Ballet AZ Blog

Letter from the Executive Director, Jami Kozemczak: The Legacy & Impact of Artistic Director Ib Andersen

In the world of ballet, legacy is measured not only in graceful movements on stage but in the enduring impact left on the organization and its community. Now, it is time to reflect on the legacy and impact of Artistic Director, Ib Andersen, and his remarkable 24-year tenure, that has resulted in a transformative journey for Ballet Arizona.

We recently reinvigorated our mission, vision, and values this year. The value put forward by Ib was tenacity. Of our six values, this one best represents our organization and that is the byproduct of his leadership. Ib is the very embodiment of that value and carries a tenacious spirit in his work and life.

Ib assumed the helm of Ballet Arizona in April 2000, inheriting a company teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Yet, armed with a vision fueled by passion, perseverance, and unwavering dedication to the art form, he embarked on a journey that would redefine this organization’s trajectory.

It is extraordinary to reflect on all Ib has achieved during his tenure. He built a company of talented dancers from around the world and a robust artistic repertoire, including his own choreographic works as well as rooting the company in the legacy of George Balanchine. Ten years ago, he built our new home on Washington which was just as much a metaphorical transformation as it was a physical transformation. Throughout the past decade, we have been able to grow our artistic footprint, our school, and our community engagement work.

Through Ib’s artistic brilliance, he orchestrated a turnaround that transcended financial challenges, propelling the company from the brink of collapse to becoming one of the most successful arts organizations in the state of Arizona.

At the heart of Ib’s legacy, lies an unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation. His choreographic prowess and creative vision have breathed new life into classical repertoire while championing contemporary works. With each production, he has elevated Ballet Arizona’s artistic caliber, captivating audiences and garnering critical acclaim both locally and internationally.

Beyond artistic achievements, Ib’s impact resonates deeply within the community. Through initiatives at the School of Ballet Arizona and outreach programs, he has nurtured the next generation of dancers and cultivated a love for ballet among diverse audiences. His commitment to accessibility and inclusivity has ensured that ballet remains a vibrant and integral part of Arizona’s cultural tapestry.

With gratitude, we extend our sincerest thanks to Ib and to all those who shared in his vision and offered unwavering support. Together, we honor his legacy and look forward to the continued growth of Ballet Arizona as it enters its next chapter. Ib’s indomitable spirit of innovation and commitment to excellence have been permanently imprinted on this company and our hearts.

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