Septime Webre Named New Artistic Director of Hong Kong Ballet

[Hong Kong – 6 June 2017] The Hong Kong Ballet Board of Governors is delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Septime Webre as the new Artistic Director of Hong Kong Ballet. Mr Webre will succeed Ms Madeleine Onne, who has led the company since 2009. Leading the ballet company into its 2017/18 season, Mr Webre will commence his term officially in July 2017 and the first production under his leadership will be the season-opening Don Quixote in August.

Bringing to Hong Kong Ballet over two decades of artistic leadership from America, Mr Webre previously served as the Artistic Director of the Washington Ballet in D.C. from 1999 to 2016, stewarding a period of unprecedented artistic and institutional growth for the organisation. During his 17 years tenure at the Washington Ballet, an array of exciting artistic initiatives was launched while close partnerships were forged with many colleague arts institutions in the D.C. area. As its school grew from 325 students to 1,500, a range of impactful community engagement programmes were also founded on his watch. Currently he is and will remain Artistic Director of Washington D.C.-based Halcyon, which launched a new interdisciplinary performance and dialogue series ‘Halcyon Stage’ in 2017 and a creativity festival in the Summer of 2018.

An internationally renowned choreographer, Mr Webre has created many works which appear in the repertoires of ballet companies including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Colorado Ballet, Ballet West, Atlanta Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Austin, Ballet Memphis, Milwaukee Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico, amongst many others.

The appointment of Mr Webre came after a long and intensive international search conducted by a specially formed Global Search Committee. Out of close to 70 applicants from around the world, four outstandingly qualified candidates were shortlisted and invited to meet with dancers, management and the Board of Governors, as well as to teach class and present their five-year artistic plans for Hong Kong Ballet. Mr Webre, with his superb qualities, eventually emerged as the successful candidate and was endorsed unanimously by the Board of Governors.

Of the appointment Mr Webre said, “Hong Kong Ballet has a long legacy both as an international powerhouse and as one of Asia’s boldest and most vibrant ballet companies. It is an honour to be leading such an exciting organisation and I look forward to partnering with its superb artists, visionary board and outstanding staff, as we grow the company’s local impact as well as its global reputation.”

“On behalf of my fellow board members, I am most pleased to welcome Septime to take up the artistic leadership of Hong Kong Ballet,” said Ms Daisy Ho, Chair of the Global Search Committee and the Hong Kong Ballet Board of Governors. “We were most impressed by his artistic vision, international presence, choreographic prowess, leadership experience, as well as his great passion and energy during the search process. With the company’s vision and missions refocused in 2015, Hong Kong Ballet has taken an exciting new direction. With the solid artistic equity the Company has established through the wonderful work by the previous Artistic Directors, the Board unequivocally conferred that Septime is the perfect candidate to open the next chapter of our very fine ballet company.”

Mr Webre will take up residency in Hong Kong starting July 2017 when his Artistic Directorship of Hong Kong Ballet begins. Hong Kong Ballet’s 2017/18 Season was announced in mid May. Highlights include the Asian premiere of Le Corsaire (November 2017) and Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush (May 2018) as well as its first European Tour since 2009 (March 2018).


Note to Editors
Septime Webre
Mr Webre is the Artistic Director of Washington DC-based Halcyon which launched Halcyon Stage in 2017, a new interdisciplinary performance and dialogue series. From 1999 until 2016, Mr Webre served as the Artistic Director of the Washington Ballet and from 1993 to 1999 was the Artistic Director of the American Repertory Ballet based in Princeton, NJ, USA. During his tenure at The Washington Ballet, the institution enjoyed unprecedented growth in the scope and quality of its work on stage, it’s school grew from 325 students to 1500 students, and the organisation developed impactful community engagement initiatives including the award-winning Dance DC and [email protected] ARC, both of which he founded. Mr Webre launched an array of artistic initiatives for the Ballet including The American Experience, which developed great works of literature into full-length ballets, including The Great Gatsby and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises among others. He also developed partnerships with many colleague arts institutions in the Washington DC area, including collaborating with Imagination Stage on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 2012, and The Little Mermaid in 2016. As a choreographer, Mr Webre’s works appear in the repertoires of ballet companies throughout North America, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Colorado Ballet, Ballet West, Atlanta Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Austin, Ballet Memphis, Milwaukee Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico, and many others.  He has served on the boards of Dance/USA and Dance Metro DC and his work has received numerous honours, grants and awards. He holds a degree in History/Pre-Law from the University of Texas at Austin, and is the seventh son of a large, boisterous Cuban-American family.

