A Minneapolis native, Mr. Sewell moved to New York and studied at the School of American Ballet with David Howard, and began performing with ABT II. He was a lead dancer with Feld Ballets/NY for six years and has performed as a guest artist with the New York City Ballet, Zvi Gottheiner and Dancers, and Denishawn. He has choreographed more than 70 ballets for companies in the United States and around the world. Projects include the New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, the New York State Council on the Arts grant to create “Independence In Dependence” for Feld Ballets/NY; “Aida” (1998) for the Minnesota Opera and 11 other opera companies; James Sewell Ballet’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” (1995); “Musical Toys” (1996) and “Nutcracker: The Untold Story” (1997) for the Minnesota Orchestra; and “She Loves Me” (2005) and “1776” (2007) for the Guthrie Theater. James also has received commissions, including “Schoenberg Serenade” (2006) and “Passions” (1998), a work with composer Augusta Read Thomas, for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; “Metamorphosis” (2004) for the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus; “Awedville” (2004) for the Wharton Center for Performing Arts and “Turf” (2006) for the Minnesota Orchestra.
Mr. Sewell received a Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship (2002), a Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography from the Choo-San Goh & H. Robert Magee Foundation (2006), and a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreography (2007). He is a past trustee of Dance/USA and a past director of the American Composer’s Forum.
James Sewell Ballet was founded in New York City by James Sewell and Sally Rousse and brought to Minnesota in 1993. Combining their expertise, vision and chutzpah they envisioned a close-knit company of dance artists willing to both challenge their physical limits and expand their notions about ballet. Nearly two decades later, critically acclaimed JSB performances move and delight audiences across the country. The embodiment of the original vision is a professional company of nine dancers performing innovative work that explores the technical boundaries of ballet.
Based in the Twin Cities, James Sewell Ballet studios are located at The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts in Downtown Minneapolis. Annual spring and fall JSB performances are currently presented at The Goodale Theater in The Cowles Center. JSB's annual cutting edge "Ballet Works Project," featuring new works by emerging and established choreographers, is presented at the JSB TEK BOX on the second floor of The Cowles Center.