Juan Ignacio Duato Barcia, also known as Nacho Duato, is an acclaimed Spanish dancer and choreographer. He began his dance career with the Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm and has received multiple awards in recognition of his achievements as a dancer and choreographer. In 1990, he was invited to become the Artistic Director of Compañía Nacional de Danza by the Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escénicas y de la Música of the Spanish Ministry of Culture. In July of 2010, he left the Compañía Nacional de Danza after twenty years. This January, he will become the Artistic Director of Russia’s Mikhailovsky Ballet.
This move represents an exciting step for both Mr. Duato and Russian ballet. He will be the first foreigner to direct a Russian ballet company in over a century, the last was France’s Marius Petipa. For Mr. Duato, it will be his first time leading a large classical repertory company. Russian ballet is not known for its malleability and has had a history of ignoring modern dance influences like Mr. Duato’s, in favor of preserving tradition. Vladimir Kekhman, the businessman who took over as Mikahailovsky’s general director in 2007, feels that a strong contemporary influence is exactly what the company and Russian ballet needs.
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To learn more about Mr. Duato’s move to the Mikhailovsky Ballet read the New York Times article.