The Performers

Alexei Ratmansky, Choreographer and ABT Artist in Residence

Alexei Ratmansky was born in St. Petersburg and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow. His performing career included positions as principal dancer with Ukrainian National Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet. He has choreographed ballets for the Mariinsky Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Kiev Ballet and the State Ballet of Georgia, as well as for Nina Ananiashvili, Diana Vishneva and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Ratmansky’s 1998 work, Dreams of Japan, earned a prestigious Golden Mask Award by the Theatre Union of Russia. In 2005, he was awarded the Benois de la Danse prize for his choreography of Anna Karenina for the Royal Danish Ballet. He was made Knight of the Order of Dannebrog by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in 2001. He won his second Benois de la Danse for Shostakovich Trilogy in 2014.

Ratmansky was named artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet in January 2004. For the Bolshoi Ballet, he choreographed full-length productions of The Bright Stream (2003) and The Bolt (2005) and re-staged Le Corsaire (2007) and the Soviet-era Flames of Paris (2008). Under Ratmansky’s direction, the Bolshoi Ballet was named “Best Foreign Company” in 2005 and 2007 by The Critics’ Circle in London, and he received a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for The Bright Stream in 2006. In 2007, he won a Golden Mask Award for Best Choreographer for his production of Jeu de Cartes for the Bolshoi Ballet. In 2009, Ratmansky choreographed new dances for the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Aida. Ratmansky joined American Ballet Theatre as Artist in Residence in January 2009. In 2012, Ratmansky choreographed a new version of The Golden Cockerel for the Royal Danish Ballet. The Golden Cockerel received its American Premiere by American Ballet Theatre on June 6, 2016.

For American Ballet Theatre, Ratmansky has choreographed On the Dnieper (2009), Seven Sonatas (2009), Waltz Masquerade, a ballet honoring Nina Ananiashvili’s final season (2009), The Nutcracker (2010), Dumbarton (2011), Firebird and Symphony #9 (2012), Chamber Symphony, Piano Concerto #1 and The Tempest (2013), The Sleeping Beauty (2015), Serenade after Plato’s Symposium (2016), Songs of Bukovina (2017), Whipped Cream (2017), Harlequinade (2018), The Seasons (2019) and Of Love and Rage (2020).

Ratmansky was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow for 2013. In 2020, he received a Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Classical Choreography for his work with San Francisco Ballet on Shostakovich Trilogy, a co-commission with American Ballet Theatre.

Of Love and Rage is Ratmansky’s 17th ballet for American Ballet Theatre.

Dancers Isabella Boylston, ABT Principal

Born in Sun Valley, Idaho, Isabella Boylston began dancing at the age of three. While training at the Academy of Colorado Ballet, she won the gold medal in 2001 at the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City. In 2002, she began training at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida, on a full scholarship.

Boylston joined the ABT Studio Company in 2005, the main Company as an apprentice in May 2006 and the corps de ballet in March 2007. She was promoted to Soloist in June 2011 and to Principal Dancer in August 2014.

Her repertory with the Company includes Nikiya and Gamzatti in La Bayadère, the Ballerina in The Bright Stream, Fairy Godmother and the Fairy Summer in Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, Moss in James Kudelka’s Cinderella, Aurora in Coppélia, Gulnare and an Odalisque in Le Corsaire, Chloe in Daphnis and Chloe, Kitri and a flower girl in Don Quixote, the second girl in Fancy Free, Lise in La Fille mal gardée, the title role in Alexei Ratmansky’s Firebird, Giselle, the peasant pas de deux and Moyna in Giselle, the title role in Jane Eyre, Manon and Lescaut’s Mistress in Manon, Clara the Princess in The Nutcracker, Olga in Onegin, Other Dances, Juliet and a Harlot in Romeo and Juliet, Princess Aurora and Princess Florine in Ratmansky’s The Sleeping Beauty, Princess Florine and the Fairy of Fervor in The Sleeping Beauty, Odette/Odile, the pas de trois and the Polish Princess in Swan Lake, the Mazurka in Les Sylphides, Sylvia and Persephone in Sylvia, the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, the lead in Theme and Variations, Princess Tea Flower in Whipped Cream, leading roles in AFTERITE, Bach Partita, Ballo della Regina, The Brahms-Haydn Variations, Désir, Everything Doesn’t Happen at Once, Her Notes, From Here On Out, Let Me Sing Forevermore, Monotones I, Songs of Bukovina, Symphonie Concertante, Symphony in C and With a Chance of Rain, and featured roles in After You, Birthday Offering, Brief Fling, Deuce Coupe, Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, In the Upper Room, Gong, The Leaves Are Fading and Sinfonietta.

Boylston created Columbine in Alexei Ratmansky’s Harlequinade, The Spirit of the Corn in Ratmansky’s The Seasons, the Diamond Fairy in Ratmansky’s The Sleeping Beauty, leading roles in Ratmansky’s Chamber Symphony, Christopher Wheeldon’s Thirteen Diversions and Gemma Bond’s A Time There Was, and featured roles in Lauri Stallings’ Citizen, Ratmansky’s Dumbarton and Demis Volpi’s Private Light.

Boylston won the 2009 Princess Grace Award and was nominated for the 2010 Prix Benois de la Danse. In 2011 she received the Clive Barnes Award. She was the recipient of the 2014 Annenberg Fellowship.

She has appeared as a guest artist with the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg and the Royal Danish Ballet.

Ms. Boylston’s performances with American Ballet Theatre are sponsored by Linda Allard and Andrea and Ken Brodlieb.

