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Mr. Nelson joined California Ballet last season as a Guest Artist, Stager, Choreographer, and Principal Dancer. Since his retirement from The Washington Ballet in 2015, he has been staging and creating ballets for several companies around the country, both on his own and as an assistant for former Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre. During California Ballet’s 2015-2016 48th Season, Mr. Nelson staged The Great Gatsby, choreographed three new ballets (Ruled by Secrecy, Work Song, Samson et Delila), and assisted California Ballet artistic staff with the training of the resident company of professional dancers.
Professional Dance Career: Mr. Nelson was raised in Yuba City, California. He trained in many forms of dance and began dancing professionally at the age of 14 with the Sacramento Music Circus. He joined The Sacramento Ballet in 1991, where he rose through the ranks to Principal Dancer. Mr. Nelson had the honor of having original works such as Hamlet, The Rite of Spring, A Street Car Named Desire and Bolero created for him by Artistic Director Ron Cunningham. While with Sacramento Ballet, Mr. Nelson choreographed and premiered his original ballet, Jump Jive at the age of 19, which currently holds Sacramento Ballet’s record for longest standing ovation. He has danced leads in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, George Balanchine’s Prodigal Son and many more ballets. In 2004 he began dancing for The Boston Ballet and performed Lucentio in John Cranko’s Taming of the Shrew and William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated. After joining The Washington Ballet in 2006, Mr. Nelson danced works by Nacho Duato, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Choo-San Goh, and Antony Tudor. He has danced lead roles in many of Septime Webre’s original works including The Great Gatsby, ALICE (in Wonderland), Cinderella, and Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises. Upon his retirement from The Washington Ballet in 2015, Mr. Nelson appeared as a regular Guest Artist with California Ballet throughout the 2015-2016 48th Season, where he danced the title role in The Great Gatsby, the Cavalier and Snow King in The Nutcracker, Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, as well as appearing in his own original works staged for California Ballet.