Reid Anderson, Artistic Director of the Stuttgart Ballet since September 1996, can look back over a long and successful career as a dancer, teacher, trainer, producer and ballet director.
Anderson was born on April 1, 1949 in New Westminster, British Columbia/Canada, and began his dance training at the Dolores Kirkwood Academy in Burnaby, B.C. He was given a grant at the age of 17 which allowed him to study at the Royal Ballet School in London, England. One year later, in February 1969, he joined the Stuttgart Ballet, whose Artistic Director at the time was John Cranko.
During his 17-year career as a dancer with the Stuttgart Ballet, Reid Anderson, who became a Soloist in 1974 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1978, danced in a wide range of classical and contemporary ballets and worked directly with many of the leading choreographers of the 20th century, including John Cranko, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Glen Tetley, John Neumeier, Jiří Kylián and William Forsythe. He danced the leading roles in many of John Cranko's works, such as Onegin, The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Initials R.B.M.E. and Opus 1. Anderson was well known for his compelling interpretation of characters, his elegance and especially for his partnering skills. He was a popular partner for many world-famous ballerinas, including Márcia Haydée, Karen Kain and Natalia Makarova. He performed as a guest artist with many ensembles including the Royal Swedish Ballet, the London Festival Ballet, the ballet company of La Scala Milan, the Hamburg Ballet, the Prague State Opera Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada.
From August 1987 to June 1989 Reid Anderson was Artistic Director of Ballet British Columbia in Vancouver and in July 1989 he was appointed Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto. Over the course of seven seasons, he acquired important pieces for that company's repertoire from choreographers such as George Balanchine, Anthony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan, Jiří Kylián, Paul Taylor, Ben Stevenson and John Cranko. He also commissioned works by William Forsythe (The Second Detail), John Neumeier (Now and Then) and Glen Tetley (Oracle) as well as giving numerous young choreographers the opportunity to create pieces for the National Ballet of Canada.
In 1996 Reid Anderson returned to the Stuttgart Ballet as Artistic Director and at the end of that season, he was appointed Intendant of the company, becoming one of the first persons ever to hold this special title in Germany. In his first season as Director/Intendant, he rejuvenated the company adding 21 new dancers, prompting renowned dance critic Horst Koegler to state: "Today’s Stuttgart Ballet is the best Stuttgart Ballet of the last thirty-five years."
From the very outset, Reid Anderson followed a repertoire policy which placed equal weight on preserving and cultivating the Cranko legacy, maintaining the high art of classical ballet, on acquiring the works of established neo-classical and contemporary choreographers and most especially on discovering and nurturing new choreographic talent. In his very first season, Reid Anderson commissioned new works by the choreographers David Bintley, Uwe Scholz, Mauro Bigonzetti and Jean Grand-Maître and added George Balanchine's The Four Temperaments, Frederick Ashton's Monotones and William Forsythe's Herman Schmerman to the repertoire.
Since then, more than 90 world premieres of works by choreographers from the younger generation have been performed on the stages of the Opera House, the Playhouse Theatre and the Chamber Theatre under Anderson's auspices, including 7 new full-length ballets. For many choreographers, a premiere in Stuttgart has become a milestone in their progression towards international recognition. This applies in particular to the two Resident Choreographers Marco Goecke and Demis Volpi who are now in demand worldwide – both for new works and for those created for the Stuttgart Ballet. Guest choreographers such as Mauro Bigonzetti (I fratelli – The Brothers) and Kevin O'Day (Hamlet) created their first full-length narrative ballets for the Stuttgart Ballet.
Other choreographers whose works Anderson has commissioned for the Stuttgart Ballet include Wayne McGregor, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Itzik Galili, David Bintley, Jorma Elo, Uwe Scholz, Christian Spuck, Edward Clug, Douglas Lee, James Sutherland, Pascal Touzeau, Jean Grand-Maitre, Martino Müller, Trey McIntyre, Dominique Dumais, Marguerite Donlon, Daniela Kurz, Sabrina Matthews, Cayetano Soto, Bridget Breiner, John Alleyne, Marc Spradling, Matjash Mrozewski, Nicolo Fonte, Katarzyna Kozielska, Louis Stiens and Jean Christophe Blavier.
Anderson has also been instrumental in his dancers and choreographers moving on to directorial positions. During his tenure seven of his former dancers and choreographers have become directors of the following companies: Korean National Ballet, Zurich Ballet, Czech National Ballet, Augsburg Ballet, West Australian Ballet, Ballet du Rhin (France), Ballet im Revier Gelsenkirchen and Gauthier Dance.
Reid Anderson has also been enriching the Stuttgart Ballet's repertoire by adding acclaimed works by famous choreographers such as George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Frederick Ashton, Glen Tetley, John Neumeier, Hans van Manen, William Forsythe, Uwe Scholz, Jean Christophe Maillot, Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, Daniela Kurz and James Kudelka.
In addition to premiering newly created works and strengthening the repertoire in the field of modern classics and contemporary choreography, Anderson keeps the flame of John Cranko's legacy alight in the Stuttgart Ballet's programme. Both at home in the Stuttgart Opera House and on worldwide tours, the company has been performing Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew and Onegin to sold-out houses. Since the beginning of his time as Artistic Director, Reid Anderson and the company have undertaken extended and exceedingly successful tours to New York, San Francisco and other cities in the USA; Peking, Hong Kong, Shanghai and other Chinese cities; the South Korean capital Seoul; Tokyo, Osaka and other Japanese cities; Bangkok and Singapore; Palermo, Turin and other cities in Italy; Cairo, Madrid, Paris, London and Moscow.
In 1984 Anderson staged and produced Onegin for the National Ballet of Canada, a production which was broadcast on television in 1986 and was nominated for an Emmy Award.
Reid Anderson travels frequently in order to stage Cranko's masterpieces with famous ballet companies all over the world; these include the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, the Royal Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet, Australian Ballet in Melbourne, the State Ballet of Berlin, the Hamburg Ballet, the La Scala Opera Ballet in Milan, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Boston Ballet, the Opera Ballet company of Rome, the Norwegian National Ballet, the Ballet of the Vienna State Opera and the Chinese National Ballet in Peking.
In February 2006 Reid Anderson was awarded the German Dance Prize 2006 for his contribution to the dance art form in Germany. By honouring him in this way, the German Professional Association for Dance Education and the Society for the Promotion of Dance Art in Germany acknowledged Reid Anderson's efforts in continuing Cranko's legacy at the Stuttgart Ballet and his considerable contribution to promoting new talent and establishing a clear repertoire policy. In February 2006 the readers of the popular dance magazine "Dance Europe" voted Reid Anderson "Director of the Year". In April 2009 Reid Anderson received the Medal of Merit of Baden-Württemberg. In 2011 the Stuttgart Ballet under the direction of Reid Anderson was elected "Company of the year" in the annual international critics survey of the renowned magazine tanz.