The Kennedy Center

David Hallberg

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    David Hallberg: In Conversation with Michael Kaiser


Born in South Dakota, David Hallberg began his formal ballet training at the age of 13 with Kee Juan Han at the Arizona Ballet School, then continued his studies at the Paris Opera Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre's New York Summer Intensives.  He became a member of ABT's studio company in September 2000; joined American Ballet Theater in the corps de ballet in April 2001; promoted to soloist in January 2004 and principal dancer in May 2005. During his tenure at the institution, artist-in-residence Alexei Ratmansky has created four roles specifically for Mr. Hallberg in world premieres: On the Dnieper and Seven Sonatas in 2009, The Nutcracker in December 2010, and The Firebird in 2012.

In September 2011 Mr. Hallberg was the first American to be named premier dancer at Russia's renowned Bolshoi Ballet, dancing the role of The Prince in Sleeping Beauty for the company's inaugural performance in its newly renovated theater. He later appeared in a live telecast of the performance, which was streamed to theaters around the world. In addition to worldwide touring with both ABT and Bolshoi Ballet, Mr. Hallberg has also been a guest artist with the Mariinsky Ballet, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Kiev Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Opera di Roma, Georgian State Ballet, and The Australian Ballet.

Mr. Hallberg has partnered with numerous creative outlets as part of a broader mission to generate awareness of ballet by exploring avenues outside of dance. He has collaborated with iconic French fashion editor Carine  Roitfeld twice on her internationally-acclaimed publication CR Fashion Book, been shot by Annie Leibovitz for American Vogue, and most recently worked with the LVMH website NOWNESS on a short film with choreography by Marcelo Gomes and music by Ólafur Arnold. He has also been a guest on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, NPR's All Things Considered, PBS' NewsHour, and CBS Sunday Morning. Mr. Hallberg is the national spokesperson for Ballet in Cinema, which offers film screenings of ballet performances in nearly 400 North American theaters. Mr. Hallberg is the founder of the David Hallberg Scholarship, a program to mentor a young aspiring male student for a career in dance at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of American Ballet Theatre. He has also created The Innovation Initiative at ABT, which facilitates emerging choreographers in the field of dance. When referring to his own sources of inspiration, Hallberg cites figures as varied as Pina Bausch, Rem Koolhaas, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Raf Simons.

Mr. Hallberg is the recipient of numerous awards. In 2010 he won the Benois de la Danse Prize as best male dancer for his performance as Albrecht in Giselle with American Ballet Theatre. He also received the Princess Grace Fellowship and the Chris Hellman Dance Award for 2002-03 and was honored with the Rising Star Award from the Georgian State Ballet in 2010. Mr. Hallberg is pleased to return to the Kennedy Center, having previously performed at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2012.
David Hallberg