Founded in 1966, Alberta Ballet has grown from a regional touring company into the leading ballet company in Alberta, and one of Canada’s most admired. Its mission is to inspire the next generation of dancers and audiences with exceptional new works and revolutionary ways of performing. With a vision to ignite creativity, inspire excellence, and foster a lifelong love for dance through innovative performances, rigorous training, and inclusive education, Alberta Ballet seeks to enrich the cultural fabric of our community and beyond.
Alberta Ballet delights and inspires its audiences, selling over 100,000 tickets annually in both Calgary and Edmonton pre-COVID. In its nearly 60-year history, the company has connected audiences with world-class live dance, gaining national and international recognition for its exciting and varied repertoire, as well as the extraordinary talent and creativity of its artists. The organization also includes an internationally renowned ballet training institution, the Alberta Ballet School (the School), which has trained current and future generations of dancers.
The company stages classical masterpieces alongside exciting contemporary works, celebrating the legacy of ballet while embracing the future of the art form. The company has brought to the stage critically acclaimed works in collaboration with Joni Mitchell, Sarah McLachlan, and k.d. lang, as well as performances honoring the works and lives of Elton John, Gordon Lightfoot, the Tragically Hip, and David Bowie. As part of its current strategic plan, Alberta Ballet aims to energize programming through curating new works, which speak to the diversity of the audiences in Alberta while featuring creations from some of the world’s most talented choreographers. This varied repertoire results in five to seven shows each season. In 2022, Alberta Ballet hosted Complexions Contemporary Ballet with ‘Woke’ and ‘Love Rocks’, set to the music of Lenny Kravitz, and the 2023-2024 season includes an adaptation of the Shakespearian tragedy Hamlet performed by the Beijing Dance Theatre, as well as a piece about the life of Eva “Evita” Peron performed by Ballet Hispánico. In addition to these offerings, the season also includes Alberta Ballet productions of the timeless classical pieces Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Hansel & Gretel, and Der Wolf & The Rite of Spring.
Performances in Calgary and Edmonton take place at the iconic Southern and Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditoria, Alberta’s premier performing arts centres with seating capacities that each house up to 2,500 people. The Artistic Director has a unique opportunity to create, inspire dancers and grow audiences across Alberta. Alberta Ballet is committed to enriching the dance ecosystem throughout Alberta, serving over 1,000 students each year through its recreational dance studios in Calgary and Edmonton as well as delivering access to performances and programs in smaller communities throughout Alberta as well, including Grande Prairie, Red Deer, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, and Camrose.
Alberta Ballet School is a prestigious ballet training institution that nurtures and cultivates young talent from around the world to develop the next generation of professional artists. With a strong emphasis on classical ballet training, it provides a supportive and disciplined environment for aspiring dancers to hone their skills and serves as a pipeline for emerging professionals to work with the Company. The School serves grades 7-12 (Alberta secondary curriculum), including private, on-site academics, while a two-year post graduate program provides advanced training once students have completed high school. In collaboration between Alberta Ballet and the School, an additional one-year Alberta Ballet Trainee Program exists to attract top level dancers on the verge of successful careers. The School offers a full residence program and attracts many national and international students. Currently, 30% of the Alberta Ballet dancers are alumni of the School, and recent graduates have gone on to join companies like Hong Kong Ballet, National Ballet of Spain (Compania Nacional De Danza), Japan National Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet, Ballet BC, and Ballet Dortmund in Germany.
Alberta Ballet is governed by a 16-member Board of Directors, comprised of community and business leaders across Alberta, and led by Board Chair Daryl S. Fridhandler. Chris George has served as President and CEO since 2018 and previously led the School. For the fiscal year ending August 31, 2023, Alberta Ballet anticipates total revenues of $17 million with $7.1 million from performances, $3.2 in grants, $5.3 million in tuition and school residences, and $1.4 in fundraising.
Alberta has a population of approximately 4.7 million, the fourth largest of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories. Known for its stunning natural beauty, vibrant cities, and thriving economy, the province has a rich Indigenous heritage with about 8% of the population identifying as First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. The cities of Calgary (population 1.6 million) and Edmonton (population 1.5 million) boast a high standard of living and an array of amenities that make them attractive destination for residents and visitors alike.
