Today we have the pleasure of being joined by Colleen Neary, Artistic Director of Los Angeles Ballet. Born in Miami, Florida, Neary trained in New York at both the School of American Ballet and Harkness House for Ballet Arts. From 1969 to 1979, she danced as a soloist with New York City Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine and became one of his quintessential ballerinas. Colleen’s career path led her to Europe in 1979 when she became Rehearsal Director and Choreographic Assistant at Switzerland’s Zurich Ballet. In 1986 she accepted the position of Principal Dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet, then returned to Europe in 1992 to spend a decade with The Royal Danish Ballet as Rehearsal Director, Company Teacher, and First Instructor in charge of productions. In 2004, she and her husband, Thordal Christensen, founded Los Angeles Ballet.
Today we take a deep dive into Colleen’s career, where she shares with us what it was like dancing at SAB as a young dancer while her older sister, Pat Neary, was in the company, her relationship with Balanchine, and her unusual path to join NYCB. She shares delightful stories with us about working with Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and where her career took her after leaving the company. You won’t want to miss a moment of this chat, so we hope you all enjoy!
Photo: George Balanchine, Patricia Neary and Colleen Neary. Photo courtesy of Colleen Neary.
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