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Ronald Bates (1932 - 1986) was an American ballet lighting designer, particularly for the New York City Ballet.
Bates was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1932. He studied scenic design at Los Angeles City College after serving in the Navy. He worked as a stage manager while still in college and after two years of doing so in California, came to New York and worked in that capacity on opera production for Lincoln Kirstein, City Ballet's co-founder.
Bates began working for New York City Ballet in 1957 as production stage manager.
After working at the Stratford, Connecticut Mozart and Shakespeare Festivals, and for the NBC Opera Company in New York City, he joined NYCB at Kirstein's invitation and remained as production stage manager for over 20 years. His duties as included planning and executing the technical aspects of staging the ballets at the New York State Theater, of which he was also technical director. He was also for the transportation of lights and scenery and for the production of ballets at the company's summer home in Saratoga Springs and on tour, both stateside and overseas.
Bates was resident lighting designer for City Ballet and a close collaborator with founding balletmaster (and co-founder) George Balanchine and co-founding balletmaster Jerome Robbins. He was an authority on dance floors and stage floor construction  and renovated the Palm Beach Auditorium for the Palm Beach Festival. He travelled internationally to direct technical production and reproduce his lighting designs for NYCB productions staged by other companies, especially at the Zurich Ballet, where former NYCB principal dancer Patricia Neary was artistic director.