Bridget Breiner is an award-winning choreographer whose innovative works have blended ballet and opera, European and American sensibilities, and classical and contemporary dance vocabulary. Her most notable work draws on fairy tales, artwork, history and theater, and transforms them into multimedia experiences that expand the conventions of ballet.
She grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where she received her early dance training at the BalletMet Dance Academy. She completed her training at the Heinz-Bosl-Stiftung in Munich and subsequently joined the Bavarian State Ballet in 1992 under the direction of Konstanze Vernon. In 1996 she joined the Stuttgart Ballet under the direction of Reid Anderson and quickly became one of the company’s most celebrated dancers, being promoted to Principal in 2001. From 2006 to 2008 she danced with the Semperoper Ballet in Dresden under the direction of Aaron Watkin, and was a regular guest artist with the Stuttgart Ballet until 2011.
Her dance repertoire includes dramatic and classical leading roles in the repertoire of John Cranko (Romeo and Juliet, Onegin, Swan Lake) and John Neumeier (Lady of the Camellias, A Streetcar Named Desire), as well as intensive work in the neoclassical/contemporary repertoire of Jerome Robbins, Glen Tetley, William Forsythe, George Balanchine, Jiří Kylián and Hans van Manen. Her dramatic stage presence has inspired a wide range of leading choreographers to create roles for her, including Christian Spuck, Douglas Lee, Kevin O’Day, Mauro Bigonzetti, Cathy Marston and David Dawson.
In 2005 Ms. Breiner made her choreographic debut in the prestigious “Young Choreographers” evening of the Stuttgart-based Noverre Society, and her work thereafter quickly gained acclaim. In 2007 she took on a daunting creative challenge in the choreography of Zeitsprünge, an evening that merged dance and art in the exhibition spaces of the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, created for students of the John Cranko School. The piece highlighted the works of Willi Baumeister and gained great critical acclaim. She has since created works for the Stuttgart Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Latvian National Ballet, Kevin O’Day-Ballet Mannheim, Ballet Augsburg, and the Salzburg State Theatre.
In 2011 Ms. Breiner was invited to choreograph and direct Großstadt-Triptychon, a collaboration between the opera and dance companies of the Musiktheater im Revier Gelsenkirchen. One year later she was appointed artistic director of that theater’s newly formed ballet company Ballett im Revier, a company of 14 international dancers. Her first full-length story ballet for the company – Ruß – Eine Geschichte von Aschenputtel (Soot, a retelling of the Cinderella tale) – received Germany’s most prestigious theatre award “Der FAUST” for “Best Choreography” in 2013. She followed this success with new choreography for On the Town, Swan Lake, and The Tragedies of Othello. Another dance-opera collaboration, Charlotte Salomon: Der Tod und die Malerin (Death and the Painter) with commissioned score by composer Michelle DiBucci, received wide critical acclaim and again brought her the “FAUST” award in 2015.
In 2016 Ms. Breiner was invited to the Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen, one of Europe’s oldest theatre festivals. Her creation there – Prosperos Insel (Prospero’s Island) – a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, was immediately taken into the company’s repertoire. In 2017, she created her first full-length symphonic ballet, The Vital Unrest, including Camille Saint-Saëns’ Third Symphony and a commissioned work by Latvian composer Georgs Pelēcis. In 2018 she worked with two of the world’s most famous ballet-subjects and scores, The Firebird for Les Grandes Ballets Canadiens, and Romeo and Juliet which was staged with her own company, Ballet im Revier Gelsenkirchen.
In September 2019 Bridget Breiner stepped into the position of artistic director of the Badisches Staatsballett Karlsruhe.