Artistic Director of The Hong Kong Ballet attends Rural Retreat in the UK

Madeleine Onne, Artistic Director of The Hong Kong Ballet,
attends Rural Retreat in the UK

Dance East 2013 Rural Retreat
Dance East 2013 Rural Retreat

<Hong Kong – 9 January 2012> At the beginning of January 2013, The Hong Kong Ballet’s Madeleine Onne was one of 28 Artistic Directors from the world’s foremost dance companies who attended the 10th Rural Retreat for dance leaders. The event, hosted and organised by DanceEast in Ipswich, brought together renowned Artistic Directors from 17 nationalities, working for companies based in 18 countries. Collectively, they spanned the world – from Australasia to North America, from across Europe to Asia – providing an international perspective on the issues facing dance leaders today. (A full list of delegates and their companies is shown below).

2013 marks the tenth anniversary of DanceEast’s Rural Retreats which were founded by Assis Carreiro, when she was Artistic Director of DanceEast. Her vision was to establish think tanks to bring together artistic directors from the world of dance with leaders from business, sport and the wider arts. Assis was appointed Artistic Director of Royal Ballet of Flanders in 2012.

After a positive weekend of discussions during which delegates shared knowledge and concerns, and heard presentations from leaders working in the fields of sports management, psychology and opera, the Artistic Directors made the following group statement on Monday 7 January 2013 at a reception at the Royal Opera House in London:

“We gathered together to share intelligence towards the creation of a collaborative, not competitive culture between our dance companies.

In the face of economic challenges, this new generation of dance leaders allowed the relevance and impact of our art form to guide our conversation. We chose not to overly focus on the global economic difficulties affecting us all, but instead recognised the importance of concentrating on the development of dance as an art form to secure the ongoing and future success of the dance industry.

We are living in uncertain times, but we are assured of the universal impact and social value of dance.”

The Artistic Directors found that the expert speakers they heard affirmed the work already underway by dance companies to enhance and develop the working environments for dancers and staff, to enable their careers to flourish. They also acknowledged that the speakers planted seeds for new ways of thinking in dance company management.

Guest speakers included Sarah Weir, Chief Executive of The Legacy List, the charity dedicated to creating a sustainable future for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; Sir Peter Jonas, retired Intendant of the Bavarian State Opera and English National Opera; Dr Joan Duda, Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology at Birmingham University; and Aidy Boothroyd, Northampton Town football manager.

Five of the Artistic Directors who attended the 2013 Retreat were at the very first Rural Retreat organised by DanceEast in 2003. These were: David Nixon, Northern Ballet; Mark Baldwin, Rambert Dance Company; David McAllister, Australian Ballet; Mikko Nissinen, Boston Ballet; and Madeleine Onne, Hong Kong Ballet. They all acknowledged how much progress has been made in the leadership of dance companies over the last decade, characterised by a generosity of spirit, collegiate culture and genuine international collaboration and support. Also, they recognised the impact on dance leadership of the Rural Retreats as the first peer-led professional development opportunity for Artistic Directors of Dance Companies.

Artistic leaders attending the 2013 DanceEast Retreat:

Mark Baldwin, Rambert Dance Company (UK); Adolphe Binder, GöteborgsOperans DANSKOMPANI (Sweden); Assis Carreiro, Royal Ballet of Flanders (Belgium); Thomas Edur, Estonian National Ballet (Estonia); Christopher Hampson, Scottish Ballet (UK); Bruno Heynderickx, Carte Blanche (Norway); Nikolaj Hübbe,The Royal Danish Ballet (Denmark); Karen Kain, National Ballet of Canada (Canada); Andre Lewis, Royal Winnipeg Ballet (Canada); Paul Lightfoot, Netherlands Dance Theatre (Holland); Ingrid Lorentzen, Norwegian National Ballet (Norway); Cathy Marston, Bern Ballet (Switzerland); David McAllister, Australian Ballet (Australia); Mikko Nissinen, Boston Ballet (USA); David Nixon, Northern Ballet (UK), Kevin O’Hare, The Royal Ballet (UK); Johannes Ohmann, Royal Swedish Ballet (Sweden); Madeleine Onne, Hong Kong Ballet (Hong Kong); Krzysztof Pastor, Polish National Ballet (Poland); Zijiao Qu, Liaoning Ballet (China); Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet (UK); Slava Samodurov, Ekaterinburg Ballet (Russia); Janek Schergen, Singapore Dance Theatre (Singapore); Christian Spuck, Zurich Ballet (Switzerland); Christopher Stowell, Oregon Ballet Theatre (USA); Luisa Taveira, National Ballet of Portugal (Portugal); Aaron Watkin, Dresden – Semperoper (Germany); and Stanton Welch, Houston Ballet (USA).

The retreat discussions were facilitated by Jeanette Siddall, Freelance Dance Consultant and Brendan Keaney, Director, Greenwich Dance, who has recently been appointed the new Artistic Director of DanceEast.

The 2013 DanceEast Rural Retreats were funded by the Tezmae Trust, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Arts Council England. The Royal Opera House kindly provided the Paul Hamlyn Hall for the reception.

Accommodation was generously provided by the Salthouse Harbour Hotel on the Ipswich waterfront.

About The Hong Kong Ballet

One of the premier classical ballet companies in Asia, The Hong Kong Ballet is becoming internationally recognised as a world-class institution with an identity that fully reflects the unique vitality of Hong Kong. The Company turns 34 in 2013, and over time has evolved into a vibrant performing arts organisation with accomplished dancers, a strong repertoire, and sparkling, technically challenging productions.

The Company’s artistic team is led by Artistic Director Madeleine Onne, with over 40 dancers originating from all over the world. The Company performs a repertoire that combines classical masterpieces and acclaimed contemporary works from the 19th to 21st centuries, as well as new commissions. Since 1997, The Hong Kong Ballet has raised its international profile by conducting over 30 tours; in the summer of 2012, The Hong Kong Ballet toured the United States and Canada, performing at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and in Aspen, Montreal and Santa Fe. An integral part of the Company’s activities is an extensive education and community outreach programme, which brings the art of ballet to students as well as to the wider community of Hong Kong.