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Arts

Cincinnati Ballet names new artistic director

woman sits on wooden platform wearing a black suit, heels and white blouse.
Hiromi Platt Photography
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Cincinnati Ballet
Jodie Gates takes over as artistic director Aug. 1, 2022.

The Cincinnati Ballet is naming a successor for longtime artistic director Victoria Morgan. Jodie Gates will take over Aug. 1, 2022. Morgan is retiring at the end of the 2021-2022 season.

Gates is a former principal ballet dancer with four companies, including the Joffrey Ballet. Most recently, she served as the founding director of the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and artistic director and founder of the Laguna Dance Festival in Laguna Beach, Calif.

Her credits beyond dancer include arts educator, stager and choreographer.

"Jodie brings with her more than three decades of excellence and innovation on the international stage," says Scott Altman, Cincinnati Ballet president and CEO in a statement. "She has a deep respect for the history of the art form and brings an incredible passion for its future."

Search committee members say Gates offers a "visionary point of view" and recognizes "the critical need to expand diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion." She was awarded the 2021/2022 Residency Fellowship with The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University.

"Her Fellowship acknowledges her most recent work as initiator for the Artistic Directors Coalition for Ballet in America, a group of artistic directors, choreographers, and educators who are addressing systemic racism and inequities within the culture of ballet," the release states.

woman stands on stage with dancers in background
Skye Schmidt
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Courtesy of Cincinnati Ballet
Laguna Dance Festival event; Jodie Gates with Complexions Contemporary Ballet dancers

Gates says she's looking forward to this new opportunity.

"There is a solid foundation to build on and I enthusiastically embrace the opportunity to evolve the narrative of dance, and curate programs through the lens of inclusion. I envision a future for the art form where ballet is for everyone, for all communities; I would love for people to find themselves in our dances. I would also like to recognize that Cincinnati Ballet has a longstanding commitment to the community through both performance and education, and I am looking forward to deepening and strengthening the identity of the Cincinnati Ballet locally and nationally."

Outgoing Artistic Director Morgan has led the company for 25 years since 1996.