JOHN GARDNER was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he began his ballet training with Gwen Ashton. He continued his training at the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, Illinois under the direction of Micheal Maule. He received a scholarship to the American Ballet Theatre School Summer Intensive in 1977 and was invited to join the second company thereafter. In 1978 Mr. Gardner joined the main company of American Ballet Theatre and was promoted to the rank of Soloist in 1984. His repertoire included many Soloist and Principal roles and represented a broad range of styles which afforded him the opportunity to work with many of the master choreographers of that generation which included Antony Tudor, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Sir Kenneth Macmillan, Agnes DeMille, Martha Graham and Twyla Tharp.
In 1991 Mr. Gardner was invited to dance with Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project. He danced with the troupe for five years and worked closely with many acclaimed modern dance choreographers including Mark Morris, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Lar Lubovitch and David Gordon. He was created upon in numerous roles during his time with White Oak Dance Project and toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia. He returned to American Ballet Theatre in 1996 and continued to perform with the company until 2002.
After retiring from the stage Mr. Gardner began to pursue a career as a teacher and coach. His initial job was teaching in the graded level program at Ballet Academy East in New York City for three years. During this time, he also taught at various studios around the city, including Broadway Dance, where he had the privilege of working as a substitute teacher for the Master Teacher David Howard upon his request. Mr. Gardner has enjoyed his development as teacher, coach and choreographer over the years and has worked extensively at both the professional and student levels. He is a sanctioned repetiteur for the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust and is the Director of the Antony Tudor Dance Studies. He also stages the ballets of Agnes DeMille, Benjamin Millepied and Clark Tippet as well as the full length classics and has been invited to work in these many capacities for professional ballet companies and educational institutions around the world. Mr. Gardner is married to fellow dancer and repetiteur Amanda McKerrow and together have directed many workshops and summer intensives including “From Studio to Stage” at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford in 2016 and the Colorado Ballet Academy Summer Intensive from 2018 to 2021. He is currently a Guest Repetiteur for American Ballet Theatre.