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Edwaard Liang Named Ballet Met Columbus Artistic Director


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#1 Helene

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:22 AM

From the press release:

BalletMet Columbus Names
Internationally Renowned Dancer/Choreographer
Edwaard Liang as Artistic Director

 
 BalletMet Columbus is delighted to announce that renowned choreographer Edwaard Liang will become its new Artistic Director effective July 2013. 
 
A former dancer with New York City Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater and on Broadway, Liang has built an international reputation as a choreographer.  Over the last decade, he has created work for the Bolshoi Ballet, Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Shanghai Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre and Washington Ballet.
  
Born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised in Marin County, California, Edwaard Liang began his early dance training at age 5 at Marin Ballet.  After studying at the School of American Ballet he joined New York City Ballet in 1993, the same year he was a medal winner at the Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition and won the Mae L. Wien Award. By 1998, he was promoted to Soloist.
In 2001, Edwaard joined the Tony Award® winning Broadway cast of Fosse. His performance in Fosse was later televised nationally on PBS’ Great Performances series – “Dance in America: From Broadway: Fosse,” and subsequently released on DVD.

By 2002, Liang was invited by Jiri Kylian to become a member of the acclaimed Nederlands Dans Theater 1.  While dancing with NDT 1 Mr. Liang discovered his passion and love for choreography. Since establishing himself as a choreographer, his works have been performed by dance companies around the world and he has won numerous awards for his choreography including the 2006 National Choreographic Competition. 
 
BalletMet Columbus started its search for a new artistic director last spring after former Artistic Director Gerard Charles announced he would leave to become the Ballet Master at Chicago’s famed Joffrey Ballet.   “Throughout our search process, we have been aware that his position was not only important to BalletMet, but to Central Ohio.  Our search committee of board members, dancers, staff and community members worked tirelessly for nearly a year to evaluate more than 80 applicants from around the world,” said BalletMet Columbus board chair, Mary Duffey.  “Edwaard has committed to move to Columbus, and to our mission of engaging the community through quality performances, instruction, and education programs and creation of new work.”
 
BalletMet board member and search committee co-chair, Sue Porter added, “Edwaard has already had an extraordinary career as a dancer and choreographer and now is excited to take the next step as an artistic director.  We feel very proud that he has decided that BalletMet is where he wants to take that next step.”
 
Mr. Liang becomes BalletMet Columbus’ fifth artistic director, following a strong roster of past leadership that began in 1978 with Wayne Soulant and continued with John McFall (1986 – 1993), David Nixon (1994 – 2001) and Gerard Charles (2001 – 2012). 
 
BalletMet Columbus continues its 2012-2013 season with The Rite of Spring, a collaboration with the Columbus Symphony March 22 – 24 at the Ohio Theatre.  The program features world premiere choreography by James Kudelka (The Rite of Spring) and Jimmy Orrante (Rapsodie Espagnol), and a Columbus premiere by Amedeo Amodio (Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun).
 
The 2012-2013 season concludes with the Columbus premiere of a new ballet by two-time Tony Award nominee Lynne Taylor-Corbett, The Little Mermaid, at the Capitol Theatre April 19 – 27.
 



#2 Amy Reusch

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:56 PM

This is very promising news! How many choreographer led companies in the U.S do we have these days? And by "choreographer", I mean one whose works were sought after by other companies long before they became director themself of a company... I guess there are several, but lately the model seems to be "in residence". It will be interesting to see how his vision shapes Ballet Met.

#3 Helene

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 01:30 PM

Ib Andersen had a ballet in the PNB rep before he became AD of Ballet Arizona. He was, at the time, working as a freelance choreographer and Balanchine Trust stager. William Whitener choreographed for other companies and in other genres. Christopher Stowell had begun to receive commissions before he became AD of Oregon Ballet Theatre.

Stanton Welch was probably the most prolific and established choreographer before he took over Houston Ballet.

#4 sandik

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 03:29 PM

Like him or not, Mikko Nissinen at Boston Ballet.
Septime Webre at Washington Ballet
Ben Stevenson at Texas Ballet Theater

#5 Helene

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:23 PM

There have been a number of Artistic Directors who had some choreographic experience before taking over ballet companies, like Helgi Tomasson, Peter Martins, and Paul Mejia, for example, but had Stevenson established a career as a choreographer before he took over Houston Ballet or Mikko Nisseinen before he held the AD position in Alberta?

#6 Amy Reusch

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 07:00 PM

2013-2014 Season
(order below is random, not significant)

Choreographer Directed
1. Ballet Met - Edwaard Liang
2. Ballet Arizona - Ib Anderson
3. Boston Ballet - Mikko Nissensen
4. Texas Ballet Theater - Ben Stevenson
5. Washington Ballet - Septime Webre
6. Houston Ballet - Stanton Welch



Ballet Master Directed
1. Joffrey Ballet- Ashley Wheater
2. Miami City Ballet - Lourdes Lopez
3. Pennsylvania Ballet - Roy Kaiser
4. Pacific Northwest Ballet - Peter Boal
5. Ballet West - Adam Sklute
6. Suzanne Farrell Ballet
7. Grand Rapids Ballet - Patricia Barker
8. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre - Terrence Orr
9. Los Angeles Ballet - Thordal Christensen
10. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet - Tom MossbrucKer
11. New Jersey Ballet - Carolyn Clark

Unknown
1. Kansas City Ballet
2. Oregon Ballet Theatre
3. Ballet San Jose


I'm not really sure what to make of choroegraphers Peter Martins and Helgi Tomasson because it seems so long since they have created on another company... But I guess that is true of Ben Stevenson too... Where would you put them?

