James Kudelka, O.C.

James Kudelka Photo Credits

James Kudelka. Photo by Bruce Zinger.


James Kudelka is widely acknowledged as one of North America’s most innovative choreographers. His mastery of both classical ballet and modern, contemporary dance has earned him commissions from companies – some 25 in all – as stylistically diverse as American Ballet Theatre, Chicago’s Hubbard Street Dance and Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal. 

Even as a student at Canada’s National Ballet School, Mr. Kudelka demonstrated a choreographic interest in exploring innovative approaches. While adept in the classical ballet vocabulary, he infuses it with a contemporary sensibility acquired from his intense interest in modern movement idioms.

Mr. Kudelka’s work covers an impressive range, from virtuoso pas de deux, through large-scale and always arresting adaptations of such classics as Swan LakeThe Nutcracker and Cinderella, to boldly innovative creative collaborations with dancers, designers and musicians.

Mr. Kudelka has never been afraid to tackle psychologically challenging subject matter in his story ballets – he views dance as a primary medium of artistic discourse – and through his gift for movement metaphor infuses poetic, emotional meaning into his many non-narrative works.

After nine distinguished years as Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada (1996—2005), Mr. Kudelka continues to undertake collaborative projects that engage and challenge him as a choreographer.