Jonathan Stafford is the Artistic Director of New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet. A former NYCB Principal Dancer, he retired from performing in May 2014 and was named one of NYCB’s Ballet Masters. In December 2017, he was appointed to lead NYCB’s interim artistic team and in February 2019, he was named Artistic Director of NYCB and SAB.
During his performing career with NYCB, Stafford performed an extensive repertory of leading roles in works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, and Christopher Wheeldon, and also originated featured roles in works by Mauro Bigonzetti and Alexei Ratmansky.
As an educator, Stafford served as a member of SAB’s guest faculty beginning in 2006 and joined the School’s permanent faculty in 2007. In 2015, he was named SAB’s first-ever Professional Placement Manager, a role created to assist students with the transition into their professional careers. Stafford also spearheaded a mentorship program which partners current NYCB dancers with new apprentices from SAB to help guide them through their first year with the Company. He graduated summa cum laude from the Fordham School of Professional and Continuing Studies with a B.A. in Organizational Leadership.
Born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Stafford studied at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet before first entering SAB in the summer of 1996. Named an NYCB apprentice in October 1998, Stafford joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in February 1999. He was promoted to the rank of Soloist in March of 2006 and became a Principal Dancer in May 2007.
Photo © Christopher Lane