The Hong Kong Ballet promotes 6 dancers, and welcomes 12 new faces
<Hong Kong – 23 July 2012> Madeleine Onne, Artistic Director of The Hong Kong Ballet, has just announced the promotions of 6 dancers who have shown outstanding talent and dedication this year. In addition, the Company will welcome an influx of fresh new talent, with 12 new dancers joining the Corps de Ballet for the 2012-3 dance season.
Wu Fei-fei – promoted to Principal Dancer. Born in Liaoning, Wu Fei-fei joined The Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2003. She was promoted to Soloist in 2008 and Principal Dancer in 2012. She won the award for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer” at the 2012 Hong Kong Dance Awards. With her beautiful clean technique and strong artistic personality, she has proved to be a natural front person for the Company.
Li Jia bo – promoted to Soloist. Born in Shanghai, Li Jia-bo has for many years been one of The Hong Kong Ballet’s most reliable male dancers. In the last few years he has developed very fast both technically and artistically, and in the 2011-12 season he had the opportunity to display his development both as Calaf in Turandot and as the Prince in The Nutcracker.
Yo Takahira – promoted to Soloist. Born in Fukushima, Japan, Yo Takahira joined The Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2005, and was promoted to Coryphée in 2009. For several years now, Yo has consistently been chosen to dance Soloist roles, and this experience, paired with his clean, strong technique contributed to his well deserved promotion.
Shen Jie – promoted to Coryphée. Thanks to a combination of his legendary high, airy jumps and his exceptional stage personality, Shen Jie is just at the beginning of a long career with The Hong Kong Ballet. Whether he is dancing Young Uncle Tak in Firecracker or the peasant pas de deux in Giselle, Shen Jie has the rare ability to always catch the audience’s attention.
Dong Ruixue – promoted to Coryphée. Dong Ruixue danced with The National Ballet of China before joining The Hong Kong Ballet in 2011. After just one year with the Company, her strong technique has proved such an asset that she has been promoted from a member of the Corps de Ballet to Coryphée.
Chen Jin – promoted to Coryphée. Chen Jin was born in Zhejiang, and joined The Hong Kong Ballet in 2008. With her beautiful lines, Chen Jin has often been chosen to dance solo roles in both classical and modern ballets. During the last season she enchanted the audience with her performances, including those as Prayer in Coppélia and in the Arabian dance in The Nutcracker.
Four dancers impressed Madeleine and a judging panel of some of America’s greatest dance stars at auditions in New York.
Brazilian Ludmila Coelho joins The Hong Kong Ballet from the Royal Ballet of Flanders, and was previously with San Francisco Ballet from 2006-2010. She has danced in many contemporary pieces by choreographers such as Forsythe, Tomasson, Robbins and Haydée. Britons Ellen Elphick and Solomon Golding trained at the renowned Royal Ballet School and have performed in many productions with the Royal Ballet. This is the first professional contract for both dancers, who join The Hong Kong Ballet straight from school. Ellen has won several awards for her choreographic achievements, and is also interested in lighting and filming ballet. Born in Hungary, Balazs Krajczar completed his ballet training in his home country before embarking on a professional career in North America. He has been a member of the Orlando Ballet since 2009. Balazs has won many awards including 1st Prize at the Hungarian Dance Academy Competition and 3rd Prize at the Vienna International Ballet Competition 2004.
Another four of this season’s new dancers were recruited after private auditions in Hong Kong:
Home-grown talent Peggy Lai was born in Hong Kong and has already performed in several of The Hong Kong Ballet’s productions. She recently completed the first year of a degree in Fine Arts from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and will join The Hong Kong Ballet as an apprentice. Machi Muto was born in Fukuoka, Japan. She studied ballet in her home city for 7 years before joining the English National Ballet School and then the National Ballet Academy in Amsterdam. She has danced in Europe with the Dutch National Ballet and most recently The Norweigan National Ballet. Shunsuke Arimizu joins The Hong Kong Ballet straight from the Minori Ballet Studio in Tokyo. He has performed in classical ballets on numerous occasions with the Japan Ballet Association, Ballet Chambre Ouest and Inoue Ballet Foundation. Frank van Tongeren was born in the Netherlands. He completed his ballet training in The Hague and Amsterdam, and enjoyed several visits to summer schools with The Royal Ballet in London. He has been with the Norwegian National Ballet since autumn 2010.
Madeleine also travelled to Beijing with Ballet Mistress Tang Min to audition Chinese dancers: Liu Wei Nan, Gong Yi Wen and Zhang Jin all join the Company straight from the Beijing Dance Academy. With the help of The Hong Kong Ballet, Gong Yi Wen secured a prestigious scholarship from Jacob’s Pillow where he participated in a three week summer school, taught by some of the leading teachers and choreographers in the US. A fourth Chinese dancer, Gao Ge joins the Company after spending the last season with the Dutch National Ballet.
Madeleine Onne said, “I’m so proud of the dancers who have been promoted, especially of Wu Fei-fei who has had an outstanding year. On the stage of any production by The Hong Kong Ballet you will see a truly international company, and we are continuing our inclusive approach by welcoming so many dancers from all over the world.”
About The Hong Kong Ballet
One of the premier classical ballet companies in Asia, The Hong Kong Ballet turned 33 in 2012. It is becoming internationally recognised as a world-class institution with an identity that fully reflects the unique vitality of Hong Kong.
The Company’s artistic team of over 40 dancers is led by Artistic Director Madeleine Onne. The majority of The Hong Kong Ballet’s dancers hail from China while others are from elsewhere in Asia, Europe and North America. The Company performs a repertoire that combines 19th to 21st century classical masterpieces, acclaimed contemporary works and newly commissioned ballets. Since 1997, The Hong Kong Ballet has raised its international profile by conducting over 20 tours. 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.