Unassuming audience members were in for a shock when 12 male dancers from Scottish Ballet performed Angelin Preljocaj's MC 14/22 (Ceci est mon corps) at the 2016 Edinburgh International Festival. The work explores virility and violence through a series of biblical allusions. Striking in its harshness and punishing physicality, it at times seemed almost cruel to inflict upon the dancers, who performed with a vicious beauty. But artistic director Christopher Hampson chose the contemporary piece for its thought-provoking, emotional impact. As the Scottish Ballet's repertoire keeps growing, Hampson continues to challenge the typical notions of ballet.
He established himself as a dancer and then as a choreographer for the English National Ballet, subsequently choreographing for Royal New Zealand Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and The Royal Ballet. In 2012, the Manchester native became the artistic director of Scotland's national dance company, in Glasgow, and incorporated the position of chief executive director in 2015.
Fresh off the heels of Aurélie Dupont's appointment as artistic director at the Paris Opéra Ballet, and Julie Kent's appointment to the same position at The Washington Ballet, further changes are hitting the ballet world.
This morning Johan Kobborg, international star and director of the National Ballet of Romania, tweeted that his name had been removed from the company's web page listing artistic staff. It's now, strangely, listed under "Artists"—the equivalent of the corps de ballet.
— johan kobborg (@KOBBORG) April 5, 2016
Indeed, the only name currently listed for company management is interim general manager Tiberiu-Ionuț Soare. As of yesterday, Kobborg was two years into a four-year contract and had instigated upgrades to the company's repertoire and physical infrastructure. In December, 2015, Kobborg and his on- and offstage partner, the iconic Romanian ballerina Alina Cojucaru, organized a gala to raise awareness for the company. Neither the company nor Kobborg have yet responded to inquiries about the situation.
Additionally Ballet Nacional Sodre artistic director and former American Ballet Theatre star Julio Bocca is taking an undefined leave of absence from the company. In a statement, he wrote that it was "not a goodbye, but a see-you-later." Sofía Sajac, who Bocca describes as his "right hand," will step into the leadership position during his absence. Reasons for his leave aren't clear. Argentine newspaper La Nación reported that Bocca had faced bureaucratic obstacles, including union protests (follow the link for reporting in Spanish).
In happier news, Scottish Ballet assistant artistic director Hope Muir has been selected as Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux's successor at Charlotte Ballet. Her tenure begins in July, 2017.