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Announcing New Artistic Director for BalletNova
Laveen Naidu, from Dance Theatre of Harlem, Named as New Artistic Leader
Mr. Naidu succeeds Nancie Woods who, after a 25 year tenure with the organization, accepted a position as the Director of the Margaret de Barbieri Conservatory of the Sarasota Ballet at the end of June 2015.
Laveen Naidu was born in Durban, South Africa, and began studying South Indian classical dance at the age of 10 and classical ballet at age 14. He entered the University of Cape Town Ballet School on a full scholarship in 1986 and graduated with a diploma in ballet performance and pedagogy. While a student, Mr. Naidu became the first dance teacher in a project started by David Poole, then artistic director of the Cape Performing Arts Board (CAPAB) Ballet, designed to introduce young people in the nearby “black townships” to ballet.
Immediately upon his graduation, Mr. Naidu was accepted into the CAPAB Ballet Company and was featured in many soloist roles before receiving a scholarship from the Dance Theatre of Harlem School. In 1992 he joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company and toured internationally. He has also appeared as guest soloist and teacher with several companies among them Cynthia Gregory’s Gala Ballet USA, Lubbock Ballet Theater, Dallas Opera, The Maryland Ballet and the University of Cape Town. He has been featured in works by Arthur Mitchell, George Balanchine, Marius Petipa, Alvin Ailey, Robert Garland, Garth Fagan, Michael Smuin and other well-known choreographers.
Following his performing career, Mr. Naidu led the DTH School and education programs including groundbreaking programs with the Royal Ballet in London and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. During his tenure Mr. Naidu chaired the faculty, taught extensively, choreographed and mounted several performances while developing a number of innovative arts educations programs and increasing enrollment by 20 percent. Simultaneously, he directed the performing arm of the DTH school and built a robust pipeline of talent for DTH and other professional companies.
Mr. Naidu’s choreographic credits include: Viraa and South African Suite commissioned by DTH, Bullfight commissioned by the J.F. Kennedy Center and several other works. In addition, Mr. Naidu served as Adjunct
Dance Professor and choreographer at Barnard College and panelist at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
In December 2004, Mr. Naidu was appointed to the position of executive director for Dance Theatre of Harlem. He is credited as being part of the leadership team that turned DTH around, reviving the professional Company after financial crises forced their hiatus for nine years. Mr. Naidu completed professional leadership development programs at both the Columbia University School of Business and Harvard Business School.
Now, Mr. Naidu is pleased to be returning to his ballet roots as the Artistic Director for BalletNova. His tenure begins on Monday, August 31, 2015.
For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact info@BalletNova.org or call 703-778-3008.
BalletNova Center for Dance, founded in 1981, is dedicated to educating and mentoring dancers in a positive, nurturing environment and preserving the traditions of classical ballet through quality dance productions and education. Formerly Arlington Center for Dance/The Center Dance Company, the organization moved to a beautiful six-studio 20,800 square foot state-of-the-
BalletNova is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization supported in part by the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs Division of Arlington Economic Development, the Arlington Commission for the Arts, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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Caroline Frankil Warren