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SOUTHPARK MAGAZINE – On Pointe

July 1, Charlotte Ballet’s newly appointed artistic director, Hope Muir takes over the creative helm following the retirement of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux.

Muir comes to Charlotte from the role of assistant artistic director for the Scottish Ballet in Glasgow. She danced with English National Ballet before joining Rambert Dance Company, where she danced for more than 10 years under the direction of Christopher Bruce. Muir concluded her stage career in 2006 as a dancer with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.  Her many collaborations include work with The National Ballet of Canada, The Royal Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Ballet BC. 

How did you evaluate Charlotte Ballet in terms being the right opportunity for you?

I looked at the company first, the repertoire, the teaching staff, the artistic staff, the commitment to choreographers, and mentorship. I thought it would be irresponsible to make an application having never been to the city and never seen the company. I came here on a sneaky (unannounced) visit to see what (Charlotte Ballet) was all about. My visit was during their gala and fundraising event so I also got to see how they functioned in a fundraising capacity and was impressed.

What did you find?

Charlotte impressed me with its potential – I like having the time to build and widen the repertoire and improve the dancers’ skills.  I look at the quality and level of performance here and feel like it’s a place where I can easily fit into and be effective. I feel a pride in the city. I came during Super Bowl run and felt that pride and understand people feel the same sense of pride for the arts here and want to be recognized on the world stage.

What was a good fit for my skills and interests is the balance of classical and contemporary. The women still get on pointe – that’s a skill I had in my career – and one that if Nutcracker is a feature yearly for the company, then this needs to be maintained. This already tells me what’s underpinning the organization – a commitment to classical training – I love this because good technique and good training underpins all we do.

What can Charlotte look forward to under your artistic leadership?

Part of my three-year plan is to get the company known outside of Charlotte. With my contacts and international presence, I’d like to see the company touring. There’s already been international interest expressed in having the company tour. I’m really excited about some planned collaborations with Charlotte Symphony Orchestra – I have two upcoming projects with Christopher Warren-Green. He expressed interest in a rite of spring project, which we’ll be doing later this year and then Charlotte Ballet will be on the Symphony’s spring season.

How should Charlotte Ballet be regarded?

We’re always going to present the highest quality performance – whether it be the poetic family shows like the Nutcracker or something else fabulous we bring in. We’re also strong at retelling stories and will have our own narrative, through the development of the dancers through their artistry and quality level of performance, that will become synonymous with Charlotte Ballet.

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