By Terence Womble
BalletMet Columbus has announced that 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).
About BalletMet Columbus
BalletMet Columbus, renowned for its versatility and innovative repertory, ranks among the nation’s largest dance companies. Its Dance Academy, founded in 1980, ranks among the top five largest dance-training centers in the country, offering over 250 classes each week to students ages 4 to 84.
Since its inception in 1978, BalletMet Columbus has added 154 company premieres to its repertoire and produced 142 world premieres.
It has also developed DanceReach, a series of educational and outreach programs that serve nearly 30,000 people annually. The DanceReach program also offers up to 70 scholarships each year to talented youth, many from minority and underserved groups.
BalletMet Columbus stages 60 to 70 performances each year at home and on tour. BalletMet Columbus has toured 28 U.S. states and countries such as Russia, Poland, Egypt, Spain and Canada.