By the end of the summer, two major international ballet companies will have new artistic directors. And they'll both be American.
Today, The Royal New Zealand Ballet announced that current Grand Rapids Ballet artistic director Patricia Barker will take over the company later this month. The former Pacific Northwest Ballet star will succeed Francesco Ventriglia, who announced his resignation in November. We've yet to hear who will be taking over for Barker at Grand Rapids, but for the 2017-2018 season, Barker will be doing double artistic director duty from across the world.
Former Washington Ballet director Septime Webre will also have a lot of his plate this year: In July, he will become artistic director of Hong Kong Ballet, while continuing to set his choreography on companies around the world and serve as artistic director of Halcyon, the DC-based arts incubator and performance series. He will take over from Madeleine Onne, who has led the company since 2009, and is moving on to serve as academy director of Houston Ballet Academy.
Congratulations to two visionary directors on their new positions!