Media
10.5.2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hong Kong Ballet Announces

2016/17 Dancer Roster

[Hong Kong – 10th May 2016] Hong Kong Ballet (HKB), having recently returned from its highly acclaimed North America tour, announces today its 2016/17 season roster.  Featuring four new additions, six promotions, as well as a returning dancer with a promotion, the Company in the new dance season will be comprised of a total of 47 dancers, representing six nationalities from Asia, Europe and North America.


“The advantages with working with a company for a longer period of time is that you can guide both ballet masters and dancers in the same direction and form a group that works well both on and off stage. After seven years with HKB, I can now enjoy the results, and the dancers received the credit and attention from the international press that they so well deserved during our three-week North America tour,” Madeleine Onne, Artistic Director of HKB, expressed. “Some of the dancers were already here when I took over, and at the time, most of them were very young. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I have watched the group form into a harmonious corps de ballet. A few individuals have developed beyond expectations, and I am happy to announce the following promotions, in addition to the returning dancer.”


Promotion of Jie Shen (China) to Principal 

Return of Fei-fei Ye (China) with a promotion to Principal

Promotions of Lucas Jerkander (Sweden) and Ryo Kato (Japan) to Soloists 

Promotions of Shunsuke Arimizu (Japan), Jun Xia and Xin Jiang (both from China) to Coryphées


An exceptional artist who has constantly developed since joining the Company in 2007, Jie Shen looks as comfortable in the old classics as he does in ballets created by today’s choreographers. He is a favourite choice among his colleagues for the yearly Choreographers’ Showcase due to his outstanding stage presence, his humble personality, and his hunger and openness to explore new methods and all the different possibilities of ballet/dance.


Onne states: “I have seen this once shy young teenager with lots of potential gradually develop into a star dancer with a strong stage presence who wins over critics as well as audiences. To be Principal Dancer is a huge responsibility as you are the face of the Company and an inspiration for the other dancers. Jie has proven time and again that he possesses all the qualities of a lead dancer at an international level. I am extremely happy and proud to see this young man take a new and important step in his career.”


From a vulnerable boy in Nacho Duato’s contemporary Castrati to a charming Basilio in the famous classical ballet Don Quixote, Jie Shen exhibits all the required shades of artistry and technique. He was nominated for the prestigious Prix Benois de la Danse in 2014 and danced at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Most recently, he won the “Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer” for his role of Romeo in Van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet at the Hong Kong Dance Awards 2016.


Fei-fei Ye will return to the Company with a promotion to Principal Dancer, after a short stint at Universal Ballet in Korea. She originally joined HKB in 2006 as a member of Corps de ballet, became Coryphée in 2009, and Soloist in 2010. She has impressed audiences with her clean technique from her schooling in Shanghai and powerful stage presence. 


Onne says, “When I arrived at HKB in 2009, I immediately felt that Fei-fei had something special. Her strong stage personality and presence attract your attention the moment she steps onstage. I was terribly sad to see her leave in 2014 as she wanted to try something different, but I was sure she would be back. I am thrilled for her return to the Company and for her promotion. She is not only an exceptional dancer and artist, but she also has an astonishing ability to learn quickly and pick up new dance parts in an amazingly short time. This gift has saved several performances for us in the past!”


On the Soloist promotions, Onne says: “I am very happy to see Lucas and Ryo, who joined the Company in 2014 and 2015, respectively, promoted to the rank of Soloists. With his strong partnering technique and artistic presence, Lucas has danced soloist roles such as Rothbart in Swan Lake, The Lion in Ratmansky’s Le Carnaval des Animaux, and Gepetto in Pinocchio. Ryo’s compelling classical technique and “Prince Charming” appearance have already attracted a loyal following of fans. During his nine months with the Company, he has already danced Paris in Romeo and Juliet, Blue Bird in The Sleeping Beauty, and the Prince in The Nutcracker. The audience can expect to see much more of these two dancers in the coming season.”


On the Coryphée promotions, Onne continues: “Shunsuke has developed his technique and artistry greatly since he joined HKB. That together with his professional way of working, he has undoubtedly gained a place in the Company as a Coryphée. Jiang Xin joined us from The National Ballet of China in 2014 and has developed his artistry in such a way that he stands out and naturally places himself as a Coryphée. Jun Xia has a physique and technique far beyond what expected for his young age at 21. One critic in North America even compared Jun Xia with the famous Russian dancer Vladimir Malakhov. Jun Xia has a natural place as a Coryphée!”


