The Richmond Ballet is going to China in 2015.
In a press conference today in the Old House Chamber at the Virginia Capitol, Gov. Terry McAuliffe welcomed members of the Chinese embassy from Washington and heralded the cultural exchange relationship between China and Virginia.
For the ballet, now in its 30th season, this will be their second international trip, having performed to critical acclaim at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre in London in 2012. In China, they will perform the same program, “Made in the USA: Traditions and Innovations” during the 15th annual “Meet in Bejing.”
“China is already the largest customer of Virginia’s agricultural and forestry products and one of our state’s largest trade partners. The country also is a top 15 global investor in Virginia,” said McAuliffe. “The Ballet’s “Road to China” initiative provides an opportunity to continue an open and collaborative dialogue that could set the stage for future partnerships between our two countries.”
Lu Kang, minister and deputy chief of mission from the embassy of the People’s Republic of China, characterized the annual festival as one of the premiere arts events in China.
The Richmond Ballet will also host two Chinese dancers from the National Ballet of China in Feb. 2015, who will join a production of “Don Quixote.” The ballet’s artistic director, Stoner Winslet, called the production a “colorful” event while praising the ability of dance to cross cultural divides as an “international language.”
Also she noted that the ballet is kicking off a year of China-themed programming in the fall with its Minds in Motion community outreach program, which consists of fourth graders in Richmond and Charlottesville. The series will include the organization’s annual gala scheduled for Feb. 28, 2015, honoring the Chinese New Year.
Richmond Ballet dancers Valerie Tellman and Thomas Garrett said they are extremely excited to visit another culture again and feel the energy of a foreign crowd.
“When I came to the ballet ten years ago nothing like this was happening,” said Garrett. “It just means the Richmond Ballet is becoming much better known.”
“Road to China” co-chairs Selina Rainey and Pamela Reynolds were also in attendance, along with representatives from the Ballet’s board and major supporters.