This month, the curtain will rise on the first season of Atlanta Ballet 2—the second company of Atlanta Ballet.
Growing out of Atlanta Ballet's former Fellowship Division, AB2 is designed for advanced students ages 17–21, who are transitioning from student life to professional life. The company will also serve as a route to joining Atlanta Ballet.
During AB2's 36-week season, its members will receive shoes, a weekly stipend and free tuition at the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education. At the helm of AB2 will be Atlanta Ballet's artistic director, Gennadi Nedvigin, and the Centre for Dance Education dean, Sharon Story.
"AB2 will give the world premiere of Beauty & the Beast, a one-hour ballet by Bruce Wells," says Story. "They will also have two or three original works made on them this year and do classical and neoclassical repertory specifically selected for them from our repertory and others."
Photo by Kim Kenney, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet
Atlanta Ballet is additionally in talks about performance opportunities for AB2 at local venues, such as the Atlanta Botanical Garden and High Museum of Art. Like most second companies, AB2's dancers will have the opportunity to perform with the main company at the artistic director's discretion.
"AB2 dancers will take class with Atlanta Ballet when the company men and women split up–which is typically twice per week," explains Story. "They will take class with the company onstage when they are involved with Atlanta Ballet performances."
AB2 dancers will also participate in Atlanta Ballet's vast mentorship system. "Mentoring occurs on a daily basis," says Story. "Company members mentor AB2 dancers; artistic staff mentors company members; principal faculty from the Dance Centre mentors AB2; AB2 mentors conservatory students; and it goes further down into the school."
AB2's 2017–2018 season dancers come from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Japan and Spain and were selected from Atlanta Ballet's Dance Centre, the former Fellowship Division and auditions in Atlanta, New York and Barcelona.