New Dancers:

New Corps de Ballet members include Nana Sakai (Japan) of the Royal Ballet School and Yu-xin Dong (China) and Yi-yang Fu (China), both of Shanghai Dance School, affiliated to Shanghai Theatre Academy. Ayano Haneishi (Japan) of Ecole de Ballet Pieds Nus is the new Apprentice. 


The 2016/17 season for Hong Kong Ballet will be announced in May.


Biographies:


Jie Shen – Principal

Born in Zhejiang, China, Jie Shen started his ballet training at Zhejiang Vocational Academy of Art. He went on to study at Guangzhou Dance School and The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. After joining Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2007, he became Coryphée in 2012, Soloist in 2013, and will be named Principal in August 2016. 


His repertoire includes Fritz in both Jeffrey’s and Kohler’s versions of The Nutcracker, Blue Bird in Harvey’s The Sleeping Beauty, Young Uncle Tak in Yuri Ng’s Firecracker, Basilio in Ananiashvilli’s Don Quixote, the male lead in Duato’s Castrati, the executed Prince in Weir’s Turandot, the duet in Bourke’s Grand Tarantella, Onne’s staging of Bournonville’s Pas de Deux from The Flower Festival in Genzano, Peasant Pas de Deux from Meehan and Lin’s Giselle, The Jester in Conus’ Swan Lake (Act III), the Young Emperor/Frog Prince in Yuri Ng’s The Frog Prince – A Ballet Chinois, Camille in Hynd’s The Merry Widow and Pao Yu in Wang Xin Pang’s The Dream of the Red Chamber, for which he was nominated for the 2014 Prix Benois de la Danse. Most recently Shen performed the lead role in the world premiere of Pär Isberg’s Pinocchio as well as Romeo in Van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet, the latter for which he won the “Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer” at the Hong Kong Dance Awards 2016. He was also nominated for the same award in 2016 for his lead role in the world premiere of Pär Isberg’s Pinocchio, as well as in 2013 and 2015 for his performances in Duato’s Castrati and Ananiashvilli’s Don Quixote, respectively.


Fei-fei Ye – Principal

Born in Liaoning, China, Fei-fei Ye graduated from Xun Yan Ballet School in Shenyang and studied further at Goh Ballet Academy in Canada. After joining Hong Kong Ballet as a member of Corps de ballet in 2006, she became Coryphée in 2009, and Soloist in 2010. She left the Company in 2014, and will return in August 2016 with a promotion to Principal Dancer.


An active participant in many international ballet competitions, she has received various awards such as a Silver medal in the Genee International Ballet Competition, and a Bronze medal in the Varna International Ballet Competition in 2006. Her repertoire includes Odette and Odile in Meehan’s Swan Lake, the title role in Weir’s Turandot, Princess Aurora in Harvey’s The Sleeping Beauty, Myrtha (Wueen of the Wills) in Meehan and Li’s Giselle, Juliet in Van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet, Swanilda in Hynd’s Coppélia, Ballerina in Kohler’s The Nutcracker, Hanna Glawari in Hynd’s The Merry Widow, and Tai Tai in Xin-peng Wang’s The Dream of the Red Chamber.


Lucas Jerkander – Soloist

Born in Gothenburg, Sweden, Lucas Jerkander trained at the Royal Swedish Ballet School before joining the Slovenian National Ballet in 2007. Joining Hong Kong Ballet in 2014 as a member of the Corps de Ballet, he became Coryphée in 2015, and will be named Soloist in August 2016. His Hong Kong Ballet repertoire includes Tybalt and Paris in Van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet, Gepetto in Isberg’s Pinocchio, the Lion in Ratmansky’s Le Carnaval des Animaux, The Man in Egami & Hu’s Bolero, as well as in Fei Bo’s Pas de Trios from A Room of Her Own, Von Rothbart in Conus’ Swan Lake (Act III), and roles in Kohler’s The Nutcracker, Harvey’s The Sleeping Beauty, Duato’s Castrati and Ananiashvilli’s Don Quixote. His previous roles include Prince Désiré in Mukhamedov's The Sleeping Beauty, Basilio and Espada in Mukhamedov's Don Quixote, Gurn in Bournonville’s La Sylphide, Apollo in Balanchine’s Apollo and Groom in Dawson’s Giselle, Romeo in Yurij Vamos’ Romeo and Juliet, Prince in Yurij Vamos’ The Nutcracker, Waltz boy and Elegie in  Balanchine’s Serenade, as well as Matchmaker in Jiří Kylián’s Svadebka.


