After a comprehensive international search, the Board of Directors of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) announced today the appointment of Adam W. McKinney as artistic director. He will be the company’s seventh artistic director in its rich 54-year-history. McKinney, PBT’s first artistic director of color, will begin his role in March 2023.
“We are thrilled to welcome Adam W. McKinney as Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s next artistic director,” said President and Board Chair Mary McKinney Flaherty. “After an extensive search, expertly led by search committee chairs Dr. Melonie Nance and Rich Beaty and guided by PBT’s historical strengths and established strategic goals, Adam became the clear choice to lead PBT’s next era. We believe Adam will be a transformative artistic director for our organization and leader in our community and throughout the world of ballet.”
McKinney has a diverse and accomplished background in arts leadership across the globe, having served as an arts organization director, tenured professor, choreographer, dancer, educator and activist. He is a gifted teacher of classical ballet whose expertise lies in creating environments that support the training and development of artists. He will continue in the legacy of his predecessors by centering classical ballet repertoire as well as introducing new contemporary works and choreographers to Pittsburgh audiences. He strongly believes in building community connections and in making dance accessible to everyone.
“I am honored and excited to lead PBT into a new era as its seventh artistic director,” said McKinney. “Internally, I most look forward to building upon PBT’s significant ballet legacy by curating meaningful and innovative season programming, working with and mentoring company artists and PBT School students and developing relationships with the PBT staff. Many have prepared PBT and me for this moment, which I do not take lightly. Together we have an extraordinary opportunity to build PBT and Pittsburgh’s arts and culture ecology. Externally, I am moved to meet the people of Pittsburgh. Under my leadership, I will work to develop relationships in and with the broader communities to ensure that all people know that they are welcome and belong at PBT.”
“We are so excited to welcome Adam to PBT,” stated Acting Executive Director Kathryn Gigler. “He brings with him incredible creativity, energy and kindness and his leadership is going to have such a positive impact at PBT and in Pittsburgh.”
McKinney joins the ranks of PBT’s distinguished artistic directors, including founding artistic director Nikolas Petrov; Patricia Wilde, who from 1982 to 1996 invigorated the company with the works of contemporary choreographers; Terrence S. Orr, who led the company from 1997 to 2020, and elevated its repertoire through artistic vision and creative collaboration; and Susan Jaffe, whose tenure from 2020 to 2022 included launching the Open Air outdoor ballet series and spearheading digital programming, including the award-winning Fireside Nutcracker. McKinney succeeds Jaffe, now artistic director at American Ballet Theatre.
Adam W. McKinney has a diverse and accomplished background in arts leadership across the globe, having served as an arts organization director, tenured professor, choreographer, dancer, educator and activist. McKinney was most recently an Associate Professor of Dance in Ballet with tenure in the School for Classical & Contemporary Dance at Texas Christian University. There he taught courses in classical ballet, modern dance and choreography. He was the Co-Director/Co-Founder of DNAWORKS, an arts and service organization committed to healing through the arts and dialogue. Previously, he was the inaugural Dance Department Chair at New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe.