Edwaard Liang came to Columbus with some big, red shoes to fill, and a month into the job, he’s already putting plans in place to do just that.
Liang started July 1 as the new artistic director for BalletMet. He is the fifth artistic director in the company’s history, taking over for Gerard Charles, who left last summer after 11 years as BalletMet’s red-boots-wearing artistic director.
Before beginning his career in choreography, Liang danced with the New York City Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater, and was a member of the 2001 Tony Award-winning Broadway cast of Fosse.
As a choreographer, Liang has created original works for the Bolshoi Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Shanghai Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre and many more.
The position of artistic director will be a shift from Liang’s past jobs moving from company to company and choreographing for short periods of time.
“I am excited to be part of the community and feel like I belong somewhere, instead of a consultant moving from place to place without getting to see the fruits of my labor,” says Liang.
In his first season with BalletMet, Liang will be bringing a mix of classical and contemporary works to the company’s repertoire, including a piece he choreographed himself. Wunderland, a contemporary ballet by Liang that premiered in 2009, is scheduled to be part of BalletMet’s Symphony in C show in March.
The versatility of the dancers in the company will allow them to take on new and challenging choreography and adapt to new choreographers, Liang says. He looks forward to coaching them and furthering their careers as artists.
In 2012, Liang created his first full-length ballet, his take on Romeo and Juliet, for the Tulsa Ballet. He plans to continue creating full-length works for BalletMet.
“BalletMet has its own set design shop, which is really rare,” he says. “It has the ability to foster new creations at full lengths.”
Collaborations with organizations in Columbus are also part of Liang’s plans. He wants to work with groups such as the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University, Shadowbox Live and the Jazz Arts Group, all of which the company has worked with in the past.
“I want to bring work to Columbus that the community hasn’t seen before,” says Liang.
Other performances on the 2013-14 calendar include a collaboration with the Cincinnati Ballet on Swan Lake; The Four Seasons: An Evening with James Kudelka, featuring the work of the man who served as artistic consultant for BalletMet between Charles’ departure and Liang’s debut; and perpetual favorites The Nutcracker and Alice in Wonderland.
Hayley Ross is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at email@example.com.