By Janelle Gelfand
19 April 2019
Victoria Morgan twirled slowly for her dancers, lifting her arms gracefully to demonstrate exactly how she wanted them to execute a turn.
“It should be a nice, slow pace,” instructed Cincinnati Ballet’s artistic director, turning to check copious notes scribbled into a loose-leaf binder.
Morgan was choreographing “Dancing to Oz,” a new work that will have its world premiere as part of the company’s “Bold Moves” triple bill, April 25-28 at the Aronoff Center for the Arts.
They were rehearsing at the Ballet headquarters on Central Parkway in the West End, the Ballet’s home since 1995. Seated nearby, music director Carmon DeLeone penciled notes into his new orchestral score for the piece.
Now in her 22nd season with Cincinnati Ballet, the Covington resident is one of just three female artistic directors of American ballet companies with budgets of more than $10 million. Despite avenues that have opened for women in other industries, it is still unusual for a woman to hold a leadership role in dance.
“It is rare, and it was rare when I became the artistic director. I just assumed that things would change,” she said during a lunch break, as she nibbled nuts and her mini-poodle, Cami Mo, sniffed around her feet. “I think it’s a little bit better – there are women at the head of Washington Ballet and Miami City Ballet. But of companies with an operating budget of $10 million and above, there’s just the three of us. In those top-tier companies in the upper echelon, it’s all men.”
Furthermore, even though classical ballet has legions of female dancers – it was George Balanchine who said, “The ballet is a purely female thing” – the art form lacks female choreographers. Women have long succeeded in modern and contemporary dance going back to Martha Graham, who famously choreographed Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring.” But women choreographers are strikingly underrepresented in classical ballet across the country.
Read the full article and see images in the Cincinnati Business Courier.