Robert Gardner joins Rochester City Ballet as Artistic Director after being the Minnesota Ballet’s Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer for over a decade. He began his career in Manhattan, training on scholarship at the School of American Ballet, then performing with the Eglevsky Ballet, the Joffrey II Dancers and Joffrey Ballet where he danced in the works of Frederick Ashton, Anthony Tudor, Ruthanna Boris, Choo San Goh, throughout the United States, as well as internationally. His career moved him west, where with the San Jose/Cleveland Ballet he danced principal and soloist roles in works by George Balanchine, Agnes De Mille, Lar Lubovitch, Jose’ Limon and many others. He appeared as a guest artist with the Houston Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, New York. His world dance experience has enriched his vision, choreography, and teaching. For the Minnesota Ballet, he choreographed over 40 works, including his original versions of “Sleeping Beauty,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Dracula,” “Firebird, and “Swan Lake,” described as a “lush dance epic.” His work has been hailed as having a, “meticulous use of contrasting imagery, emotions and energy that make each dance moment exquisitely unique,” and has been presented to acclaim nationally and internationally. He has choreographed for opera and orchestra, as well as musical theater, including “The Pirates of Penzance,” “Into the Woods,” and “Les Misérables.” His national connections have enabled him to bring masterworks by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Agnes DeMille, Anthony Tudor, and Salvatore Aiello to the companies he has led, as well as promoting emerging regional and national choreographers, composers, and designers. Mr. Gardner has received an Excellence in the Arts & Sciences Award from the Saint Louis County Board of Commissioners and the Lifetime Artist Award from the Depot Foundation. He received an American Composers Forum Award to create an original work with original score and has served as a grant panelist for the MN State Arts Board.