Christopher Hampson announces his new direction for Scottish Ballet

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Scottish Ballet’s new artistic director Christpher Hampson has announced a new version of Hansel and Gretel and the first ever production of a full-length Matthew Bourne ballet outside the choreographer’s own company New Adventures.

In his first announcement since taking up the post in August, Hampson outlined his vision for the future of Scottish Ballet. As well as his own choreography, he aims to broaden its repertoire and produce new work in original ways.

He said: “Commissioning new work has been the lifeblood of this company right from its founding director Peter Darrell, and I want to make sure that that remains the lifeblood of this company as we move forward into the next stage.

“We mirror Scotland’s identity in being outward-looking and pioneering in everything we do. Our size and approach means we are adaptable and agile. We will need to be, because I will be bringing to the company a really broad range of choreographic work, which will mean we will have a really wide range of choreographers working with the company.”

Pointing out that the one title missing from the company’s current repertoire is La Sylphide, Hampson announced that it has been granted an exclusive licence to stage Bourne’s reworking of the ballet, Highland Fling, which will tour in April and May 2013. This is the first time that Bourne has given exclusive performance rights for one of his full length works to another company.

Hampson’s first outing for the company will be the first ever large-scale professional full length production of Hansel and Gretel. Using Englebert Humperdinck’s music it is scheduled to tour December 2013 to February 2014. Hampsen will work with community partners to generate ideas for the new ballet, as well as with author Louise Welsh and the Forestry Commission of Scotland.

Among the choreographers announced for future work are Californian Helen Pickett, Canadian Crystal Pite, Royal Ballet soloist Kristen McNally and the 22 year-old James Cousins, winner of the an augural New Adventures Choreography Award. Future acquisitions by the company include additional work from Sir Kenneth MacMillan and the re-introduction of works by Peter Darrell into the repertoire.

Hampson announced that he is hoping to re-establish Scottish Ballet 2, the smaller off-shoot of the professional company and said he is looking forward to developing a closer relationship with the BA modern ballet course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. This will include bringing the Genee International Ballet Competition to Glasgow in 2013, in collaboration with RCS and the Royal Academy of Dance.

Commenting on the company’s current repertoire, Hampson told The Stage: “It is important that, in moving forward, we are also building on my predecessors’ legacies too. All the various directors of the company have all left signature works with the company. We will look to continue presenting those works where appropriate. But we will also look to move the works forward where we feel they have perhaps had enough seasons on the road, and they perhaps need re-visiting by other choreographers. It is a natural progression.”