Magazine article Dance Magazine

Kirk Peterson Fired in Downsizing

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Kirk Peterson Fired in Downsizing

Article excerpt

HARTFORD, Connecticut--Hartford Ballet's board of directors fired forty-eight-year-old artistic director Kirk Peterson on May 11, little more than a week after his triumphant staging of The Sleeping Beauty closed. The dance company cited budget overruns and quickly announced that Enid Lynn and Peggy Lyman, head of the Hartford Ballet school and its B.F.A. program respectively, would take the reins as coartistic directors.

"The Hartford Ballet under Kirk Peterson reached national artistic heights," board president Branko Terzic said only a week before the dismissal, as rumors swirled about the future direction of the company. "Unfortunately, we don't have the budget to reach an international level."

Let go along with Peterson, in what amounts to a downsizing of the company, were ballet master Raymond Lukens and rehearsal assistant and dance teacher Maria Youskevitch, two of Peterson's collaborators during his five-year artistic reign. In addition, the number of principal dancers next season has been nearly halved, from twenty-three to twelve, while the number of apprentices and trainees has been reduced from ten to a maximum of nine. The firing--Peterson was asked to resign and then dismissed when he refused--caused shock waves in the dance world, where Peterson has a reputation as a hardworking (he premiered four ballets at Hartford last season, including two full-length works) and stylish choreographer.

"What you had in Hartford was a unique situation," said Michael Smuin, director of Smuin Ballets/SF. …

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