Hong Kong Ballet
One of the premier classical ballet companies in Asia, Hong Kong Ballet (HKB) is internationally recognised as a top institution that represents Hong Kong’s unique character. Since its inception in 1979, HKB has evolved into a vibrant performing arts organisation with a strong repertoire composed of a range of artistic and technically challenging productions, showcasing our exceptional dancers.

With nearly 50 dancers from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Europe and the U.S. as well as other parts of Asia, the Company has won recognition in recent years both regionally and internationally. In 2017, Company dancer Chen Zhiyao was awarded Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer at the 19th Hong Kong Dance Awards, where HKB also won Outstanding Large Venue Production and Outstanding Ensemble Performance for Lady of the Camellias and Swan Lake, respectively. Overseas, the Company also garnered two nominations in 2014 for Prix Benois de la Danse, held annually in Moscow at the Bolshoi Theatre.

The Company’s repertoire includes full-length ballets, the finest classical and neo-classical works of the 19th to 21st centuries, acclaimed contemporary ballets and abridged classic productions choreographed especially for children. HKB performs works by today’s most sought-after choreographers including Nacho Duato, Alexei Ratmansky, Jiří Kylián and Christian Spuck, in addition to commissioned works by Jorma Elo, Cynthia Harvey, Yuri Ng, Wang Xin Peng, Terence Kohler, Peter Quanz and Kinsun Chan. In the upcoming 2017/18 season, the repertoire will include the Company's première of one of Christopher Wheeldon’s ballets.

With more than 40 tours in 10 countries, Hong Kong Ballet recently made appearances at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the U.S. and at New York’s renowned Fall For Dance Festival, in addition to performances in Japan and Macau. The Company’s three-week long North American Tour throughout Ontario, Canada and to New York in March 2016 was enthusiastically received and garnered wide critical acclaim. To celebrate the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)’s 20th anniversary, the Company will embark on an exciting four-city China tour to Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Jinan for seven performances in June 2017.

Additionally, the Company’s Education and Community Outreach Department collaborates regularly with the Government of HKSAR’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department to create inspiring programmes that engage students and the wider Hong Kong community with the art of ballet. In 2014, HKB’s endeavours were recognised with the Hong Kong Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth and Community Dance.

Hong Kong Ballet’s unique character proudly embodies the dynamic vitality of its home city. One of Hong Kong’s most prominent performing arts groups, the Company is proud of its past and is excited for its bright future ahead.

Halcyon is a non-profit that galvanizes creative individuals aspiring to promote social good, bringing together diverse groups of changemakers in art and social enterprise and provides a safe haven for their bold ideas to take flight.


[Click on the photo to download full image]

Photo 1: Septime Webre


Photo 2: Septime Webre


Photo 3: Septime Webre


Photo 4: Septime Webre 


Photo 5: Septime Webre 


Photo 6: Dancers (from left): Yang Ruiqi, Gao Ge, Liu Miaomiao, Chen Zhiyao, Dong
Ruixue, Zhang Xuenign | Photographer: Tim Wong


Photo 7: Dancers (from left): Shunsuke Arimizu, Li Lin, Leung Chunglong, Ryo Kato,
Luis Cabrera, Jonathan Spigner | Photographer: Tim Wong


Photo 8: Dancer: Jin Yao | Photographer: Tim Wong


Photo 9: Swan Lake by John Meehan after Petipa/Ivanov | Dancers: Li Jiabo, Chen Zhiuyao and Hong Kong Ballet Dancers | Photographer: Cheung Chi Wai


Photo 10: The Nutcracker by Terence Kohler | Dancers: Wei Wei and Jin Yao |
Photographer: Conrad Dy-Liacco


Photo 11: Shenren Chang by Fei Bo | Hong Kong Ballet Dancers | Photographer: Conrad Dy-Liacco


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