I'm not counting Stowell or Whitener because they are ADs for 2013-2014 (hopefully I am mistaken)

Who all am I missing?

#7 Alina

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:01 PM

Robert Hill, Orlando Ballet
Take a look on You Tube
Some pretty original, significant work

Probably in the choreographer driven category

#8 Helene

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:18 PM

By your categories, Amy,

Choreographer Directed
North Carolina Dance Theatre - Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux
Carolina Ballet - Robert Weiss

The question, though, was how many AD's were primarily choreographers before being tapped for an AD spot, as opposed to becoming AD's bringing some choreographic experience, but mainly choreographing for their own company.

#9 Alina

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:20 PM

I also do not think Mikko Nissinen should be on the choreographer list. He is not a choreographer. He only does so by necessity. He is not ballet master driven either. What is the criteria for a ballet master? I feel that would be to choose ballets for the dancers. There should be an Artistic Director list. Many of the Ballet Master list are probably more suited for the AD list. Artistic Directors are very good at choosing repertoire for their company and community. An AD needs to think about all components of his company and it's survival- dancers, repertoire, and the audience that supports the product.

#10 Alina

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:29 PM

Okay I guess I understand the criteria Amy you set forth but still think there might be three categories but I would name them as:
Artistic Director Driven
Choreographer Driven
Ballet Master Driven (although rare, most AD's see the bigger picture that is AD driven)

#11 Amy Reusch

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:36 PM

Oh, I was trying to come up with something better than "non-choreographer" driven for the second list... Those who weren't choreographers seemed more like ballet masters... (isn't that the title Balanchine claimed?)... Regardless of hether or not they are choreographers, artistic directors choose repertory, dancers and designers...

#12 Alina

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:42 PM

Sorry Amy! I am getting caught up in semantics! I just do see that companies are run either by AD 's and Boards that promote and foster the AD's original work or look more for them choosing outside work.

#13 Amy Reusch

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:45 PM

2013-2014 Season [updated]
(order below is random, not significant)

Choreographer Directed
1. Ballet Met - Edwaard Liang
2. Ballet Arizona - Ib Anderson
3. Boston Ballet - Mikko Nissensen
4. Texas Ballet Theater - Ben Stevenson
5. Washington Ballet - Septime Webre
6. Houston Ballet - Stanton Welch
7. Carolina Ballet - Robert Weiss
8. North Carolina Dance Theatre - Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux
9. Orlando Ballet - Robert Hill


Ballet Master Directed
1. Joffrey Ballet- Ashley Wheater
2. Miami City Ballet - Lourdes Lopez
3. Pennsylvania Ballet - Roy Kaiser
4. Pacific Northwest Ballet - Peter Boal
5. Ballet West - Adam Sklute
6. Suzanne Farrell Ballet
7. Grand Rapids Ballet - Patricia Barker
8. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre - Terrence Orr
9. Los Angeles Ballet - Thordal Christensen
10. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet - Tom MossbrucKer
11. New Jersey Ballet - Carolyn Clark

Unknown
1. Kansas City Ballet
2. Oregon Ballet Theatre
3. Ballet San Jose


I'm not really sure what to make of choroegraphers Peter Martins and Helgi Tomasson because it seems so long since they have created on another company... But I guess that is true of Ben Stevenson too...   Where would you put them? Some of these never quite achieved as fame as choreographers as they did as dancers...

I'm not counting Stowell or Whitener because they are ADs for 2013-2014 (hopefully I am mistaken)

Who all am I missing?

#14 Amy Reusch

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:48 PM

And not one choreographer director a woman.

#15 sandik

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:26 PM

I'm not counting Stowell or Whitener because they are ADs for 2013-2014 (hopefully I am mistaken)


I think this is a typo -- both Stowell and Whitener are leaving (or have left) their respective companies this year -- neither will be ADs in the 13-14 season.

Who all am I missing?


Nashville Ballet -- Paul Vasterling makes work for the company. I am not sure what his career was like before this position, though.
Cincinnati Ballet -- Victoria Morgan
Eugene Ballet -- Toni Pimble

(so there's two women)

It looks like we've got more than two categories here, really. Companies that are led by choreographers who have established that part of their career as a separate part of their lives (Balanchine/Robbins at NYCB, Stevenson at Houston B and Texas Theater B, Webre at Washington B..) Companies that are led by directors who can make dances for the ensemble, but whose careers are not primarily about their choreography (Whitener at Kansas City B, Tomasson at San Francisco B, Joffrey at Joffrey B.) And then companies that are led by directors who do not make dancers for the ensemble (or do it very rarely) (Boal at Pacific Northwest B, Lopez at Miami City B, Ashley Wheater at Joffrey B)

People sometimes slide around on this (while he was AD at Oregon Ballet Theater, Christopher Stowell's job was as much about finding other people's choreography for the ensemble as it was about making work himself, but now that he's left the organization, he'll likely be choreographing more frequently) but I do think there's a difference between someone who can make decent dances when the need arises, and someone who identifies themselves primarily as a choreographer.


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