Atlanta Ballet’s Jonah Hooper retires

Jonah Hooper dancing in The Great Gatsby for Atlanta BalletIt’s that time of year when changes are underway at various U.S. dance companies, with many new dancers being welcomed, others being sent off, promotions being announced and artistic staff adjustments being made.


Atlanta Ballet has been in a major season of transition this summer, with longtime Artistic Director John McFall saying farewell, newly-appointed Director Gennadi Nedvigin beginning his leadership position, and three company dancers bidding adieu. (Goodbye Yoomi Kim, Benjamin Stone and Coco Mathieson!) Another departure is that of company veteran Jonah Hooper, who’s retiring after 17 seasons.


Hooper, hailing from the local Blue Ridge Mountains, first studied under former Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director Emeritus Robert Barnett at The Atlanta Ballet School. He then joined the professional company, dancing a variety of memorable roles in productions like Michael Pink’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dracula and Romeo & Juliet; Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly; and McFall and Laurie Stallings’ The Great Gatsby.


Other notable works for Hooper included Jorden Morris’ Moulin Rouge, McFall’s Don Quixote, Helen Pickett’s Petal and Prayer of Touch (the world premiere), and the world premiere of Gina Patterson’s Quietly Walking.


Now that he’s hanging up his dance shoes, Hooper will expand upon his already-existing photography business. He’ll continue to capture images for Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi (it’s contemporary summer troupe) and is interested in photographing dancers around the world.


Learn more about Atlanta Ballet’s upcoming 2016-17 Season at


Photo: Jonah Hooper with Courtney Necessary in John McFall and Lauri Stallings’ The Great Gatsby. Photo by Charlie McCullers.