RICHMOND BALLET TO PERFORM AT 2015 ‘MEET IN BEIJING’ FESTIVAL
RICHMOND, Va – Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is pleased to announce that Richmond Ballet, The State Ballet of Virginia, has accepted an invitation to perform at the 15th Annual ‘Meet in Beijing’ Arts Festival in Beijing, China at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in May of 2015. The trip will mark the Ballet’s first journey to Asia, and the organization’s second international tour, following a successful run at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre in London, England in June of 2012. The Ballet’s Road to China initiative will also include a series of cultural exchange programs that plans to celebrate Chinese culture in the United States throughout the 2014-15 season, and will foster further economic ties between China and the United States.
“The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long-standing, productive, and mutually beneficial relationship with China, one built solidly on the economic pillars of trade and investment,” said Governor McAuliffe. “China is already the largest customer of Virginia’s agricultural and forestry products and one of our state’s largest trade partners. The country also is a top 15 global investor in Virginia. The Ballet’s Road to China initiative provides an opportunity to continue an open and collaborative dialogue that could set the stage for future partnerships between our two countries. This is exciting and promising for citizens of the Commonwealth and my administration.”
The announcement was made at the Virginia State Capitol in the honored company of dignitaries from Washington, D.C., including Mr. Lu Kang, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, the second highest ranking Chinese diplomat in the United States, and Ms. Li Hong, the Minister Counselor from the Embassy’s Office of Cultural Affairs, along with Richmond Ballet Artistic Director Stoner Winslett, Road to China co-chairs Selina Rainey and Pamela Reynolds, representatives from the Ballet’s Board, Richmond Ballet dancers and major supporters.
“On behalf of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Washington, DC, I am proud to officially welcome Richmond Ballet as one of the celebrated performers expected to take the stage for the 15th annual ‘Meet in Beijing’ Festival,” said Mr. Lu Kang. “Cultural exchanges such as the Road to China program advance mutual understanding and help substantiate the new model of major country relationship envisioned by President Xi Jinping and President Obama at their Sunnylands’ meeting last year. The Chinese Embassy encourages strengthened exchange and cooperation in all fields between Virginia and China and will do its best to provide assistance.”
For Ms. Winslett, the trip to China serves as an important opportunity for furthering the Ballet’s vision, which charges the organization with embracing the hope of “[transforming] our world through the unique and special power of dance”, and supporting the creation of compassionate global communities that come about through cooperation and the shared experiences of participating in the uplifting and empowering art form of dance.
The spirit of the Ballet’s trip to China is also meant to echo the beliefs of dancer-choreographer Ted Shawn, who wrote that dance was a meaningful universal language, with ‘the power to promote One World.’ “Dance removes the barriers of our spoken language, and rather tells its story though the universal language of movement and music, existing above words, and well above the strife that fills our world today. As art, dance – pure and good – holds a special and unique power to uplift our souls and remind us of our great potential, which includes a tremendous capacity for understanding, collaboration and respect, all of which we hope to facilitate and inspire in our relationships with the Chinese people,” Ms. Winslett added.
The Ballet’s year-long Road to China programs, which will celebrate Chinese culture in the United States throughout the 2014-15 Season, include many facets including the arrival of two guest artists from the world-renowned National Ballet of China who will share the stage with Richmond Ballet dancers during the company’s February performances of Don Quixote. ‘China’ will also be the theme for the Ballet’s community outreach program, Minds In Motion, in both Richmond and Charlottesville. Additionally, Richmond Ballet plans to schedule a series of events designed to encourage diverse communities across Virginia to become more engaged in movement, dance and Richmond Ballet. This series will include the organization’s annual gala scheduled for February 28, 2015, which will honor the Chinese New Year.
Slated to dance at one of the world’s preeminent performing arts institutions in Beijing’s National Centre for The Performing Arts, known as ‘The Egg’, Richmond Ballet plans to present its celebrated program Made in The USA: Traditions and Innovations as part of the international festival. The mixed repertory program includes works by legendary choreographer George Balanchine, American master John Butler, contemporary choreographer Val Caniparoli and the work of Chinese-American, Ma Cong, and marks a departure from the full-length ballets usually performed for Chinese audiences. “It is an honor for the Ballet to perform these moving and treasured works – two works of enduring value and two works commissioned by Richmond Ballet – in China,” said Ms. Winslett. “We believe that our mission, which inspires and directs all of our work, will have tremendous meaning within a country that is beginning to create new and open relationships with nations across the globe.”
Richmond Ballet plans to tour outside of Beijing, with currently developing opportunities to perform in other major Chinese cities. Choreographer Ma Cong is currently scheduled to travel with the company to China. “I think Ma Cong is very talented, and I am so proud to be able to present his work in his home country,” added Ms. Winslett.
“This represents an exciting new horizon for us here at the Ballet,” said Ms. Winslett. “The chance to explore a fascinating interesting culture, so historic and majestic, and of course so different from our own, is an opportunity I know our dancers cherish. I am so proud to take first steps along this Road to China, as we seek to share the power of dance and its special ability to communicate and connect our souls when words fail us.”
Made in The USA: Traditions & Innovations Program Listing
Valse Fantaisie | Choreography by George Balanchine | Music by Mikhail Glinka
After Eden | Choreography by John Butler | Music by Lee Hoiby
Ershter Vals | Choreography by Ma Cong | Music by Klezroym (commissioned by Richmond Ballet)
Swipe | Choreography by Val Caniparoli | Music by Gabriel Prokofiev (commissioned by Richmond Ballet)
Now celebrating its 30th professional season, Richmond Ballet is known today as one of the nation’s leading mid-size ballet companies. Under the direction of longtime artistic director Stoner Winslett, Richmond Ballet is recognized both nationally and internationally for the strength of its dancers and for its culture of cultivating new ballets while preserving classic traditions. The Ballet’s founding mission, to awaken and uplift the human spirit, both for audiences and artists, continues to be infused in all three of the Ballet’s areas of focus, including its professional company, its school, and its community outreach program, Minds In Motion.
Reaching over 100,000 people annually throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, and more across the nation, Richmond Ballet maintains a standard of excellence in performance, a standard that was recognized in 1990 when the ballet was proclaimed the State Ballet of Virginia. The Ballet maintains an expansive repertory that includes full-length classics as well as 59 original works from 20 choreographers from around the world and nine ballets choreographed by Ms. Winslett herself. The organization operates from a state-of-the-art training and performance center on Canal Street, developed in 2000 under the direction of Ms. Winslett and the Ballet’s Board. Since the 1990s, Richmond Ballet has sought to expand its reach, performing not only across the Commonwealth but also in major cities around the United States. With appearances at the Joyce Theatre in New York City and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C, Richmond Ballet has performed in some of the nation’s preeminent performing arts houses. The Company made its international debut in London in 2012, in a highly acclaimed run at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre, and is slated to travel to China in the spring of 2015.