The Alabama School of Fine Arts is pleased to announce that Wes Chapman, international classical ballet teacher, coach and répétiteur, is joining our Department of Dance as Permanent Guest Artist in Residence. Mr. Chapman will be on campus teaching for extended periods each school year and will also represent the ASFA Dance Department at dance festivals and summer dance intensives throughout the country.
A native of Union Springs, Alabama, Chapman graduated from Alabama School of Fine Arts in 1983 with the Duane Dushion Award and the Prix d’Excellence de Danse Award. After dancing for Alabama Ballet for one season Chapman joined American Ballet Theatre (ABT) 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.
In 1996, Chapman was named Artistic Director of Alabama Ballet. During his leadership, the company grew from 16 to 44 professional and apprentice dancers. He also founded the Alabama Ballet School, the apprentice pre-professional training program, Alabama Ballet Summer Program and Gorham’s Bluff- Summer Residency. Mr. Chapman returned to ABT as ballet master in 2006. He served as Artistic Director of ABT II from 2007-2011.
Mr. Chapman has visited ASFA many times as a guest artist over the years. He describes his desire to make his relationship with the school more permanent as a feeling of “coming full circle” and looks forward to passing on to young dancers now in the program his lifetime of experience in the professional dance world. David Keener, Department of Dance Chair, says, “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Wes on a regular basis. His talent and perspective will be of immeasurable value to our students.”