Media
4.7.2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hong Kong Ballet Announces

2018/19 Season Company Members


[Hong Kong – 4 July 2018] Hong Kong Ballet (HKB), announces five promotions and six new Company members for the 2018/19 season. 


Coryphées Chen Zhiyao and Xia Jun have been promoted to Soloists; Corps de Ballet Members Wang Qingxin and Garry Corpus have been named Coryphées; Corps de Ballet member / Repetiteur Yuh Egami has become Assistant Ballet Master. 


A new ballet master, Luis Torres, and five new dancers have joined the Company’s ranks. Venus Villa joins as Principal Dancer, Ashleigh Bennett, Zoe Roberts and Vince Koffijberg as Corps de Ballet Members, as well as Leung Sze Chai Cindy as the new Apprentice. The Company will now be comprised of a total of 47 dancers from all over the globe – Hong Kong, Mainland China and other parts of Asia, Australia, Europe and the US.


Artistic Director Septime Webre says, “One of the great pleasures of being an Artistic Director is seeing talented dancers really blossom — as such it’s thrilling to see several dancers advance through the Company. It’s equally exciting for all of us to welcome new artists from all over the world — Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands and Australia — and to introduce their unique qualities to Hong Kong audiences. It’s going to be a real powerhouse season.


”Heading into its second dance season with Webre, the Company has seen record-breaking subscription sales for its 2018/19 productions, and enthusiasm from fans and new subscribers has been overwhelming. Please visit hkballet.com/201819 for more details.


Promotions                                                                Level
Chen ZhiyaoSoloist
Xia JunSoloist
Wang QingxinCoryphée
Garry CorpuzCoryphée
Yuh EgamiCorps de Ballet Member / Assistant Ballet Master


New Company MembersLevel
Luis TorresBallet Master
Venus VillaPrincipal Dancer
Ashleigh BennettCorps de Ballet Member
Zoe RobertsCorps de Ballet Member
Vince KoffijbergCorps de Ballet Member
Leung Sze Chai CindyApprentice

Biographies – Promotions 


Chen Zhiyao, Soloist

Born in Sichuan, China, Chen Zhiyao graduated from Beijing Dance Academy in 2015 and joined Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet the same year. She was named Coryphée in 2017 and became Soloist in 2018.


With Hong Kong Ballet, Chen has danced the principal role of Odette in John Meehan’s Swan Lake, Ballerina, Egyptian Doll and French Doll in Terence Kohler’s The Nutcracker, Queen of Dryad and Kitri’s Friend in Nina Ananiashvili’s Don Quixote, Gulnare and Odalesques in Anna-Marie Holmes' Le Corsaire and also performed in Cynthia Harvey’s The Sleeping Beauty, Ronald Hynd's Coppélia, Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet, Pär Isberg’s Pinocchio, Val Caniparoli's Lady of the Camellias, Marius Petipa’s Paquita, George Balanchine’s Serenade, Alexei Ratmansky’s Le Carnaval des Animaux, Jiří Kylián's Petite Mort, Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush, Krzysztof Pastor’s In Light and Shadow, Jorma Elo's Shape of Glow, Edwaard Liang’s Sacred Thread, Trey McIntyre’s A Day in the Life and Fei Bo’s Shenren Chang.


Chen was awarded Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer at the Hong Kong Dance Awards 2017.


Xia Jun, Soloist

Born in Shanghai, China, Xia Jun graduated from the Shanghai Dance School in 2012 and was awarded a full scholarship to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Ballet the same year. He joined American Ballet Theatre Studio Company in New York in 2012 and Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2013. He became Soloist in 2018.


With Hong Kong Ballet, Xia has danced principal and featured roles including Prince, Fritz and Italian Doll in Terence Kohler’s The Nutcracker, Lankendam in Anna-Marie Holmes’ Le Corsaire, Mercutio in Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet, Jewels in Cynthia Harvey’s The Sleeping Beauty, Bolero in Nina Ananiashvili’s Don Quixote and Gustave in Val Caniparoli's Lady of the Camellias. He has also performed in John Meehan's Swan Lake, Ronald Hynd's Coppélia, Pär Isberg's Pinocchio, Natalie Weir’s Turandot, George Balanchine’s Serenade, Jiří Kylián's Petite Mort and Sechs Tänze, Nacho Duato's Castrati, Alexei Ratmansky’s Le Carnaval des Animaux, Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush, Krzysztof Pastor’s In Light and Shadow, Jorma Elo's Shape of Glow, Edwaard Liang’s Sacred Thread, Trey McIntyre’s A Day in the Life and Fei Bo’s Shenren Chang.


