Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Moving up at N.C. Dance Theatre

Sasha Janes, whose ballet version of "Dangerous Liaisons" recently capped off N.C. Dance Theatre's season, is being bumped up to the rank of associate artistic director. 

Janes is "a future leader," said artistic director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, who made the decision.

Janes, who joined NCDT as a dancer, became the company's rehearsal director as he wound down his performing career. With Bonnefoux's encouragement, he also moved into choreography. While the 50-minute "Dangerous Liaisons" was Janes' largest-scale work to date, Bonnefoux decided to elevate Janes before that was completed, he said.  

In his new role, Janes won't gain any specific new duties, Bonnefoux said. While he'll still be involved the studio, Bonnefoux wants him to reach beyond that -- "to be a part of the whole organization and to see how the whole thing functions, and help me with that." 

"I've seen him in all sorts of situations," Bonnefoux said. "He does very well under pressure. He does very well when he's given a project. ... He knows what he wants to do, and he knows how to accomplish it." 

As associate artistic director, Janes will have the same title as Patricia McBride. Having two people at that same rank isn't new: Jeri Kumery and McBride shared the title for several years after Bonnefoux and McBride came to NCDT. 
Janes will choreograph two new works next season. NCDT will also bring back his "Rhapsodic Dances," which it will take to the Kennedy Center in Washington for a dance festival in summer 2013. 

"I really like the way he works with our dancers," Bonnefoux said. "He creates such a nice atmosphere in rehearsal that people give him their best." 

Photo: Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez