Orange County-based dance star Jodie Gates has left her position as the artistic director of the Cincinnati Ballet after barely more than a year at the helm. The surprise announcement on Sept. 22 was followed by another unexpected change: Scott Altman, the ballet’s president and CEO, announced Thursday that he is leaving the company to assume a similar position with the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
“I will tell you unequivocally that there is no correlation at all between the timing of these announcements – none whatsoever,” Altman told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “The position in Los Angeles is one I’ve been exploring for several months.”
In a written public statement, Gates said, “It has been an honor to program the 60th anniversary season and I am proud of the work we have done together to ensure the artistic growth of the company and the academy. However, at this time I wish to focus on choreographic projects, staging and teaching.”
Cervilio Miguel Amador, the ballet company’s rehearsal director, has been appointed interim artistic director. Amador was previously a Cincinnati Ballet principal dancer.
In a news release, the ballet said the board will take some time to find a permanent replacement and "then make an informed decision on how to proceed long term." No changes are planned to the season programming, according to the release.
Gates, who lives in Laguna Beach, founded the Laguna Dance Festival in 2005 and serves as its artistic director. Gates’ dance career included principal positions with the Joffrey Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Ballet Frankfurt. She was a faculty member in the dance department at UC Irvine before being chosen to lead the new Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at the University of Southern California, which opened in the fall of 2015. Gates started her position in Cincinnati in August 2022.