Xia was a finalist at the prestigious Prix de Lausanne competition in Switzerland in 2012 and won third place at the Taoli Cup Dance Competition the same year. He was awarded Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer at the Hong Kong Dance Awards in 2018.


Wang Qingxin, Coryphée

Born in Jilin, China, Wang Qingxin trained at The Ballet Academy of The Liaoning Ballet in China and joined Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2013. She became Coryphée in 2018.


With Hong Kong Ballet, Wang has danced featured roles including Gulnare and Odalesques in Anna-Marie Holmes’ Le Corsaire, Spanish Doll and French Doll in Terence Kohler’s The Nutcracker, Lilac Fairy in Cynthia Harvey’s The Sleeping Beauty. She has also performed in John Meehan’s Swan Lake, Nina Ananiashvili’s Don Quixote, Ronald Hynd's Coppélia, Pär Isberg’s Pinocchio, Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet, Natalie Weir’s Turandot, George Balanchine’s Serenade, Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush, Alexei Ratmansky’s Le Carnaval des Animaux, Trey McIntyre’s A Day in the Life and Jorma Elo's Shape of Glow.


Wang won gold medals at the 25th Varna International Ballet Competition in 2012 and the 4th Korea International Ballet competition in 2011. 


Garry Corpuz, Coryphée 

Born in Nueva Ecija, Philippines, Garry Corpuz trained at Philippine High School for the Arts and then De La Salle–College of Saint Benilde on full scholarship. He first joined Ballet Philippines in 2011 and then joined Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2017. He became Coryphée in 2018.


With Hong Kong Ballet, Corpuz has danced featured roles of Rat King, Egyptian Doll and Russian Doll in Terence Kohler’s The Nutracker, Landkendem in Anna-Marie Holmes’ Le Corsaire, and performed in Nina Ananiashvili’s Don Quixote, Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush, Alexei Ratmansky’s Le Carnaval des Animaux and Trey McIntyre’s A Day in the Life, among others.


Yuh Egami, Corps de Ballet Member / Assistant Ballet Master

Born in Okinawa, Japan, Yuh Egami graduated from The Royal Ballet School in London and joined Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2002. He assumed the additional role of Répétiteur in 2014 and became Assistant Ballet Master in 2018.


With Hong Kong Ballet, Egami has danced in various works such as John Meehan's Swan Lake, Stephen Jefferies’ and Terence Kohler’s The Nutcracker, Ronald Hynd's Coppélia, Nina Ananiashvili’s Don Quixote, Val Caniparoli's Lady of the Camellias, Natalie Weir’s Turandot, George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Nacho Duato’s Castrati, Jorma Elo’s Shape of Glow, William Forsythe’s Steptext, Stanton Welch’s Clear, to name a few.


Egami has presented his works at Hong Kong Ballet’s Choreographers’ Showcase, including Horn (2014) and White Lies (2012) with Hu Song Wei Ricky, OIOIO (2011), Mirage (2010), Collage of One (2008), Sakula (2007) and Kagé (2005). He has also contributed choreography to several full-length works including Carmen (2017), co-choreographed with Hu, The Frog Prince-A Ballet Chinois (2013) together with Hu and as associate choreographer to Yuri Ng and Firecracker (2010) as an associate choreographer to Ng. His work Bolero (2015) with Hu, won Outstanding Ensemble performance at the Hong Kong Dance Awards 2016. Egami has also collaborated with music composer Mike Orange for the “New Works Forum: Choreographer & Composer Lab” by West Kowloon Cultural District in 2016.


Egami also re-choreographed Ng’s Devil’s Tale for Architanz, Japan in 2015 and choreographed Sonographer (2011) and Firefly (2016) for E-side Dance Company and Peter and the Wolf (2018) for Le Studio Ballet in Hong Kong.



