James Ady started dancing when he was 15 in Clinton, Iowa before attending the North Carolina School for the Arts. After graduating from NCSA, he trained at the San Francisco Ballet School before joining Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia where he danced numerous lead roles before leaving in 2002 to join American Ballet Theatre. While with ABT, he performed in Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, Romeo and Juliet, La Fille Mal Gardee, and toured nationally and internationally with the company. During his time with ABT, he worked with Lar Lubovitch, Natalia Makarova, Stanton Welch, James Kudelka, Georgina Parkinson and David Parsons. James returned to Pennsylvania Ballet in 2003 as a soloist and was promoted to principal dancer in 2005. Favorite leading roles include Romeo in John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, Albrecht in Giselle, Prince Siegfried in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, Colas in Sir Frederick Ashton’s La Fille Mal Gardee, the 3rd Sailor in Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free, and in numerous George Balanchine ballets including Agon, The Four Temperments, Slaughter on 10th Avenue, Valse Fantasy, Serenade, Ballo della Regina, Bugaku, and Concerto Barocco. After retiring in 2008, he graduated magna cum laude from Boise State University in 2012 with a degree in journalism.
After a tough decision as to whether or not pursue a career in journalism or the Four Seasons International Spa Training Program, where he had been working, he decided to accept an offer to become Ballet Master at Ballet Memphis. This position gave the opportunity to develop his pedagogy and combine multiple backgrounds of dance experience whilst teaching daily technique class for the company. While with Ballet Memphis, Ady set numerous ballets including The Nutcracker, Matthew Neenan’s Party of the Year, and Petr Zahradinek’s Day and Night in FedEx City. Ady enjoyed extensive touring with the company to multiple dance festivals in Saint Louis, Baltimore, Shreveport, and Kansas City; preparing many ballets such as Trey McIntyre’s In Dreams and Julia Adam’s Devils Fruit.
Being able to teach and share his varied background of dance and performing, Ady is excited to be a contributing member of the thriving arts and education communities at the University of Utah.