James Kudelka

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James Kudelka, OC, (born at Newmarket, Ontario on September 10, 1955), is a choreographer, dancer, and director. He was the artistic director for the National Ballet of Canada from 1996 to 2005, now serving as the National Ballet's artist in residence.

His first reworking of a major Russian classic was The Nutcracker, for the National Ballet in 1995. The production's success led Kudelka to be appointed artistic director after Reid Anderson resigned due to frustration over government funding cuts.

In 1998, principal dancer Kimberley Glasco launched a wrongful dismissal suit against the National Ballet of Canada after Kudelka dropped her from the company roster. Allegedly, Glasco had questioned the allocation of funds for Kudelka's version of Swan Lake. In arbitration, Kudelka was ordered to reinstate the ballerina, which he refused to do for the spring season, and he threatened to quit. Company sources who spoke on condition of anonymity then claimed that Glasco turned down performances for the fall season, as the company had become a hostile environment to her. The protracted lawsuit concluded in July 2000 with an out-of-court settlement. A joint statement was issued to mitigate the bad press, and the ballerina is reported to have received damages in the neighborhood of a million Canadian dollars, a sum apparently leaked to the press by the Glasco camp, although the settlement was made privately and the National would describe the figure only as "substantial."

He resigned as artistic director in 2005, being succeeded by retired ballet dancer and artistic associate Karen Kain. He was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada the same year.

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