Cincinnati Ballet announced today that it has named Jodie Gates as its new artistic director, effective August 1, 2022. Gates will take over from Victoria Morgan, who is retiring after 25 years at the helm.
Gates, most recently the founding director of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and founder and artistic director of the Laguna Dance Festival, will inherit stewardship of Cincinnati Ballet’s $11.5 million annual operating budget, 27 company dancers, 12 second company dancers, and the Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy.The organization recently moved into its new $30.8 million Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance.
Born and raised in Sacramento, California, Gates trained initially with Barbara Crockett and Ingrid Carriker, and later at the School of American Ballet. At 15, she was discovered by Robert Joffrey and at 16 joined the Joffrey II dancers. Over the course of her 35-year professional career, she was a principal dancer with Joffrey Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She is an artistic collaborator with choreographer William Forsythe, staging ballets for Forsythe Productions. In addition, Gates has choreographed over 60 of her own works for dozens of dance companies and academic institutions. She recently received the 2021/22 Residency Fellowship from The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University.
We spoke with Gates shortly after she received the news to hear more about her plans for the company.
Why did you seek the artistic director position?
I was recommended for—and then recruited by the search committee for—the job. I feel incredibly fortunate. My career has been so filled with exquisite opportunities, so this was a natural next step. I have this incredibly broad perspective of the dance field, and I feel I am poised at this season in my life to bring all these assets together as an artistic director.