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James Sewell, founder and Artistic Director of the James Sewell Ballet Company in Minneapolis, has been named Artistic Adviser for the Reif Dance Company. He has begun working with Reif Dance instructors on what is expected to be a unique, long-term partnership with the James Sewell Ballet Company. This Partnership is unique certainly within the state of Minnesota and possibly the nation, as one of the first ever to pair a prestigious, professional, and metro-based company with a rural dance school. As Artistic Adviser, James works alongside Reif Dance instructors, providing insight for the program’s direction and development. The partnership also includes regular workshops and on-site visits in Grand Rapids by James Sewell, new choreography set on our Reif Dance Company, performances by James Sewell and the James Sewell Ballet Company on the Reif Stage and much more. In addition, our dancers will travel to Minneapolis for performances and workshops multiple times each year. We are especially proud of the bridges we are building with the James Sewell Ballet Company and the opportunities we are creating for our dancers.
(Co-Founder, Artistic Director, and Choreographer of JSB)
A Minneapolis native, Mr. Sewell moved to New York and studied at the School of American Ballet with David Howard, and began performing with ABT II. He was a lead dancer with Feld Ballets/NY for six years and has performed as a guest artist with the New York City Ballet, Zvi Gottheiner and Dancers, and Denishawn. He has choreographed more than 70 ballets for companies in the United States and around the world. Projects include the New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, the New York State Council on the Arts grant to create “Independence In Dependence” for Feld Ballets/NY; “Aida” (1998) for the Minnesota Opera and 11 other opera companies; James Sewell Ballet’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” (1995); “Musical Toys” (1996) and “Nutcracker: The Untold Story” (1997) for the Minnesota Orchestra; and “She Loves Me” (2005) and “1776” (2007) for the Guthrie Theater. James also has received commissions, including “Schoenberg Serenade” (2006) and “Passions” (1998), a work with composer Augusta Read Thomas, for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; “Metamorphosis” (2004) for the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus; “Awedville” (2004) for the Wharton Center for Performing Arts in East Lansing, Michigan; and “Turf” (2006) for the Minnesota Orchestra.
Mr. Sewell received a Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship (2002), a Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography from the Choo-San Goh & H. Robert Magee Foundation (2006), and a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreography (2007). He is a past trustee of Dance/USA and a past director of the American Composer’s Forum.