By Kristy Johnson.
Keian Langdon, Hao Bin and Meng Ningning will join fellow Queensland Ballet dancers Rachael Walsh, Clare Morehen and Christian Tatchev as principal artists for Francois Klaus’ production of Swan Lake this month.
Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer Francois Klaus, is thrilled to have promoted all three dancers. “Keian’s powerful dramatic presence and excellent partnering skills make him an obvious choice for many major roles. To have two international stars of the calibre of Bin and Ningning choose to dance with Queensland Ballet is a compliment to our work in Queensland,” comments Francois.
While Hao and Meng joined the company as soloists after touring with the National Ballet of China, Keian has worked his way up within the company through acceptance into their professional year program in 2005, becoming a trainee dancer with the company in 2006 and as a full company member in 2007. With a standout performance in Klaus’ A Streetcar Named Desire, Keian was promoted to soloist in 2010.
Dance Informa had the pleasure of catching up with Kein, Hao and Meng during rehearsals.
Congratulations on being promoted to principal dancer for the Queensland Ballet. How does it feel?
Oh, it’s very exciting actually. It was really unexpected. It was just in my end of year interview that I found out. I just couldn’t believe it.
It feels very good!
It’s very exciting.
What made you decide to accept the role of principal dancer with the company?
It was an easy choice to make! My dream is to improve step by step every day. I want to bring my best to performing and dancing with Queensland Ballet. We were principals at the National Ballet of China, so it’s lovely to be principals again!
How welcoming has the Queensland Ballet been to you? Are the other dancers supportive and encouraging?
Everyone was really welcoming. The artistic staff are all really nice, friendly, and personable people. Francois and his wife Robyn, who actually runs the professional year program, are really nice, very encouraging and great teachers as well.
All the dancers and team are very supportive. If I ask a question everyone answers really warmly. Everyone is happy to help each other.
Were you already aware of Queensland Ballet’s high reputation and calibre of dancers?
Joining the company was my first experience of Queensland Ballet. I am impressed with how professional everyone is, and how the dancers give their best every time they perform.
I had heard of Queensland Ballet before performing with them. Australia only has three professional ballet companies, and Queensland Ballet is the oldest. When I performed at Queensland Ballet International Gala 2010 I noticed that the dancers and staff were very professional. Everything was perfect.
Well actually, I had never seen a production from the Queensland Ballet until I came here to be a professional year student. I had only heard about the company through my teachers at McDonald College, Sydney. They suggested auditioning for the professional year program, so I didn’t know a lot about the company. I’d heard that it was this great company in Brisbane and I thought I’d just audition and give it a go.
Hao, as a former star of the National Ballet of China, how has your time there prepared you for a career with the Queensland Ballet?
Chinese training brings very clean, correct positions and technique – there’s a real focus on classical positions and style. I hope we can all learn from each other; for example I want to improve my acting skills, which Queensland Ballet dancers are very good at.
Hao, why did you want to come to Australia?
I had been dancing with the National Ballet of China for a while, and wanted the opportunity to see different things and dance in different places.
How excited are you to be performing Swan Lake this December? Have you always adored the work of Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer Francois Klaus?
Very excited. Rehearsals are going well. We started rehearsing about a month ago for that. This will be the third time that I’ve actually performed this production of Swan Lake so I sort of know what to expect, but with the roles you perform there’s always room to improve and make them better than the last time you did them.
I’m really looking forward to Swan Lake. Francois’s version is based on a real story, and I’m looking forward to performing the role of Tsar Nicholas and Prince Siegfried.
Klaus’ lavish production of Swan Lake runs from December 3 -21 at the Playhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre.