Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today that the Richmond Ballet, The State Ballet of Virginia, has accepted an invitation to perform at the 15th annual ‘Meet in Beijing’ Arts Festival in Beijing, China at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in May 2015.
The trip will mark the Ballet’s first journey to Asia, and the organization’s second international tour, following a successful run at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre in London, England in June 2012. The Ballet’s Road to China initiative will also include a series of cultural exchange programs that will celebrate Chinese culture in the United States throughout the 2014-15 season, fostering further economic ties between China and the United States.
“The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long-standing, productive, and mutually beneficial relationship with China, one built solidly on the economic pillars of trade and investment,” said Governor McAuliffe. “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. 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. This is exciting and promising for citizens of the Commonwealth and my administration.”
The announcement was made at the Virginia State Capitol in the honored company of dignitaries from Washington, D.C., including Mr. Lu Kang, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, the second highest ranking Chinese diplomat in the United States, and Ms. Li Hong, the Minister Counselor from the Embassy’s Office of Cultural Affairs, along with Richmond Ballet Artistic Director Stoner Winslett, Road to Chinaco-chairs Selina Rainey and Pamela Reynolds, representatives from the Ballet’s Board, Richmond Ballet dancers and major supporters.
“On behalf of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Washington, DC, I am proud to officially welcome Richmond Ballet as one of the celebrated performers expected to take the stage for the 15th annual ‘Meet in Beijing’ Festival,” said Mr. Lu Kang. “Cultural exchanges such as the Road to China program advance mutual understanding and help substantiate the new model of major country relationship envisioned by President Xi Jinping and President Obama at their Sunnylands’ meeting last year. The Chinese Embassy encourages strengthened exchange and cooperation in all fields between Virginia and China and will do its best to provide assistance.”
The Ballet’s year-long Road to China programs, which will celebrate Chinese culture in the United States throughout the 2014-15 Season, incorporate many facets including the arrival of two guest artists from the world-renowned National Ballet of China who will share the stage with Richmond Ballet dancers during the company’s February performances of Don Quixote. ‘China’ will also be the theme for the Ballet’s community outreach program, Minds In Motion, in both Richmond and Charlottesville. Additionally, Richmond Ballet plans to schedule a series of events designed to encourage diverse communities across Virginia to become more engaged in movement, dance and Richmond Ballet. This series will include the organization’s annual gala scheduled for February 28, 2015, honoring the Chinese New Year.
“This represents an exciting new horizon for us here at the Ballet,” said Ms. Winslett. “The chance to explore a fascinating interesting culture, so historic and majestic, and of course so different from our own, is an opportunity I know our dancers cherish. I am so proud to take first steps along this Road to China, as we seek to share the power of dance and its special ability to communicate and connect our souls when words fail us.”
Now celebrating its 30th professional season, Richmond Ballet is known today as one of the nation’s leading mid-size ballet companies. Under the direction of longtime artistic director Stoner Winslett, Richmond Ballet is recognized both nationally and internationally for the strength of its dancers and for its culture of cultivating new ballets while preserving classic traditions. The Ballet’s founding mission, to awaken and uplift the human spirit, both for audiences and artists, continues to be infused in all three of the Ballet’s areas of focus, including its professional company, its school, and its community outreach program, Minds In Motion. For more information on Richmond Ballet and its classes and programs, please visit www.richmondballet.com or call 804.344.0906.