ACADEMY ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR – LOWER SCHOOL
Johanna Butow was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and began her dance training there with Irma Grant Millard. At age 13 she attended the Pennsylvania Ballet School, and at age 14 she entered the Joffrey Ballet School, receiving a full scholarship.
Ms. Butow’s professional career began at age 15 when she joined The Joffrey II as an apprentice. During the next four years she toured across the United States, performing roles in ballets by choreographers such as August Bournonville, Choo San Gogh, Marius Petipa, and Robert Joffrey. At age 19 she was asked to join the Joffrey Ballet to perform as the original Trepac in Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker.
During her six year career with the Joffrey Ballet, Ms. Butow performed major roles in such diverse ballets as Nijinsky’s L‚Apres-Midi D’un Faune, Nijinska’s Les Noces, Fokine’s Petrouchka, Gerald Arpino’s Light Rain, Trinity, and Suite Sainte Saens, Robert Joffrey’s Postcards and The Nutcracker, Laura Dean’s Light Field, and Eugene Loring’s Billy the Kid. She was in the cast of the Dance in America filming of Nijinsky’s Le Sacre Du Printemps, and was also an original cast member of the 1992 collaboration Billboards, with music by Prince.
In 1993, Ms. Butow joined American Ballet Theatre, where she danced for eight years. At ABT she has performed most of the major full-length classical ballets including Giselle, La Bayadère, Romeo and Juliet, Coppélia, and La Sylphide, with featured roles in The Merry Widow and Swan Lake. She was also a cast member of Lar Lubovitch’s original full-length Othello and Meadow.
Ms. Butow has also performed such repertory ballets as Antony Tudor’s Echoing of Trumpets, Gala Performance and Lilac Garden, Clark Tippet’s Bruch Violin Concerto, Kevin McKenzie’s Transcendental Etudes, Agnes DeMille’s Fall River Legend, Petipa’s Paquita, Fokine’s Les Sylphides, Lar Lubovitch’s A Brahms Symphony, and James Kudelka’s Cruel World. She has had featured roles in Agnes DeMille’s Rodeo and Antony Tudor’s Leaves Are Fading, and was in Twyla Tharp’s The Elements and an original cast member of Twyla Tharp’s How Near Heaven.
Her teaching credits include, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre’s Children’s division, Pre-Professional Division, Young Dancer Summer Workshop, and ABT’s Summer Intensive. Johanna is an ABT Affiliate Teacher and is certified in ABT’s National Training Curriculum Primary through Level 7. She serves on the Artistic Board of Examiners.
In December 2010 and 2011, Ms. Butow was ballet mistress of the children’s cast for Alexei Ratmansky’s new Nutcracker. In 2012, she staged the child children’s cast for their Kennedy Center’s performances. In 2016, she also staged the children’s cast performed at the Segrestrom Center.