Get to Know Stephen Galloway

Stephen Galloway by Dominik Mentzos

Stephen Galloway

Photo credit: Dominik Mentzos

Stephen Galloway: Dancer. Costume Designer. Creative Movement Director…and now Choreographer for Boston Ballet.

Stephen Galloway

Photo credit: Joe Hume

Stephen Galloway

Photo credit: Inez Vinoodh

Stephen Galloway

Photo credit: Joe Hume

Stephen Galloway

Photo credit: Inez Vinoodh

Early years: Stephen Galloway began dancing in his living room with his Aunt Melba to Soul Train and Prince. He was formally introduced to dance at age ten when a production at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center in his hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania needed boys strong enough to lift the female dancers.

Galloway began his ballet training at 13 in a small school in his hometown. A few years later at 17 he left the United States and travelled to Germany to audition for Ballet Frankfurt with a grant from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. It was at Ballet Frankfurt that he met William Forsythe, the company’s new director who mused that the young dancer “should be in college studying” but still hired him. Galloway quickly rose to become a principal dancer within a few years.

Stephen Galloway by Inez Vinoodh

Stephen Galloway

Photo credit: Inez Vinoodh

The school of life: The 25 years that Galloway spent with Forsythe at Ballet Frankfurt opened new opportunities beyond dancing. As his mentor, Forsythe recognized that Galloway knew the necessary costume design for dancers to move comfortably on stage. At his request Galloway began designing the costumes for a four-person piece that soon “ballooned into a full-length ballet with three acts and 260 costumes.”

Galloway’s proclivity towards fashion was apparent from childhood. He staged fashion shows in his grandfather’s backyard, drew inspiration from his grandmothers and great-grandmothers who were seamstresses, and delved into the always healthy supply of Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar in his home. This love of fashion manifested in the costumes he designed for the Kirov Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera Ballet, La Scala, and Ballet Frankfurt, where he earned the title Head Costume Designer and Style Coordinator in 2000.

From costumes to couture: Soon it wasn’t only ballet companies that wanted to capitalize on Galloway’s talents. He worked with Gianni Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Costume National to collaborate on costumes, oversee runway productions, or serve as creative director, as he did for Issey Miyake from 1993–1997. During this time he was still dancing and designing costumes for Ballet Frankfurt.

As Galloway’s lives in dance and fashion blended together he was recommended to The Rolling Stones by a mutual friend to help choreograph some steps for Mick Jagger. This arrangement transformed into Galloway touring with the Stones for more than a decade as their Creative Movement Director, a position he affectionately dubbed “lips and hips for Mick Jagger.” His role was to supercharge Jagger’s essence on stage by providing him with a catalogue of steps to pull from while performing.

See his work: Boston Ballet recently collaborated with Stephen Galloway for the video “Move Beyond the Ordinary” in advance of his world premiere in May 2020. The Peter Lindbergh-style video draws from his vast talents as choreographer, creative director, and costume designer to transform dancers Derek Dunn, Seo Hye Han, Viktorina Kapitonova, Chyrstyn Fentroy and Daniel Durrett into fashion muses.
 

Off the Charts

See Galloway's work in Off the Charts

The illusion we create is intended to deepen your understanding of reality.

Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director
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