SHOWBIZ NATION LIVE! Interview with American Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director KEVIN McKENZIE
ABT’s Artistic Director KEVIN MCKENZIE discusses the elite ballet company’s profile on AMERICAN MASTERS presents AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE: A HISTORY, directed by Ric Burns, premiering May 12, 2015 on PBS.
Delving into the rich history of one of the world’s preeminent ballet companies, Burns combines intimate rehearsal footage, virtuoso performances and interviews with American Ballet Theatre’s key figures: artists pivotal to the company’s formation, including Alicia Alonso and the late Donald Saddler and Frederic Franklin; contemporary luminaries, including dancers Susan Jaffe and Julie Kent, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky and artistic director Kevin McKenzie; past and present stars Misty Copeland, Gillian Murphy, Marcelo Gomes and Hee Seo; dance historian and author Jennifer Homans; and prominent dance critics Anna Kisselgoff and the late Clive Barnes. The film will be available on DVD July 14, 2015, from PBS Distribution.
|A native of Vermont, Kevin McKenzie received his ballet training at the Washington School of Ballet. In 1972, Mr. McKenziewas awarded a Silver medal at the Sixth International Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. He was a leading dancer with both the National Ballet of Washington and TheJoffrey Ballet before joining American Ballet Theatre as a Soloist in March 1979. Mr. McKenziewas appointed a Principal Dancer the following December and danced with the Company until 1991.As a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, Mr. McKenzie danced leading roles in all of the major full-length classics including Solor in La Bayadère, Don Jose inCarmen, the Prince in Mikhail Baryshnikov’s production of the full-length Cinderella, Franz inCoppélia, the Gentleman With Her in Dim Lustre, Basil and Espada in Don Quixote (Kitri’s Wedding), Albrecht in Giselle, a leading role in The Garden of Villandry, Her Lover in Jardin aux Lilas, the leading role in The Leaves Are Fading, the Friend in Pillar of Fire, the leading role inRaymonda (Grand Pas Hongrois), a featured role in Requiem, the Champion Roper in Rodeo, Romeo and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, James in La Sylphide and the leading roles in Other Dances, Paquita, Les Sylphides, the Sylvia Pas de Deux and Theme and Variations. He created the role of Amnon in Martine van Hamel’s Amnon V’Tamar and a leading role in Clark Tippet’s S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A.During his performing career, Mr. McKenzie performed as a guest artist in cities throughout the world, including Spoleto, Italy, Paris, London, Tokyo, Havana, Moscow, Vienna and Korea, dancing with, among others, the London Festival Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, the National Ballet of Cuba and the Universal Ballet in Seoul. In September 1989, Mr. McKenzie was appointed a permanent guest artist with The Washington Ballet, and, in 1991, assumed the position of Artistic Associate of that company. He has also acted as Associate Artistic Director of, and a choreographer with, Martine van Hamel’s New Amsterdam Ballet.
Mr. McKenzie was appointed Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre in October 1992. His choreographic credits include Groupo Zamboria (1984) and Liszt Études, now calledTranscendental Études, (1991), both for Martine van Hamel’s New Amsterdam Ballet, Lucy and the Count (1992) for The Washington Ballet, and the full-length classic The Nutcracker (1993),Don Quixote (1995), in collaboration with Susan Jones, a new production of Swan Lake (2000) and a new production of The Sleeping Beauty (2007), with Gelsey Kirkland and Michael Chernov, all for American Ballet Theatre.