Statement of Responsibility:
Interviewer, Rose Anne Thom.
Interview with Kevin McKenzie conducted by Rose Anne Thom on Oct. 22, 2011 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in New York City, as part of the Speaking of Dancing Oral History Project.
Creation/production credits :
Video production and post-production, François Bernadi.
Interviewee, Kevin McKenzie.
Videotaped at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Oct. 22, 2011.
The recording of this interview was made possible by a gift from Anne H. Bass.
Kevin McKenzie, artistic director of American Ballet Theatre (ABT), is interviewed by Rose Anne Thom. McKenzie speaks about his early training in Washington, D.C. with Mary Day; his interest in narrative and character development rather than pure dancing; Day's philosophy of teaching; his decision to found the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (JKO) School at ABT, the school's purpose and his thoughts on the teaching of ballet in the U.S. He discusses his relationship with Maggie [Margaret] Black, who coached him; his first professional job, with the National Ballet of Washington; his initial efforts to join ABT; his time with the Joffrey Ballet; learning the role of Oberon in Frederick Ashton's The dream, and the impact of seeing Anthony Dowell dance the role; how he joined ABT. Returning to the subject of the JKO school, he speaks about the development of the school's curriculum; his partnerships with ballerinas, including Martine van Hamel, Natalia Makarova and Sylvia Guillem; the interpretation of abstract dance works; his first experiences choreographing. McKenzie relates anecdotes about working with Twyla Tharp on As time goes by and with Antony Tudor on Lilac garden; he speaks about how his performances of roles changed over time; his choreography for The nutcracker and Swan lake, and his interpretation of the story of Swan lake; and his thoughts about being an artistic director.