Daniil Simkin, a principal dancer with American Ballet Theater, will join the Staatsballett Berlin in September 2018. Mr. Simkin, 29, who was born in Russia, but grew up in Germany, will retain his position at Ballet Theater, but will be based in Berlin.
The Staatsballett, formed after the reunification of Germany, consolidated three Berlin ballet companies, and is the only major classical dance ensemble in the country. The company has come under fire in recent years, initially for hiring the contemporary choreographer Nacho Duato as its artistic director in 2014, and again when it announced last year that Sasha Waltz, a Berlin-based contemporary choreographer, and Johannes Öhman, the current director of the Royal Swedish Ballet, would take over the artistic helm in 2018-19. (Mr. Öhman begins in 2018, Ms. Waltz in 2019.)
Mr. Simkin, who this week presented “Falls the Shadow” in the Guggenheim’s rotunda, said in an interview that he was excited about the incoming directors’ vision for the company. “I am first and foremost a classical dancer, and I think the fact that I am joining is a sign of their intention to respect the classical tradition,” he said, adding that Alexei Ratmansky, who has been Ballet Theater’s artist in residence since 2009, will create a new “La Bayadère” on the Berlin company in the 2018-19 season. Mr. Simkin said he hoped to dance in works by Mats Ek, William Forsythe, Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin and other choreographers whose work is less frequently performed in the United States.
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