James Whiteside, ABT Principal

Born in Fairfield, Connecticut, James Whiteside began his training at age nine at the D’Valda & Sirico Dance and Music Centre, where guest faculty included Charles Kelley, Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens. He continued his training at the Virginia School of the Arts for one year under the direction of Petrus Bosman and David Keener. In 2002, Whiteside joined Boston Ballet II, where he continued to train under the tutelage of its director Raymond Lukens, now director of ABT’s National Training Curriculum. Whiteside joined the corps de ballet of Boston Ballet in 2003 and became a second soloist in 2006. He was promoted to first soloist in 2008 and to principal dancer with Boston Ballet in 2009.

Whiteside’s repertoire with Boston Ballet included Principal roles in George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Coppélia, Ballo della Regina, Rubies, The Four Temperaments (Sanguinic), Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Who Cares?, Serenade, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Symphony in 3 and La Valse; Maina Gielgud’s Giselle; Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker and Swan Lake; John Cranko’s Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet; Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty and Raymonda Act III; Antony Tudor’s Dark Elegies; Jiři Kylián’s Bella Figura, Sarabande, Petite Mort and Sechs Tänze; Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room; and Mark Morris’ Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes. He created roles in Jorma Elo’s Brake the Eyes, Plan to B, Carmen, Slice to Sharper and In On Blue; Helen Pickett’s Eventide and Etesian; and Mark Morris’ Up & Down.

Whiteside joined American Ballet Theatre as a Soloist in September 2012 and was named a Principal Dancer in October 2013. His repertoire with the Company includes Solor in La Bayadère, the Prince in Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, Conrad and Ali, the Slave in Le Corsaire, Daphnis and Bryaxis in Daphnis and Chloe, Basilio and Espada in Don Quixote, Oberon in The Dream, the third sailor in Fancy Free, Colas in La Fille mal gardée, Albrecht in Giselle, Astrologer in The Golden Cockerel, Lescaut in Manon, the Nutcracker Prince in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, Prince Gremin in Onegin, Iago in Othello, Champion Roper in Rodeo, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Prince Désiré in The Sleeping Beauty, Prince Siegfried and von Rothbart (Ballroom) in Swan Lake, Orion in Sylvia, Caliban in The Tempest, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Prince Coffee in Whipped Cream, leading roles in Bach Partita, The Brahms-Haydn Variations, Duo Concertant, Chamber Symphony, Her Notes, Let Me Sing Forevermore, Raymonda Divertissements, Symphonic Variations, Symphony in C, Theme and Variations and Valse Fantaisie, and featured roles in Gong, Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, In the Upper Room and Sinfonietta.

He created The Man in AfterEffect, Harlequin in Ratmansky’s Harlequinade, Dionysius in Of Love and Rage, Zephyr in The Seasons, leading roles in AFTERITE, Garden Blue, Serenade after Plato’s Symposium, A Time There Was and With a Chance of Rain, and a featured role in Dream within a Dream (deferred).

Whiteside has choreographed for music videos, commercials, film and ballet including New American Romance for American Ballet Theatre, City of Women for ABT Incubator, Sway for Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night’s Swing and On the Water, Zero Hour and Bells & Whistles for Boston Ballet. In 2018, he starred in Arthur Pita’s dance/theater work The Tenant at The Joyce Theater in New York City. Whiteside hosts his own podcast, “The Stage Rightside with James Whiteside.”

Mr. Whiteside’s performances with American Ballet Theatre are sponsored by Sharon Patrick.

Music Score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

7 May 1840 – 6 November 1893[a 3]) was a Russian composer of the Romantic period. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally. He was honored in 1884 by Tsar Alexander III and awarded a lifetime pension.

Although musically precocious, Tchaikovsky was educated for a career as a civil servant. There was scant opportunity for a musical career in Russia at the time and no system of public music education. When an opportunity for such an education arose, he entered the nascent Saint Petersburg Conservatory, from which he graduated in 1865. The formal Western-oriented teaching that he received there set him apart from composers of the contemporary nationalist movement embodied by the Russian composers of The Five with whom his professional relationship was mixed.

Tchaikovsky’s training set him on a path to reconcile what he had learned with the native musical practices to which he had been exposed from childhood. From that reconciliation, he forged a personal but unmistakably Russian style. The principles that governed melody, harmony and other fundamentals of Russian music ran completely counter to those that governed Western European music, which seemed to defeat the potential for using Russian music in large-scale Western composition or for forming a composite style, and it caused personal antipathies that dented Tchaikovsky’s self-confidence. Russian culture exhibited a split personality, with its native and adopted elements having drifted apart increasingly since the time of Peter the Great. That resulted in uncertainty among the intelligentsia about the country’s national identity, an ambiguity mirrored in Tchaikovsky’s career.

Despite his many popular successes, Tchaikovsky’s life was punctuated by personal crises and depression. Contributory factors included his early separation from his mother for boarding school followed by his mother’s early death; the death of his close friend and colleague Nikolai Rubinstein; and the collapse of the one enduring relationship of his adult life, his 13-year association with the wealthy widow Nadezhda von Meck, who was his patron even though they never actually met each other. His homosexuality, which he kept private, has traditionally also been considered a major factor though some musicologists now downplay its importance. Tchaikovsky’s sudden death at the age of 53 is generally ascribed to cholera; there is an ongoing debate as to whether cholera was indeed the cause of his death.

While his music has remained popular among audiences, critical opinions were initially mixed. Some Russians did not feel it was sufficiently representative of native musical values and expressed suspicion that Europeans accepted the music for its Western elements. In an apparent reinforcement of the latter claim, some Europeans lauded Tchaikovsky for offering music more substantive than base exoticism and said he transcended stereotypes of Russian classical music. Others dismissed Tchaikovsky’s music as “lacking in elevated thought”[3] and derided its formal workings as deficient because they did not stringently follow Western principles.

Share