Bruce Simpson joined Louisville Ballet in 2002, bringing with him over 30 years of experience in the international ballet world. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Mr. Simpson studied at the Scottish Ballet School, making his professional debut with Scottish Opera. Upon joining the Wuppertal Dance Company, he toured throughout Germany and Belgium. In 1970, he joined South Africa’s State Theatre Ballet (previously known as the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal), which became his home for the next 30 years. After his promotion to principal dancer in 1975, he performed an extensive repertory specializing in the great classical roles, including Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, La Fille Mal Gardée, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cinderella and La Sylphide. He danced leading roles in The Three Musketeers, Anna Karenina and Soft Blue Shadows by André Prokovsky; The Merry Widow, Rosalinda and Papillon by Ronald Hynd; Don Quixote by Rudolf Nureyev; and The Taming of the Shrew by John Cranko.
Appointed Ballet Master in 1983 and Senior Ballet Master in 1985, Mr. Simpson continued to perform with State Theatre Ballet until his retirement from the stage in 1999. He was also repetiteur, teacher and coach, refining productions of the Company’s repertoire of over 60 ballets. He has worked with some of the greatest dancers of our time, including Natalia Makarova, Sir Antony Dowell, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Ivan Nagy and Sir Fredrick Ashton. Mr. Simpson has been a guest of the major dance companies and schools throughout the world.
In 2000, he was invited to lead Texas Ballet Theater, where he was commissioned to create new productions of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Mr. Simpson was on the jury at The USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Miss., in 2006 and 2010.
Mr. Simpson served for twelve years as Artistic Director of Louisville Ballet. During his tenure, Louisville Ballet brought 33 new works into the company and commissioned fifteen world premieres from choreographers including Helen Pickett, Adam Hougland, Amy Seiwert, Graham Lustig and Val Caniparoli, and in December 2009, the Company debuted an all-new production of The Brown-Forman Nutcracker choreographed by Val Caniparoli with costume and scenic design by Peter Cazalet.