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Canada's James Kudelka is one of the world's leading ballet choreographers. He was born in Newmarket, Ontario, and began to choreograph while still a student at the National Ballet School in Toronto. From 1972 until 1981, he was a dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, although he continued to hone his choreographic skills.
Kudelka left Toronto to join Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (later renamed Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal) as a principal dancer and the company's resident choreographer. He returned to the National Ballet of Canada in the early 1990s as artist-in-residence. In 1996, he was appointed the company's artistic director.
Kudelka is particularly known for his works In Paradisum (1983), which he created for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and Fifteen Heterosexual Duets (1991) , commissioned by Toronto Dance Theatre. Kudelka has choreographed his own versions of the classics such as Swan Lake (1999), as well as original full-length story ballets such as The Contract (2002) and An Italian Straw Hat (2005).
Kudelka's artistic dexterity, his ability to combine classical ballet technique with other dance idioms and his own contemporary perspective on eternal themes such as love, loss and sexuality have resulted in numerous commissions from other dance companies in North America, including Dancemakers, the Joffrey Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.
Kudelka is the recipient of numerous awards, including two Jean A. Chalmers Awards (1973 and 1993) and two Dora Mavor Moore Awards (1995 and 1996). In spring 2005, Kudelka announced his resignation as artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada and to now works as the company's resident choreographer.
Doob, Penelope Reed. “Creative Roles, Creative Processes: Reflections on the Choreographic Practices of James Kudelka and Dominique Dumais / Rôles créatifs et processus de creation: reflexions sur les pratiques chorégraphiques de James Kudelka et Dominique Dumais.” Estivale 2000: Canadian Dancing Bodies Then and Now / Les corps dansants d’hier à aujourd’hui au Canada. Ed. Iro Valaskakis Tembeck. Toronto: Dance Collection Danse, 2002: 33-57.