Kirk Peterson was the innovative Artistic Director of the Hartford Ballet for f ve years and his choreography has been seen with American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Pacif c Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Washington Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, BalletMet, San Francisco Opera and The Royal Ballet School.
Peterson has had a long and distinguished career as a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet. He was also a principal dancer with London Festival Ballet, Harkness Ballet and the National Ballet of Washington. Peterson?s extensive repertoire as a dancer included all the full-length classics and he appeared in a wide range of works by the world?s leading choreographers. Peterson began his ballet studies at the age of three in his native New Orleans, where he studied for f fteen years with Lelia Haller, a distinguished pedagogue from the Paris Opera Ballet. During the summer of 1999, Peterson appeared in, served as Ballet Master and consultant, and staged classroom segments for the feature f lm Center Stage.
He began choreographing while still a member of American Ballet Theatre and created the ballet Floating Weeds for ballerina Cynthia Harvey. His f rst work for San Francisco Ballet, Cloudless Sulphur, created for ballerina Evelyn Cisneros and commissioned by artistic director Michael Smuin, led to his being named a resident choreographer of the company. In 1985, he then created a one act Othello to the music of Carl Ruggles. He was a founding member of the San Francisco based OMO Dancers and was later appointed Assistant Artistic Director of the Washington Ballet. Peterson has to date choreographed over 50 ballets. His varied and challenging works, such as the often-performed Belling the Slayer and his trilogy of ballets to the music of Philip Glass, The Eyes That Gently Touch, Vortex and Amazed in Burning Dreams, have received consistently high acclaim. His more recently created Carmen, Fandango Furioso and The Howling Cat (Imaginary Tango), have added to the long list of his imaginative works. His ballet Dancing with Monet (A Gathering at Argenteuil), which premiered in June 2002, was created for the Pennsylvania Ballet. He also collaborated with violinist Sarah Chang on his new Carmen Fantasy for American Ballet Theatre.
Peterson is a specialist in re-staging the full-length classical repertoire such as Giselle and Don Quixote and has had a particular success with his The Sleeping Beauty. He has also created original versions of Coppélia and The Nutcracker.
Peterson collaborated with Michael Smuin on two Broadway productions. The f rst, Anything Goes, starred Patti LuPone. In 1990, he was co-choreogra?pher with Smuin of a lavish musical based on James Clavell?s novel Shogun. The Hartford Ballet appointed Peterson its Artistic Director in 1993. During his f ve years with Hartford, Peterson created or re-staged nearly 20 works including Reinin? in the Hurricane and new versions of The Firebird, Le Sacre du Printemps and L?Apres Midi d?un Faune. Peterson, now in his f fth year as Resident Choreographer of Cincinnati Ballet, is presently collaborating with composer Michael Torke on a new three-movement ballet entitled Javelin. Peterson rejoined American Ballet Theatre as Ballet Master in August 1999, was appointed Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre?s Studio Com?pany in 2006 and is presently Master Associate Teacher for the entire in?stitution. In addition to his other duties, Peterson performs the roles of Dr. Coppélius in Coppélia, the Widow Simone in La Fille mal gardée, the Charlatan in Petrouchka and numerous other roles. For the Company he re-staged George Balanchine?s original version of Theme and Variations and Michel Fokine?s def nitive version of his masterpiece, Les Sylphides. In October of 2007, Alberta Ballet will premiere Peterson?s new full-length Othello to the music of legendary f lm composer Jerry Goldsmith.