Wes Chapman (born 1965) is the Artistic Director of the Alabama Ballet. He has accepted a one year contract to become ballet master for the American Ballet Theatre in New York and will officially step down after the 2006-07 season, though he expects to preserve some role with the company.
Chapman was born in 1965 in Union Springs and began his training with Emily Caruso at the Montgomery School of Ballet when he was 9. He graduated with honors from the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham. He performed with the American Ballet Theatre in the 1980s and 90s under Mikhail Baryshnikov, advancing to principal dancer in 1989.
In 1996 Chapman returned to Birmingham to replace Sonia Arova as director of the Alabama Ballet. He worked to improve the quality of the performers, the program, and the facilities of the Ballet, as well as its relationship with other arts groups in the city. He establishes a pre-professional training program and summer camp for ballet artists and oversaw the construction of the Ballet's 18,000 square foot studio on 1st Avenue South.
Chapmans ties to the ABT have created links between the programs, with ABT dancers performing with the Alabama Ballet and local dancers being accepted into the ABT company. With Chapman rejoining the ABT, that relationship would likely deepen.
Current principal choreographer and ballet master Roger Van Fleteren will likely take over the Artistic Director's role.
- Wes Chapman bio at alabamaballet.org
- Huebner, Michael. (April 20, 2006) "Alabama Ballet director going to American Ballet." Birmingham News.