Ryo Kato - Soloist

Born in Saitama, Japan, Ryo Kato entered The National Conservatory Dance School in Portugal before joining the State Ballet of Georgia in 2012. Ryo joined Hong Kong Ballet in 2015 as a member of the Corps de Ballet and will be named Soloist in August 2016. His Hong Kong Ballet repertoire includes Paris in Van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet, Blue Bird in Harvey’s The Sleeping Beauty and The Prince in Kohler’s The Nutcracker. His previous repertoire includes roles in Flames of ParisDon QuixoteLes Sylphides, The Nutcracker and Giselle. Kato won the First prize in 2010 in both the NBA Ballet Competition, Tokyo and in the All Japan Ballet Competition, Gold medal in Tanzolymp Berlin 2011 and was one of the finalists in Prix de Lausanne in 2012.


Shunsuke Arimizu – Coryphée

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Shunsuke Arimizu graduated from Minori Ballet Studio in 2012. He joined Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet that same year and will be named Coryphée in August 2016. During his time with the Company, his roles in productions include Benvolio and Lord Capulet in Van Dantzig's Romeo and Juliet, Lead Pontevedrian Dance in Hynd’s The Merry Widow, Bolero in Ananiashvilli’s Don Quixote, Russian Doll in Kohler’s The Nutcracker, Jewels in Harvey's The Sleeping Beauty, Pas De Trois from Elo’s Shape of Glow, Horse in Ratmansky's Le carnaval des animaux, and Solo and Trio in Duato’s Castrati. His previous repertoire includes soloist roles in Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Cinderella and The Prince in The Nutcracker. He was the second place winner in the All Japan Ballet Competition by Japan Ballet Association in 2010.


Jun Xia – Coryphée

Born in Shanghai, China, Jun Xia graduated from the Shanghai Dance School in 2012 and was awarded a full scholarship to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Ballet that same year. On completion of his scholarship, he joined The American Ballet Theatre Studio Company in New York. In 2013, he joined Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet and will become Coryphée in August 2016. He has performed roles in Duato’s Castrati, Pastor’s In Light and Shadow, Elo’s Shape of GlowAnaniashvilli’s Don Quixote, Weir’s Turandot, Ratmansky’s Le Carnaval des Animaux as well as Mercutio in Van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet. Xia was a finalist in the prestigious Prix de Lausanne competition in 2012. That same year, he won the third place in the 10th Taoli Cup Dance Competition.


Xin Jiang – Coryphée

Born in Shandong, China, Xin Jiang has studied ballet at the Beijing Dance Academy before entering the National Ballet of China. He joined Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2014 and will become Coryphée in August 2016. Since joining the Company he has performed in the world première of Pär Isberg’s Pinocchio, Van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet, Weir’s Turandot, Harvey’s The Sleeping Beauty, Ananiashvilli’s Don Quixote, Duato’s Castrati, Pastor’s In Light and Shadow, as well as Rat King and Egyptian Doll in Kohler’s The Nutcracker. His previous repertoire includes roles in The Little MermaidFirebirdOneginSwan Lake and Giselle.


Nana Sakai – Corps de Ballet

Born in Nara, Japan, Nana Sakai studied ballet at the Royal Ballet School. She will join Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in August 2016. She has performed Wright’s Swan Lake with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie, Horiuchi’s Le Reve and La Vie, MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty, Makarova’s (after Petipa) La Bayadere, Sir Ashton’s Les Rendezvous, as well as The Nutcracker and Don Quixote produced by Shizuko Soda. She was a Finalist at the Youth America Grand Prix 2012 New York Final.


