Jason Reilly, Principal Dancer and “Kammertaenzer” of the Stuttgart Ballet, celebrates his 25th anniversary as a member of the company in the 2022/23 season. Due, among other things, to his immense repertoire of leading roles, he has become one of the most outstanding dancers of his generation. A source of inspiration for numerous renowned choreographers, he has performed in over 40 world premieres, some in leading roles created especially for him.
Reilly, who came to Stuttgart from his native Canada at the age of 17, made his first appearance on the stage of the Stuttgart Opera House on October 4, 1997: in the corps de ballet of John Cranko’s Onegin. Since then, Reilly, who was appointed to Principal Dancer in 2003, has developed into one of the most extraordinary artists in the recent history of the Stuttgart Ballet. No other male principal of the last 25 years has danced such a broad repertoire. Whether noble prince in Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, self-absorbed duke in Giselle, doomed Crown Prince Rudolf in Mayerling, tender lover in The Lady of the Camellias, sunny peasant boy in La fille mal gardée, dashing Basilio in Don Qujiote, proud but insecure general in Othello, androgynous Carabosse in The Sleeping Beauty or brutal rapist in A Streetcar named Desire, ice-cold Jack the Ripper in Lulu. A monster tragedy, and avenging murderer in I Fratelli – Reilly’s versatility knew no bounds. Above all, his interpretations of the three main roles in John Cranko’s great ballets – impetuous, radiant Romeo, irresistible macho Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew or the narcissistic, arrogant title character in Onegin – have made Reilly one of the most important interpreters of these roles in the last decade. Not only his acting abilities, but above all his outstanding qualities as a partner, allow him a rarely found security on stage.
From the very beginning of his career, he was chosen by choreographers – among them Mauro Bigonzetti, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Edward Clug, Jorma Elo, Itzik Galili, Douglas Lee, Wayne McGregor and Christian Spuck – who created major roles for him in their world premieres. To date, he has danced in 41 world premieres; if one adds his (volunteer) involvement in the Noverre Society’s “Young Choreographers Evenings,” there are over 55. In 2008, Kevin O’Day created the title role in his full-length Hamlet for him. In addition, Reilly has danced leading roles in works by the most important choreographers of the 20th century, such as George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Kenneth MacMillan, Glen Tetley, Hans van Manen, Maurice Béjart, John Neumeier, Jiri Kylian and William Forsythe. He has appeared as a guest artist with the Royal Ballet in London, the Joffrey Ballet Chicago, the Staatsballett Berlin, the National Ballet of Canada, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Finnish National Ballet, the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and the Teatro di Verona, among others as well as at numerous international galas. Last but not least, he has been delighting ballet audiences world-wide for 25 years during the Stuttgart Ballet’s international tours – including in Tokyo, Moscow, Singapore, Bangkok, Madrid, Hong Kong, Paris, Seoul, London, Cairo, Beijing and Shanghai.
In 2015, in recognition of his contributions to the Stuttgart Ballet and the Staatstheater Stuttgart respectively, he was appointed “Kammertaenzer”. With this honorary title, the State of Baden-Württemberg recognizes the special achievements and merits of a dancer. It is an honor rarely bestowed, as only seven other dancers in Stuttgart have received this distinction since the title was established in 1961.
In the spring/summer of 2023, Reilly will dance two of his signature roles, including Petrucchio in The Taming of the Shrew and the title role in Onegin as well as lead roles in Jiri Kylian’s One of a Kind, John Cranko’s Initials R.B.M.E. and Kenneth MacMillan’s Requiem. Last but not least, he will portray dancer Ray Barra in a feature film (Zeitsprung Pictures) about John Cranko’s life and work. For Barra, John Cranko created the roles of Romeo and Onegin, among others. Filming took place in the spring of 2023; the film is expected to be released in German cinemas in 2024.