Entire contents are copyright © 2013 Arts-Louisville. All rights reserved

For 12 years his gentle but firm hand has guided one of Louisville’s keystone arts companies to stability and an unquestioned standard of excellence. But now Bruce Simpson is taking his distinctive dignity and personal style and stepping back from the limelight. The Louisville Ballet announced today that he will retire in July 2014 at the end of the current season. He has also served as the Company’s Interim Executive Director for the past three years. Simpson has met with Joel Stone, Louisville Ballet Board President, to outline a plan for a smooth transition.

A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Simpson spent 30 years as a principal dancer with South Africa’s State Theatre Ballet until his retirement from the stage in 1998. He joined Texas Ballet Theatre in 2000 as ballet master and was appointed Artistic Director of the Louisville Ballet in 2002. During his tenure with the Louisville Ballet, the Company has brought 33 new works into the company, including commissioning 15 of its 70 world-premieres from choreographers including Helen Pickett, Adam Hougland, Amy Seiwert, Graham Lustig and Val Caniparoli.

Simpson has seen the Ballet through several triumphs and challenges in the past decade with the Company, most recently in the 2009-2010 season when the company was faced with a significant financial challenge. Under his leadership as Interim Executive Director, the company has enjoyed two years of operating in the black.

About his decision, Mr. Simpson said, “It’s time. It has been an honor and privilege to have spent 12 wonderful years with this organization. There has been untold joy and satisfaction working with the talented and dedicated members of the Company, board and staff. I have been inspired daily by the enormous commitment, dedication and artistry of the dancers who bring such a wealth of creativity and depth to the performances that have enriched the community. I know that the entire organization is in a strong place and poised to continue into what, I am sure, will be an even brighter and inspiring future.”

“Bruce’s announcement is a bittersweet moment for the Louisville Ballet,” said Stone. “While we are extremely saddened to see him go, we are excited for him as he begins the next chapter of his life and brings his spirit, creativity, energy and passion to his future endeavors. The mark that he has left on the Company both as the Artistic Director for the past twelve years and interim Executive Director for the past few years has been positively indelible. As many can imagine, the Board of Trustees has a significant responsibility to find Bruce’s successor, but we all know that we will never be able to ‘replace’ Bruce. He is a one-of-a-kind talent and person. We wish our dear friend all the best!”