Yu-xin Dong – Corps de Ballet 

Born in Jiangsu, China, Yu-xin Dong graduated from Shanghai Dance School, affiliated to Shanghai Theatre Academy. She will join Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in August 2016. Prior to joining the Company, she has performed The Nutcracker, Paquita, Swan LakeThe Sleeping Beauty, as well as the contemporary work The Original Sin and large-scale dance poem Four Seasons with Shanghai Dance School, affiliated to Shanghai Theatre Academy.


Yi-yang Fu – Corps de Ballet

Born in Shinjang, China, Yi-yang Fu graduated from Shanghai Dance School, affiliated to Shanghai Theatre Academy. She will join Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in August 2016. Prior to joining the Company, she has performed The Nutcracker, Paquita, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, as well as the contemporary work The Original Sin and large-scale dance poem Four Seasons. She was a Finalist at the Prix de Lausanne in 2016.


Ayano Haneishi – Apprentice

Born in Chiba, Japan, Ayano Haneishi studied ballet at Ecole de Ballet Pieds Nus. Previously an Apprentice with the New National Theatre, Tokyo, she will join Hong Kong Ballet as an Apprentice in August 2016. She has performed Bournonville’s La Sylphide, Petipa’s Raymonda and The Nutcracker with Japan Junior Ballet Company. She was a Finalist of both the Educational Ballet Competition in Tokyo in 2012 and Japan Ballet Competition in Tokyo in 2013.


DOWNLOAD PRESS PHOTOS

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Jie Shen
Photo 1: Jie Shen, Principal of Hong Kong Ballet
Romeo and Juliet
Photo 2: Romeo and Juliet | Dancers: Jie Shen and Rui-xue Dong | Photographer: Conrad Dy-Liacco
Pinocchio
Photo 3: Pinocchio | Dancers: Jie Shen and Hong Kong Ballet Dancers | Photographer: Tony Luk
Fei-fei Ye
Photo 4: Fei-fei Ye, Principal of Hong Kong Ballet | Photographer: Universal Ballet
Turandot
Photo 5: Turandot | Dancer: Fei-fei Ye | Photographer: Gordon Wong
Lucas Jerkander
Photo 6: Lucas Jerkander, Soloist of Hong Kong Ballet
Romeo and Juliet
Photo 7: Romeoand Juliet | Dancers: Lucas Jerkander and Jun Xia | Photographer: Conrad Dy-Liacco
Ryo Kato
Photo 8: Ryo Kato, Soloist of Hong Kong Ballet
The Sleeping Beauty
Photo 9: The Sleeping Beauty | Dancer: Ryo Kato | Photographer: Aleksandar Antonijevic
Shunsuke Arimizu
Photo 10: Shunsuke Arimizu, Coryphée of Hong Kong Ballet
The Sleeping Beauty
Photo 11: The Sleeping Beauty | Dancer: Shunsuke Arimizu | Photographer: Aleksandar Antonijevic
Jun Xia
Photo 12: Jun Xia, Coryphée of Hong Kong Ballet
In Light and Shadow
Photo 13: In Light and Shadow | Dancer: Jun Xia | Photographer: Yi-Chun Wu
Xin Jiang
Photo 14: Xin Jiang, Coryphée of Hong Kong Ballet
In Light and Shadow
Photo 15: In Light and Shadow | Dancers: Xin Jiang and Zhi-yao Chen | Photographer: Yi-Chun Wu
Nana Sakai
Photo 16: Nana Sakai, Corps de Ballet Member of Hong Kong Ballet
Yu-xin Dong
Photo 17: Yu-xin Dong, Corps de Ballet Member of Hong Kong Ballet
Yi-yang Fu
Photo 18: Yi-yang Fu, Corps de Ballet Member of Hong Kong Ballet
Ayano Haneishi
Photo 19: Ayano Haneishi, Apprentice of Hong Kong Ballet

About Hong Kong Ballet

An eclectic mix of talent, a balance of classical and contemporary works, and a unique repertoire are the trademarks of Hong Kong Ballet, Asia’s premier ballet company. Internationally recognised and acclaimed for its creativity, talent and artistry, the Company, led by Artistic Director Madeleine Onne, is committed to providing captivating experiences that delight and inspire audiences from all walks of life, both at home and abroad.

For further information, please contact:
Nick Chan

Director of Marketing
T: 2105 9716
M: 9728 1777
nick_chan@hkballet.com