Julia Alden Phillips
Nutcracker Artistic Director
Michael J Moore Photography
Alden Phillips was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where she began her dance training at the early age of 2. She started dancing in Tuscaloosa Community Dancers productions at the age of 8 and continued throughout her senior year of high school. As a young dancer, Alden toured with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular performing the role of "Clara". She was the 2012 Tuscaloosa County Distinguished Young Woman. Alden left Tuscaloosa to pursue her dance training at the State University of New York at Purchase where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance Performance and a minor in Arts Management. At Purchase, she had the privilege to perform works by George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Kimberly Bartosik, Sarah Mettin, John Heginbotham, Jason Parsons, and Claire Porter among others. She also performed at New York Live Arts for two seasons with the Purchase Dance Company. While training at Purchase, she spent her summers participating in programs such as San Francisco Conservatory and Impulstanz International Dance Festival in Vienna, Austria. She has danced with project-based company CBGDance in New York City and most recently toured with Odyssey Dance Theater in Utah for their "Thriller" production. In 2013, Alden was awarded the Druid Arts Award for Dance Artist. Missing her Tuscaloosa roots, Alden moved back to Alabama to pursue her passion for teaching and coaching dance. She is currently a dance instructor at Jackie O Neal School of Dance. She is excited to be back and working with Tuscaloosa Community Dancers, an organization that meant so much to her as a young dancer.
Wes Chapman - Artistic Consultant
International Classical Ballet Teacher, Coach & Répétiteur
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. Chapman is currently the Chair of the Alabama School of Fine Arts Department of Dance.