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[Hong Kong – 24th April 2014] The Hong Kong Ballet’s artistic excellence has just been confirmed with the nomination of two of the Company’s dancers for the Prix Benois de la Danse, an award often referred to as “the Oscars of the ballet world”.
Two of The Hong Kong Ballet’s most outstanding Soloists, Liu Yu-yao and Shen Jie have been nominated for their performances as Valencienne in The Merry Widow, and as Pao Yu in The Dream of the Red Chamber respectively.
Each year, a jury is appointed from all over the world for the Prix Benois. The judges receive performance DVDs of all the nominated artists – dancers, choreographers and designers – and in May of each year they gather at the historic Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia to vote anonymously. Since 2003 the award ceremony has become something of a festival; all of the nominees are invited to perform in the STARS OF BENOIS DE LA DANSE gala while the votes are counted, so that a lucky audience gets to see the crème de la crème of the ballet world, all on one stage. This year’s award ceremony will take place on 27th May 2014. Proceeds from the gala are given to veteran needy dancers.
Artistic Director of The Hong Kong Ballet, Madeleine Onne said “It’s such a great honour for Yu-yao and Shen Jie to be nominated for this award, it absolutely confirms their excellence both technically and artistically.”
Born in Sichuan, Liu Yu-yao graduated from the Beijing Dance Academy in 2005. She joined the Hong Kong Ballet as Corps de Ballet in the same year and was promoted to Soloist in 2010.
In 2000, she won silver in the junior group of the 7th Peach & Plum Cup Dance Competition, which is one of the highest-level dance competitions in China. Recently, Liu was awarded a Hong Kong Dance Award 2010 by the Hong Kong Dance Alliance for her outstanding performance as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.
In 2010, she was invited to perform a pas de deux from Coppélia and In Light and Shadow at the Queensland Ballet 50th Anniversary International Gala in Australia. She has performed principal parts in many of the company's productions, including Allegro Brillante, The Dream of the Red Chamber, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.
Born in Zhejiang, Shen Jie started his ballet training at Zhejiang Vocational Academy of Art, then went on to Study at Guangzhou Dance School and The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He joined The Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2007. He was promoted to Coryphée in 2012 and Soloist in 2013. He has performed lead roles in many of the Company’s productions, including Fritz in The Nutcracker, Blue Bird in The Sleeping Beauty, Young Uncle Tak in Firecracker, the male lead in Castrati by Nacho Duato, Peasant Pas de Deux from Giselle, the title role in The Frog Prince – A Ballet Chinois, Camille in The Merry Widow and the principal role in The Dream of the Red Chamber.
About the Prix Benois de la Danse
BENOIS DE LA DANSE international ballet prize was founded by the International Dance Association in Moscow in 1991. The Prize is awarded for the outstanding achievements of any kind, any form and any genre in the field of dance performance during the past year. The President of the International Dance Union – Professor Yuri Grigorovich – is the head of the project and of the BENOIS DE LA DANSE Jury.
Among the first jurors were Galina Ulanova, Rudolf Nureyev and Kirsten Ralov; Yvette Chauvire, Carla Fracci and John Neumeier.
Among the laureates are choreographers: J. Neumeier, J. Kylian, R. Petit, A. Preljocaj, C. Carlson, D. Bombana, N. Duato, W. Forsythe, P. Lightfoot - S. Leon, A. Ratmansky, B. Eifman, J.-Ch. Maillot, W. McGregor, J. Elo, L. Lubovitch; dancers N. Gracheva, S. Guillem, I. Guerin, D. Khalfouni, U. Lopatkina, D. Vishneva, M.C. Pietragalla, E. Platel, J. Kent, A. Ferri, A. Cojocaru, M.A. Gillot, S. Zakharova, A. Letestu, T. Rojo, S. Azzoni, N. Osipova, B. Coppieters; J. Bocca, N. Le Riche, M. Legris, I. Moukhamedov, V. Malakhov, G.Seyffert, F. Rouzimatov, N. Tsiscaridze, A. Corella, J. Gerodias, L. Riggins, L. Hilaire, M. Ganio, H. Moreau, Wang Di, C. Akosta, M. Gomes, J.de Luz, I. Vasiliev, D. Hallberg, M. Heymann. The composers George Couroupos and Michel Legrand and designers Olivier Debré, Jaffar Al Chalabi and Carlos Gallardo were also awarded the prize.
The BENOIS DE LA DANSE - Lifetime Achievement was awarded to Alicia Alonso, Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen, Marina Semenova, Maurice Bejart, Michael Baryshnikov, Trisha Brown, Mats Ek, Fernando Alonso, Ohad Naharin, Toer van Schajk, Pierre Lacotte and the designers Jurgen Rose and Peter Farmer.
Since 2002 BENOIS DE LA DANSE has been financially supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, and enjoys a close partnership with the Bolshoi Theatre.
One of the premier classical ballet companies in Asia, The Hong Kong Ballet is becoming internationally recognised as a world-class institution that represents Hong Kong’s unique character. November 2013 marked the 35th anniversary of The Hong Kong Ballet, a Company that has evolved into a vibrant performing arts organisation with accomplished dancers, a strong repertoire, and sparkling, technically challenging productions.
The Company’s artistic team is led by Artistic Director Madeleine Onne, with over 40 dancers originating from all over the world. The Company performs a repertoire that combines classical masterpieces and acclaimed contemporary works from the 19th to 21st centuries, as well as new commissions.
Since 1997, The Hong Kong Ballet has continued to raise its international profile with more than 30 tours. An integral part of the Company’s activities is its extensive education and community outreach programme, which brings the art of ballet to students as well as to the wider community of Hong Kong.
For enquiries, please contact:
Marketing & PR Manager
The Hong Kong Ballet
Tel: +852 2105 9716
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Soloist of The Hong Kong Ballet
Soloist of The Hong Kong Ballet