Ronald Bates was born in Forth Smith, Arkansas in 1932. He studied set design at Los Angeles City College and initially worked as a stage manager for Lincoln Kirstein’s opera productions. In 1957, he joined the New York City Ballet as a production manager and became technical director of the New York State Theater. As the light designer of the New York City Ballet, he was one of the closest artistic partners of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins and, as their technical production manager, he supervised the staging of many works of the two choreographers at companies worldwide. Ronald Bates died in 1986.