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The Nutcracker

Ballet Wichita Hires High-Profile Dancer to Direct, Create Shows

Ballet Wichita on Wednesday announced it has hired Alex Ossadnik as its new artistic director.

The position had been vacant since longtime artistic director Jill Landrith retired in 2017.  Last winter, Ballet Wichita brought in a pair of New York dancers who created a “New Nutcracker” for the company.  It was met with mixed reviews in the community.

Ossadnik, who spent the past 10 years as ballet master for Ballet Idaho, made it clear he will be staging a traditional “Nutcracker” this winter.

“It will be classical and magical, as much as I can do,” said Ossadnik, who was born in what was then East Germany and who retains his German accent.  “It should be very enjoyable without any extra agendas or political messages.”

Ossadnik was a principal dancer with the German National Theater from 1987 to 1991, after which he danced in France with the Ballet Theatre de Bordeaux from 1991 to 1995.

Since moving to the United States in 1995, he has worked with various companies across the country and maintains a relationship with the Balanchine Trust, one of the most prestigious ballet organizations around.

Paul Boos, a stager at the Balanchine Trust, recently expressed enthusiasm for Ballet Wichita’s hiring of Ossadnik.

“The rousing news of Alex Ossadnik’s recent appointment as leader and artistic director of Ballet Wichita is a clear and wise step forward into an incisive bright future,” Boos wrote in an email. “Alex’s ballet pedigree will truly energize Wichita’s dance community.”

Ossadnik said he has “big plans” to expand Ballet Wichita’s offerings but wouldn’t say more because they haven’t been board-approved yet.

“I definitely want us to be out there very, very frequently,” he said.

Ossadnik has choreographed the classics, including “Coppelia,” “Nutcracker,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Swan Lake.”  He has also created original full-length ballets of “Alice in Wonderland,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Wizard of Oz” and, most recently, “The Little Mermaid.”

Ossadnik said he specializes in building ballet programs and is looking forward to doing that in Wichita.

“All the pieces are in place — it has a good history and it seems to be really recognized in the community,” he said.

Auditions for Ballet Wichita’s upcoming season will be held Aug. 25 at Wichita State University’s Heskett Center.

Ballet Wichita’s new artistic director Alex Ossadnik works with Executive Director Sandy Wolter at Reverie Coffee Roasters.

By Matt Riedl
The Wichita Eagle
Original Article