Calgary is a thriving business hub, particularly in the oil and gas industry, as well as in the technology, finance, and healthcare sectors. The city offers a plethora of recreational options and green spaces. With the Rocky Mountains only a short drive away, outdoor enthusiasts can easily access hiking trails, skiing resorts, and breathtaking landscapes. Additionally, the city boasts an extensive pathway system that promotes cycling, jogging, and walking, making it easy for residents to maintain an active lifestyle. The city is home to several world-class universities, colleges, and schools, providing access to top-notch education and fostering a culture of learning and innovation.
Calgary's art and culture scene is a vibrant tapestry of creativity, offering a diverse array of organizations that enrich the city's cultural landscape. The Glenbow Museum stands as a prominent institution, housing extensive collections of art, history, and Indigenous artifacts. The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra mesmerizes audiences with its world-class musical performances, while Calgary Opera, Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, One Yellow Rabbit, Vertigo, and others stage compelling theatrical productions. The Contemporary Calgary showcases modern and experimental art, and the Esker Foundation hosts contemporary exhibitions. Additionally, the Calgary Folk Music Festival and Calgary International Film Festival are annual celebrations that bring the community together in appreciation of arts and culture.
Alberta’s capital city, Edmonton, is a dynamic business center and the hub of government services and is fortunate to have seven post-secondary institutions that focus on many sectors like artificial intelligence, health technology, and the new hydrogen economy. Edmonton is diverse, values volunteerism, an exciting cultural scene, and is known as Festival City for its major events like the 10-day Taste of Edmonton event and the International Fringe Festival. A vibrant downtown core with the Citadel Theatre, Art Gallery of Alberta, the Winspear Centre and resident Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Alberta Museum showcase local and international talent, while smaller theatres and music venues across Edmonton celebrate creativity. Edmonton's parks, like the River Valley, provide natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Residents can enjoy world-class dining, shopping, and entertainment, contributing to a well-rounded lifestyle.
Sources: Calgary.ca; calgaryartsdevelopment.com; Edmonton.ca; expatincanada.com
Reporting to the Board of Directors alongside the President and CEO, the Artistic Director will be responsible for conceiving, developing, and implementing a dynamic, creative, and exciting artistic vision, that resonates with audiences and maximizes ticket sales. Serving as the organization’s public face and spokesperson, they will be an active community presence, cultivating and deepening relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, while activating the organization’s growth and reputation locally, nationally, and internationally. The Artistic Director will provide inspirational leadership, fostering strong collaborations across all areas of the organization. They will ensure that all artistic decisions are made in alignment with the organization’s mission, vision, and values.
Roles and Responsibilities
Artistic Vision and Planning
- Conceive, plan, and develop a recognizable artistic identity for Alberta Ballet, translating that vision into high quality performances and inspirational season programs that translates to increased ticket sales.
- Hire, develop, and manage diverse artistic, production, and support staff including dancers, designers, technical staff, choreographers, and other artists.
- Provide oversight to the production department working closely with the Technical Director on season production planning to ensure alignment with artistic vision & programming, technical scheduling, and execution.
- Lead, mentor, and coach dancers, production staff, and teachers to support creative development, career planning, and injury prevention, as well as enable goal setting and performance evaluation.
- Maintain a presence in the studio by directing, teaching, and coaching in rehearsals, as well as periodically in educational activities, to ensure continuity and vibrancy of Alberta Ballet and its School.
- Contribute to strategic and business plans in collaboration with the President and CEO, Board of Directors, and School Director.
- Partner with the President and CEO and development staff to ensure that all artistic information needed for grant applications and reports to funders, including government agencies, foundations and corporations are inspiring and completed in a timely manner.
- Collaborate with the School Director to inspire staff and students and develop a continuum of professional development opportunities for young dancers.
- Oversee the scheduling of all rehearsals and performance activities.
- Embrace other artistic vision and planning responsibilities, as required.
Community Engagement and Donor Relations
- Personify the brand, image, and reputation of Alberta Ballet through speaking engagements and advice to the marketing team.
