The Washington Ballet introduced on Tuesday that Edwaard Liang can be its subsequent inventive director, beginning instantly.
Liang, 48, involves Washington after 10 years main BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio. He succeeds Julie Kent, who was appointed in 2016 and left earlier this yr to function the joint inventive director of Houston Ballet with Stanton Welch. Liang will proceed to direct BalletMet by means of the tip of its present season.
Liang, who was born in Taiwan and raised in California, is the primary particular person of coloration to guide the Washington Ballet, and the primary Asian American to guide an American ballet firm of its measurement and stature. (Gen Horiuchi, the inventive director of the smaller St. Louis Ballet, is of Japanese descent.)
“It’s a serious supply of delight,” Liang stated in an interview. “Such illustration is a robust assertion that ballet is prepared to maneuver ahead and alter.” However being first additionally brings “combined emotions,” he stated. “I’d like to have extra range in dance, and I’m hoping that dance will deliver in additional leaders with broader views and backgrounds.”
Liang, who skilled on the College of American Ballet, danced with New York Metropolis Ballet from 1993 to 1999, rising to the rank of soloist. After performing within the Broadway present “Fosse” and with Nederlands Dans Theater, he returned to Metropolis Ballet from 2004 to 2008, earlier than leaving to deal with his profession as a choreographer.
He has been prolific in that area, with works carried out by New York Metropolis Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Bolshoi. Throughout his tenure with BalletMet, he created 21 items for the corporate. Earlier than his appointment with Washington Ballet, he made 5 works for that troupe.
At Washington Ballet, Liang will oversee each the corporate, which was based in 1976 and has a finances of $11 million, and the Washington College of Ballet, based in 1944. He described his imaginative and prescient for Washington Ballet as a stability of classical and modern works, together with his personal, that might assist the corporate develop and usher in new audiences. “I’m by no means attempting to coach my neighborhood,” he stated. “It’s actually about bringing them into the dialog. I believe that’s in all probability one of many causes I used to be employed, as a result of the board feels I’m poised to start out this dialog with the DC viewers.”
“Edwaard’s dedication to shaping the way forward for ballet completely aligns with our ambitions as a dynamic, various midsize ballet firm with an outsized influence in our neighborhood and within the ballet world,” Jean-Marie Fernandez, chair of the Washington Ballet board, stated in a press release.
Reflecting on the influence he hopes to have, Liang recalled performing in New York Metropolis faculties when he was 16. “What modified me fully was the response of the scholars,” he stated. “They didn’t see a younger Asian boy who was dancing in tights. They noticed a younger Asian boy who was heading towards his objective. I noticed of their eyes the chance that they may do it too.”