2021/2022 SeasonArtistic Directors > Thordal Christensen

Thordal Christensen Artistic Director

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, Thordal Christensen trained at The Royal Danish Ballet School and at the School of American Ballet in New York before beginning his performance career with The Royal Danish Ballet. Later, he moved to New York City Ballet where he danced a varied repertoire, including the master works of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Martins. In 1986, he joined Pacific Northwest Ballet, and was quickly promoted to Principal Dancer. After being invited to rejoin the Royal Danish Ballet, Christensen emerged as a choreographer, and in 1999, he became one of the youngest Artistic Directors in the company’s history.


In 2002, Christensen was made Knight of the Dannebrog by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. 


After moving to Los Angeles in 2002, Christensen noticed the city’s lack of a professional resident ballet company. He drew on his extensive experience, and in 2004, he co-founded Los Angeles Ballet with his wife, Colleen Neary. The company debuted in 2006 with its original production of The Nutcracker, set in 1912 Los Angeles. It was presented in five theaters throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area. As Co-Artistic Directors, Christensen and Neary have steered the company through 15 seasons. They established multiple home venues, and built a repertoire of full-length classics, including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, and Don Quixote (also choreographed by Christensen and Neary).


In addition, Christensen has staged his version of August Bournonville’s La Sylphide and Napoli Act 3 for the company. Over 15 seasons, Los Angeles Ballet has increased audience attendance in its home venues with innovative programming, commissions of new choreography, and masterpieces by Balanchine, Bournonville, Kylián, Limon and others. Los Angeles Ballet tours throughout Los Angeles County, performing in Dolby Theatre, Royce Hall UCLA, Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, Alex Theatre in Glendale, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, and The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. 


Christensen’s commitment to dance education includes the Los Angeles Ballet School’s training of a new generation of dancers. Los Angeles Ballet’s community outreach programming comprises of Power of Performance (POP), which provides free tickets to those served by many Los Angeles area non-profits, and A Chance to Dance, which offers free dance education programming to members of the community. With the pandemic shutdown, A Chance to Dance continued to take place online, reaching thousands of participants and attracting dance enthusiasts from around the world.


In 2012 Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary received The Lifetime Achievement Award from the McCallum Theatre. In 2021/2022, Los Angeles Ballet presents its 16th Season.

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