WES CHAPMAN, CHAIR OF ALABAMA SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS’ DEPARTMENT OF DANCE
The Alabama School of Fine Arts is pleased to announce Wes Chapman as the new Chair of ASFA’s Department of Dance. Chapman’s career has come full circle, as he was a 1983 graduate of ASFA’s dance program.
A native of Union Springs, Alabama, Wes Chapman graduated in 1983 from the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and was awarded the Duane Dushion Award and the Prix d’excellence de Danse Award. After dancing for Alabama Ballet for one season, Chapman was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join American Ballet Theatre in 1984 as a member of the corps de ballet. He was promoted to Soloist in 1987 and to Principal Dancer in 1989. With ABT,
Chapman performed all the leading roles in the ballet repertoire and in works by many of the twentieth century’s master choreographers, including George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Jiri Kylian, Fredrick Ashton, Mats Ek, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Merce Cunningham and Antony Tudor. Chapman has appeared in Dance in America, the film Dancers and the documentary Ballet as well as numerous television shows and featured on national news broadcasts. In 1993, he joined the Bavarian National Ballet as a principal dancer before returning to ABT in 1995. Chapman appeared with Hamburg Ballet, English National Ballet, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and Finnish National Ballet as a guest star.
In 1996, Chapman was named Artistic Director of Alabama Ballet, and founded the Alabama Ballet School, the apprentice pre-professional training program. Chapman received the Distinguished Career Award from the University of Alabama in 1998, Birmingham Business Journal Top 40 Under 40 in 2004, named Alabama Arts Ambassador by Governor Bill Riley in 2007. Chapman returned to ABT as ballet master prior to being named Artistic Director of ABT II in 2007-2011. As a freelance artist,
Chapman oversees the ABT Summer Intensive at the University of Texas in Austin, is a regular judge for Youth America Grand Prix and Universal Ballet Competition, stages his own production of the Nutcracker in Costa Rica and is a guest teacher for Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet in the UK.