February 2, 2022 – Boston-based search firm Arts Consulting Group (ACG) has been enlisted to find the next artistic director for the Charlotte Ballet in North Carolina. Vice president Geoff Chang is leading the assignment. Last summer, Hope Muir stepped down from the ballet’s artistic director role to accept the same position with the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto. Christopher Stuart, program director of Charlotte Ballet II and rehearsal director for the main company, has been serving as interim artistic director.
The Charlotte Ballet’s artistic director is charged with providing inspirational leadership and setting the organization’s artistic vision with a focus on collaboration and community engagement, said ACG. Through the curation of programming for all of Charlotte Ballet, the individual will highlight the work of a broad range of ballet and contemporary choreographers to provide performances that are exciting, varied, and cutting-edge.
Reporting to the board of trustees in a co-equal position with the executive director, the artistic director will be expected to serve as a public face and spokesperson for Charlotte Ballet, said the search firm. This individual must cultivate and deepen relationships by engaging with students, audiences, funders and community partners, activating the organization’s growth and reputation locally, nationally and internationally.
Establishing a Creative Vision
Key roles and responsibilities of the position include: artistic creativity and programming, community engagement and external relations, and organizational leadership and collaboration. Among other duties, the artistic director will be expected to conceive, plan and develop Charlotte Ballet’s artistic vision, clearly and passionately articulating that vision to dancers, staff, board, funders and audiences, said ACG. He or she must curate a robust and dynamic mix of programming on a 36-month rolling cycle that includes works from the classical ballet canon alongside modern and contemporary dance works.
Key competencies of this role include:
- Leadership and Diplomacy – The capacity to facilitate cooperation between groups or individuals, tactfully handle difficult or sensitive issues, treat all parties fairly regardless of personal biases or beliefs, and build positive and productive relationships through addressing organizational challenges.
- Personal Accountability – The credibility to meet the highest ethical standards in daily activity and in establishing relevant, realistic, and attainable artistic and financial goals to build trust in an atmosphere of transparency and honesty.
- Planning and Organizing – The dexterity to prioritize and complete tasks within allotted time frames while establishing courses of action to ensure that work is completed effectively.
- Teamwork and Resiliency – The ability to cooperate and collaborate with others to meet objectives while quickly adapting to unexpected circumstances.
Charlotte Ballet does not require any specific education credentials or a set number of years of experience, said ACG. Qualified candidates should demonstrate skills in artistic leadership, relationship building and community engagement. The successful candidate may or may not be an active choreographer but should possess a deep understanding of ballet and contemporary dance as well as broad connections within the dance field nationally and internationally. Deep knowledge of current trends within the dance sector is expected. Candidates should have experience working with a touring dance company and an ability to inspire dancers to perform at their highest level. Strong public speaking skills and a commitment to dance education are expected.
Founded in 1970, Charlotte Ballet is known for its strong dancers and versatile repertoire, ranging from classical ballet to bold, contemporary works. The company’s professional dancers annually present performances in Charlotte during a season spanning from October to May. Charlotte Ballet Academy trains 700 students annually and the company has nationally recognized educational and community programs. The ballet also operates the Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance in uptown Charlotte. The Center for Dance houses administrative and rehearsal spaces, as well as a 200-seat theater.
Arts and Culture Recruiters
Arts Consulting Group provides interim management, executive search, revenue enhancement consulting, facilities and program planning, and organizational development services for the arts and culture industry. The firm has identified senior-level leaders for the Long Beach Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Chicago Opera, Stockton Symphony Association and Portland Baroque Orchestra, among others. The firm has offices in Boston; Calgary; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Halifax; Los Angeles; Nashville, TN; New York; Portland, OR; San Francisco; Tampa, FL; Toronto; and Washington, D.C.
President Bruce D. Thibodeau founded ACG in 1997 and has been part of numerous projects in all practice areas to grow institutional sustainability, advance the arts and culture sector, and enhance communities served by the industry. Dr. Thibodeau has guided hundreds of non-profit, university and government clients in achieving effective leadership transitions, planning cultural facilities, increasing revenues, developing dynamic institutional brands and messages, crafting strategic plans and business models, and revitalizing board governance practices.
Mr. Chang joined ACG in 2020, bringing a rich background of experience within the arts and culture industries, specifically within the dance sector. Mr. Chang most recently served as general manager at the Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn, New York, where he produced performances at many of the world’s leading cultural venues and arts festivals.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media