- Build active and positive relationships among artistic peers in Alberta, Canada and beyond.
- Maintain authentic relationships with the Board of Directors, donors, and sponsors in supporting organizational fundraising and public visibility goals.
- Elevate the artistic mission and vision of Alberta Ballet through the media to a wide array of stakeholders, as well as to the public by serving as a visible and inspiring spokesperson for the artistic work and dance education.
- Support the President and CEO and development department in meeting contributed revenue and government grant goals, which includes enthusiastically contributing to donor relations, fundraising campaigns (including the Alberta Ballet Foundation), and program messaging efforts.
- Embrace other community engagement and donor relations responsibilities, as required.
Organizational and Financial Leadership
- Propose and manage realistic budgets and targets in relation to artistic operations that ensure the financial vitality of artistic works and organizational health.
- Evaluate artistic quality, team, and individual employee performance with integrity and care, participating in labour relations conversations, as needed.
- Foster inter-departmental collaboration and strong relationships with the School, development, marketing, and finance.
- Exemplify a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the approach to artistic work and professional conduct.
- Develop and maintain a positive and productive working relationship with the President and CEO, School Director, and entire senior management team.
- Embrace other organizational and financial leadership responsibilities, as required.
Traits and Characteristics
Embodying an outward facing persona that exudes a natural passion for dance and engaging audiences, donors, and other stakeholders, the Artistic Director will comfortably interact with a diverse range of people, building rapport and developing new relationships. An assertive, decisive, and adaptive leader, they will be driven by new ideas, methods, and opportunities. Demonstrating passion, optimism, and loyalty, the Artistic Director will strive to adapt to situational demands, sharing responsibility with the team for successes, and will maximize their talent, energy, and resources to achieve organizational success.
Other key competencies include:
- Leadership and Teamwork – The capacity to organize and influence people to believe in a vision while creating a sense of purpose and direction, as well as cooperating with others to meet objectives.
- Customer Focus and Personal Accountability – The sensitivity to anticipate, meet, and exceed needs, wants, and expectations while being answerable for personal and professional actions.
- Project, Time, and Priority Management – The dexterity to identify and oversee resources, tasks, systems, and people that inspire desired outcomes within allotted time frames.
- Resiliency – The ability to quickly recover from adversity with grace and a positive attitude.
Alberta Ballet does not require any specific educational credentials or a set number of years of experience. Qualified candidates should demonstrate experience with artistic leadership, programming, community engagement, and building relationships with funders, donors, audience members, and the media. It is desirable that the successful candidate be an accomplished choreographer of new works that will excite audiences and enhance the organization’s reputation. A commitment to dance education is critical.
Compensation and Benefits
Alberta Ballet provides a competitive and equitable compensation package with a salary estimated to be in the range of $175,000 to $225,000 CAD. Benefits include paid vacation, sick, and flex days; medical, dental, and life insurance coverage; and an employee savings plan, either in RRSP or TFSA, along with an employer match of 5%. Employees receive an annual health spending, as well as wellness, allowances.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter, resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/opensearches. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
Bruce D. Thibodeau, President
Geoff Chang, Vice President
1811 4th Street SW, Suite 523
Calgary, Alberta T2S 1W2
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201 (Dr. Thibodeau) Ext. 218 (Chang)
Alberta Ballet is committed to an inclusive workplace culture. This includes valuing diversity in our workforce, providing a safe work environment, and fostering a culture of belonging. We believe that a workplace with equal opportunity employment fosters creativity and strengthens connections to the communities we serve.
Alberta Ballet respects and honours the Treaties made throughout Turtle Island.
Alberta Ballet's work extends across Treaties 6, 7 and 8. These are territories of the Siksika, Piikani and Kainai, the Tsuut’ina First Nation, the Stoney Nakoda, the Cree, Dene, Blackfoot, Saulteaux, Nakota Sioux, Sicannie, Slavey and Dunnesa. These territories are also the homeland of the Métis Nation of Alberta, including the Métis Settlements. We recognize the genocide and colonization endured by Indigenous peoples and are committed to working in partnership with Indigenous communities toward justice, equity, and reconciliation.