Ballet West has been awarded a Fellowship Initiative grant from the New York Choreographic Institute, an affiliate of New York City Ballet, to support the development of new choreography in a studio setting. The choreographer will be Christopher Ruud.
Peter Martins, Founder and Artistic Director of the Institute, states: “The Fellowship is meant to help ballet companies to create an environment in which a choreographer can develop ideas without the pressure of stage production. The Institute is committed to classical choreographers who will be creating works for the future.”
Ruud’s new work – Strum – features three separate sections for three different couples each performed in a different style. Strum is set to Manuel M. Ponce’s “Preambulo and Allegro vivo,” performed by Christopher Parkening; “Bana Mali” by Bob Brozman and Debashish Bhattacharya; and “Sweet Little Angel” by B.B. King.
“It is so seldom that new choreographers are afforded this kind of chance to create,” said Ruud. “It is an honor and privilege to be granted this fellowship and to receive this extraordinary opportunity.”
A native of San Francisco, Ruud began his training at the San Francisco Ballet School. There he studied for seven years before training at the University of Utah Ballet Department. Christopher joined Ballet West in 1998, was promoted to Soloist in 2001 and Principal in 2004. He begins full time as Director of Ballet West II in July 2012.
Ruud debuted his first choreographic work, One, on Ballet West’s first annual Innovations program in 2008. For Innovations 2011, he premiered Trapped, a work he refers to as a catalyst for him to embark on a career in choreography.
“I nominated Christopher for this fellowship because I believe he has a significant future as a choreographer," said Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute. "I have recognized Christopher’s many talents as an artist since I began with Ballet West, and after the artistic and critical success of his Trapped, I knew he had a significant future as a choreographer.”
Son of respected dancer and choreographer Tomm Ruud, Christopher is proud to be responsible for his father’s works. He has set and performed his father’s ballets, such as Mobile, for companies including Stuttgart Ballet, Ballet West, Joffrey Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Kansas City Ballet, and continues to do so to date.
As a dancer with Ballet West, Ruud has toured throughout the United States and abroad including The Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Chicago, multi-city tours in China and in Scotland at the Edinburgh International Festival. Some of his notable roles include Petruchio in John Cranko's The Taming of the Shrew, the Second Pas de Deux in Antony Tudor's The Leaves Are Fading, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake,Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances, William Forsythe's Artifact II and In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Jiri Kylian's Petite Mort, Ulysses Dove’s Red Angels, Hans van Manen's Solo, Ferdinand in Michael Smuin’sThe Tempest, the role of Earth Father in Glen Tetley’s The Rite of Spring and Oberon in Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream. Christopher has performed the principal roles in multiple versions of such classics asSwan Lake, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Cinderella, Le Corsaire Pas de Deux, La Sylphideand Romeo and Juliet. He has also danced leading roles in works by Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, Jiri Kylian, Antony Tudor, Val Caniparoli, Ben Stevenson, Hans van Manen, John Butler, Ronald Hynd, Nicolo Fonte and Ted Brandsen. Christopher’s Balanchine credits include Liza in Who Cares?, Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Serenade, Concerto Barocco, Allegro Brillante, the First Aria in Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Melancholic and Sanguinic in The Four Temperaments, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, El Capitan inStars and Stripes and the principal in Theme and Variations. Recently he has had works created on him by Nicolo Fonte in The Immeasurable Cadences Within, Helen Pickett in But Never Doubt I Love and Charlotte Boye-Christensen in Row.