally acclaimed repertoire of classical, neo-classical and contemporary works, ranging from full-length story ballets to new works by some of today's finest choreographers.

Boston Ballet's second company, Boston Ballet II, is made up of pre-professional dancers who gain experience by performing with Boston Ballet and as an independent group, presenting lecture-demonstrations and unique programs to audiences throughout the Northeast. The Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education is the largest ballet school in North America. In service of its mission to bring the highest quality arts education to all, it reaches and instructs more than 5,000 students of all ages each year through Boston Ballet School, Summer Dance Workshop, Summer Dance Program, Citydance, Taking Steps, and Adaptive Dance. The wide array of dance education programs are held at four major ballet studio locations, in community centers, and throughout the Boston Public Schools.

Boston Ballet gratefully acknowledges the following institutional partners:

State Street Corporation, 2008 Sponsor, The Nutcracker

Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation/Linda S. Waintrup, Trustee

Massachusetts Cultural Council

National Endowment for the Arts

Boston Organ & Piano, Official Piano Supplier of Boston Ballet

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This is all well and good, but I think this past year was really a tell-tale sign about Boston Ballet. Very financially unstable, and unfortunately, a lot of dancer's got the raw end of the deal. What is Mikko doing to aid the financial situation of Boston Ballet? Going on tour to Korea? :dry:

Sorry, that was a bit sassy. :dunno:

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