Ángel Corella On His Plans for Pennsylvania Ballet

September 30, 2014

This story originally appeared in the October/November 2014 issue of

“That was fast” is an understatement. In July, after only two months of searching, Pennsylvania Ballet announced Ángel Corella—a longtime star of American Ballet Theatre who recently directed his own company, the Barcelona Ballet in Spain—as its new artistic director. Corella spoke with Pointe about his future plans.

What drew you to Pennsylvania Ballet?

I was familiar with PAB, since my sister and her ex-husband used to dance here. I’ve always admired the talent in the company and their great repertoire. Since dissolving Barcelona Ballet, I’d been thinking about coming back to the States to direct a company, and PAB was one of the first that came to mind. Funny enough, a few months later, the position opened.

Do you plan on making changes right away?

I’ll ease into it. I don’t plan on changing the structure because I think it’s already a great company with a very clear look. What I will do is inject it with the passion and love that I have for dance.

What do you look for in a dancer?

The main things are passion, a willingness to work and trust. There’s nothing worse than a dancer completely blocked and closed to change, because they won’t go where you want to take them.

Are there any choreographers you want to bring in?

I would love to have Christopher Wheeldon, Justin Peck, Liam Scarlett, Wayne McGregor, Édouard Lock, Sol León and Paul Lightfoot. Matthew Neenan is our resident choreographer, and I want to continue that relationship. I also want to search for new choreographers within the company and around the nation.

What did you learn from your experience in Spain?

Companies here don’t have much support from the government, but at least people can donate to the arts in exchange for a tax deduction. In Spain, there’s no other way to fundraise besides asking the government for help, and they gave us minimal support. Sometimes I sewed costumes because we didn’t have people to do it, so I’m very aware of everything that goes on in a company.