A key figure in the international cultural network, Antonio Gnecchi Ruscone is a producer, organiser, agent, talent scout and consultant who has been involved in the world of dance for almost thirty years.
He began studying dance at the age of 17. Having moved to England at 13 to continue his high school studies in Surrey, at the age of 18 he received a scholarship from the Legat School of Dance in Sussex. Upon returning to Italy, he attended advanced courses with Liliana Cosi and Marinel Stefanescu as well as at the Teatro Romolo Valli in Reggio Emilia, and shortly afterwards joined Carla Fracci’s company for a number of seasons.
He was 24 years old when he decided to leave the stage, making an important career move to achieve professional fulfillment in the performing arts and combine his love of dance and music with his organizational skills. He decided to put these skills at the disposal of artists with whom he began working as a consultant, agent and organizer. He became assistant to Joe Wishy, the documentary filmmaker of cultural programs for C.B.S. working at Polivideo in Locarno. During several trips to Japan and the United States he came into contact with other key players from the world ballet scene, including Alessandra Ferri, Patricia McBride, Jiri Kylian, Maurice Béjart and the very young David Parsons and Daniel Ezralow, with whom he formed an artistic partnership and friendship that has lasted to this day.
Those were the years in which he began to cultivate another artistic interest: that of drawing and sculpting bodies in motion. “Drawing is a warm-up exercise before transferring into material form that primordial and innate human need to move in space”.
In 1986 he set up his first exhibition in Milan and, with the proceeds from the sales of his works, he founded the AGR Associati agency. He created and organized classical, contemporary, experimental dance productions, as well as special events for theater and television, all enjoying great prestige and appeal both in Italy and abroad. For the very first time he brought to Italy some of the most interesting, innovative companies on the international scene. Thanks to his invaluable work and commitment, in a short time AGR became a trademark that is synonymous with shows of outstanding quality. Marking AGR’s ascent in the world of the performing arts are key figures and prominent companies, such as Roland Petit Ballet de Marseille, American Ballet Theatre, the St. Petersburg Marinsky Theatre and the London Royal Ballet, as well as cult names in contemporary dance, such as Matthew Bourne, Stephen Petronio, Tero Saarinen, DV8, Michael Clark, Martha Clarke, all of whom, as a result, began drawing large audiences in Italy too.
In the early ’90s he established a professional relationship and lasting friendship, with the legendary Mikhail Baryshnikov. In 1993 he organized many his tour with the ‘White Oak Dance Project’, the modern dance company Baryshnikov co-founded with Mark Morris; in 1997 he brought “Una Serata di Musica e Danza” to prestigious Italian theatres, a show in which Baryshnikov was the sole performer with the ‘White Oak Chamber Ensemble’ – on this occasion Mikhail Baryshnikov made his first, and only, appearance on the stage of La Scala Opera House in Milan; in 2018, with his new company Art Works Production, Antonio Gnecchi Ruscone, for the first time in Italy, presented the theatre piece ‘Brodsky/Baryshnikov’ (directed by Alvis Hermanis).
In 2019, commissioned by Antonio Gnecchi Ruscone for the Winter Festival in Sochi (under the artistic direction of Yuri Bashmet) was the performance work “A Night with Sergio Bernal”, international flamenco star.