National Ballet of Canada appoints Toronto dancer Hope Muir as artistic director
Hope Muir is the new artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada.
The Toronto-born ballet dancer, teacher and principal will succeed Karen Kain, who held the post for 16 years before stepping down last month.
“I am really excited to continue the tradition that I have inherited,” Muir told CBC News. “And also just to explore many different ways to continue to collaborate and push the boundaries of dance to new stories.”
In a statement, the National Ballet announced that Muir will begin his appointment on January 1, 2022, as the next chapter in a 33-year career.
After 20 years on stage, Muir retired from the stage, and her expertise in both classical and contemporary technique made her a much-regarded guest teacher and rehearsal director, the statement said.
She was appointed Deputy Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet in 2015. In 2017, she became Artistic Director of Charlotte Ballet in North Carolina, a position she has held ever since.
In his executive role with the Charlotte Ballet, Muir has commissioned 12 world premieres and presented six US premieres. She has worked several times with the National Ballet of Canada over the past 15 years, including a guest teaching role in 2011.
Muir was born in Toronto and spent her childhood there. It was there that she began her dance training and attended her first performance of a major ballet company: the production of the National Ballet of Canada in Nutcracker.
She said she started very young at a local school and “loved it”, citing a natural affinity for dancing.
“[I] I never really had a moment after that first introduction where I didn’t have a dance in my life in one way or another. “
As a student of ballet, tap and jazz, Muir competed in Toronto, Ontario and the United States.
Now, as she is about to return home and see her family for the first time in over a year, Muir said she was thrilled and overwhelmed by the prospect of leading the National Ballet.
âThe National Ballet and the legacy that Karen built there is just amazing,â Muir said of his predecessor.
“The high level of classical ballet coupled with this truly innovative and exciting contemporary repertoire is … it is simply extraordinary.”
The company’s 2021-2022 season includes performances of classical ballets, such as Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as contemporary shows A tram named DÃ©sir and Atlas of Angels by Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite.
Mental health, diversity are priorities
Recent conversations about the mental and physical health of dancers have led to an increased awareness of the challenges of the discipline of ballet, Muir said.
She expressed her commitment to supporting the well-being of the dancers.
âAt the start of my career it was definitely something that could have been improved,â she said. “[It’s] something that I think I would have appreciated at times when I was younger. “
In 2020, the company announced its commitment to diversity and equity after one of the dancers posted a video criticizing the National Ballet for failing to comment on the anti-racism protests that took place after the murder. by George Floyd in the United States
In one declaration Posted on its website, the organization recognized “the historic inequalities of our art form” and said it seeks “continued partnership with our community and peer institutions around the world to remove real and perceived barriers accessibility and inclusion, while preserving the integrity of the art form and maintaining the highest artistic standards. “
During her tenure as artistic director, Muir says she would like to continue creating a supportive environment that promotes fairness, touring internationally with the company to support Canadian creativity and nurture young talent along the way.
âI hope to mentor exciting new choreographic voices, either within the company or in Canada in general,â she said.
“I’m also thinking about looking for new and interesting stories that we can adapt into the world of ballet that resonate and connect more closely with our audience and our community.”