Alexei Ratmansky & Myles Thatcher

At the Chris Hellman Center for Dance in San Francisco, Alexei Ratmansky spent hours studying his protégé’s new dance in order to understand the logic behind the movement.

At the Chris Hellman Center for Dance in San Francisco, Alexei Ratmansky spent hours studying his protégé’s new dance in order to understand the logic behind the movement.

Alexei Ratmansky and Myles Thatcher discovered they have similar beliefs about ballet, principally that it is a living, evolving art form, not something to admire simply for precision of movement.

Alexei Ratmansky and Myles Thatcher discovered they have similar beliefs about ballet, principally that it is a living, evolving art form, not something to admire simply for precision of movement.

A dancer at the Chis Hellman Center for Dance in San Francisco rehearses in front of Myles Thatcher (left) and Thatcher’s mentor Alexei Ratmansky.

A dancer at the Chis Hellman Center for Dance in San Francisco rehearses in front of Myles Thatcher (left) and Thatcher’s mentor Alexei Ratmansky.

Thatcher travelled to Munich to observe Ratmansky’s reconstruction of Paquita, for the Bavarian State Ballet.

Thatcher travelled to Munich to observe Ratmansky’s reconstruction of Paquita, for the Bavarian State Ballet.

“I think dancing is such an introspective and personal experience. It demands a completely different creative energy than choreographing,” says Thatcher.

“I think dancing is such an introspective and personal experience. It demands a completely different creative energy than choreographing,” says Thatcher.

Mentor Alexei Ratmansky (right) with protégé Myles Thatcher at the Chris Hellman Center for Dance in San Francisco where Ratmansky was taking his first look at a new ballet choreographed by Thatcher.

Mentor Alexei Ratmansky (right) with protégé Myles Thatcher at the Chris Hellman Center for Dance in San Francisco where Ratmansky was taking his first look at a new ballet choreographed by Thatcher.

Thatcher (right) directing dancers. Working with Ratmansky has allowed him to trust his natural inclinations.

Thatcher (right) directing dancers. Working with Ratmansky has allowed him to trust his natural inclinations.

When Ratmansky (left) and Thatcher were not in the same city, they kept in touch by email.

When Ratmansky (left) and Thatcher were not in the same city, they kept in touch by email.

Ratmansky spent hours sitting on the floor of a studio at San Francisco Ballet, watching the dancers rehearse a piece Thatcher was preparing for the ballet school. “I tried to be inside his mind, to look at things through his eyes,” he said.

Ratmansky spent hours sitting on the floor of a studio at San Francisco Ballet, watching the dancers rehearse a piece Thatcher was preparing for the ballet school. “I tried to be inside his mind, to look at things through his eyes,” he said.

Before the premiere of Thatcher’s Manifesto in San Francisco, Ratmansky gave Thatcher valuable feedback on this new work.

Before the premiere of Thatcher’s Manifesto in San Francisco, Ratmansky gave Thatcher valuable feedback on this new work.