Biographies – New Company Members 


Luis Torres, Ballet Master

Born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Luis Torres was previously the Ballet Master with Les Ballets Jazz De Montréal. He graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Dance and Psychology and completed a Master of Fine Arts from George Mason University. Torres has enjoyed an extensive dance career with Ballet Arizona, Ballet Theatre of Maryland and The Washington Ballet, where he performed as a Soloist and Principal Dancer. Torres created roles in many works by world renowned choreographers and has held the positions of Ballet Master at Chamber Dance Project, The Washington Ballet’s Studio Company and Trainee Program, Adjunct Professor at George Mason University and Repetiteur for Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Septime Webre as well as Guest Teacher/Choreographer.


Venus Villa, Principal Dancer

Born in Havana, Cuba, Venus Villa trained at the prestigious Cuban National Ballet and at the La Scala Ballet School. Villa previously danced with The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Vienna Staatsoper Ballet and The Washington Ballet. She became a Principal Dancer of Hong Kong Ballet in 2018.


Villa has performed almost all lead roles in classical ballets including Coppélia, Alice in Wonderland, The Snow Queen, Romeo and Juliet, Etude and many others. She toured in Italy in 2014 performing Luigi Martelletta’s Carmen and guest performed the Sugar Plum Fairy in Cincinnati Ballet’s The Nutcracker.


Villa was nominated for Spotlight Award, Female Artist (Classical) of the UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards 2007. She won the Grand Prix at the Vignale Ballet Competition at age 17 and English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Award in 2009.


Ashleigh Bennett, Corps de Ballet Member

Born in Sydney, Australia, Ashleigh Bennett trained at The Australian Ballet School and completed The Queensland Ballet’s Pre-Professional Programme. She danced with The Australian Ballet, The Queensland Ballet and West Australian Ballet before joining Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2018. 


Bennett has danced in Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet, David Nixon’s Beauty and the Beast and The Great Gatsby, George Balanchine’s Serenade, Who Cares and Concerto Barocco and Anna Lopez-Ochoa’s Zip Zap Zoom, to name a few.


Zoe Roberts, Corps de Ballet Member

Born in Malvern, Australia, Zoe Roberts graduated from The Royal Ballet School. She danced with Heinz Spoerli Zurich Ballett, Ballett Zurich, National Ballet of Portugal and Ballett Magdeburg before joining Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2018. 


Roberts’ repertoire includes Fernando Duarte’s Swan Lake and La Bayadère, Christian Spuck’s Romeo and Juliet, Gonzalo Galguera’s Le Corsaire and George Balanchine’s Serenade. She was a finalist at the Youth America Grand Prix in 2010.


Vince Koffijberg, Corps de Ballet Member

Born in Nieuwegein, The Netherlands, Vince Koffijberg trained at Dutch National Ballet Academy and The Royal Ballet School. He joined Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2018. 


With Dutch National Ballet, Koffijberg has danced in Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty, John Neumeier’s Lady of the Camellias, Rudi Van Dantzig’s Swan Lake and Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella, among others.


Leung Sze Chai Cindy, Apprentice

Born in Hong Kong, Leung Sze Chai Cindy received several scholarships and graduated The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with honours with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. She joined Hong Kong Ballet as an Apprentice in 2018. 


Leung danced with the Company in Nina Ananiashvili’s Don Quixote and John Meehan's Swan Lake. She received gold awards at the Open Dance Contest in Hong Kong in 2016 and 2017.


DOWNLOAD PRESS PHOTOS 

[Click on the photo to download full image]

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Photo 1: Luis Torres, Ballet Master
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Photo 2: Yuh Egami, Corps de Ballet Member / Assistant Ballet Master
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Photo 3: Venus Villa, Principal Dancer
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Photo 4: Chen Zhiyao, Soloist
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Photo 5: Xia Jun, Soloist
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Photo 6: Wang Qingxin, Coryphée
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Photo 7: Garry Corpus, Coryphée
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Photo 8: Ashleigh Bennett, Corps de Ballet Member
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Photo 9: Zoe Roberts, Corps de Ballet Member
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Photo 10: Vince Koffijberg, Corps de Ballet Member
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Photo 11: Leung Sze Chai Cindy, Apprentice

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 Septime Webre, 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