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THE SCOOP | National Ballet Of Canada Names Hope Muir As Artistic Director Effective 2022

By Anya Wassenberg on July 7, 2021

Hope Muir (Photo: Todd Rosenberg)
Hope Muir (Photo: Todd Rosenberg)

After a two-year search that spanned the globe, the National Ballet of Canada announced the appointment of Toronto-born Hope Muir as Artistic Director. The position takes effect on January 1, 2022.

Muir is succeeding Karen Kain, whose storied tenure as AD came to a close on June 30, 2021. Kain has been named the company’s Artistic Director Emerita.

“I am thrilled to be the next Artistic Director of this wonderful company,” said Ms. Muir in a media release. “I am humbled to be following in the footsteps of Karen Kain and so grateful to her for the support and kindness she has shown me as I move into this role. The National Ballet of Canada is one of the world’s leading companies with a roster of brilliant dancers and a rich and unique repertoire. I look forward to continuing the standard of excellence that has been built over many years and to cultivating an inclusive, supportive environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.”

It’s not Muir’s first contact with the NBC. In 2009, she worked with choreographer Crystal Pite in creating her work Emergence for the company. In 2008, she premiered Christopher Bruce’s Rooster with the company. She also worked with NBC dancers as a guest teacher in 2011.

NBC Executive Director Barry Hughson commented in a media release.

“Throughout her more than 30-year career as a dancer, teacher and director, Hope has always been motivated by a desire to move the artform of ballet forward, to cultivate new voices and to challenge dancers to expand their artistry. These values perfectly align with The National Ballet of Canada and I know the entire company will welcome her with open arms.”

As its new Artistic Director, Muir joins a distinguished list of key figures who have held the position previously, each of whom have left a distinctive mark on the dance world, including founder Celia Franca (1951 – 1974, 1975 – 1976), Erik Bruhn (1983 – 1986), and James Kudelka (1996 – 2005).

Past Meets Present

Muir spent her childhood in Toronto, and began her dance lessons in the city. Her first performance was in the National Ballet of Canada’s The Nutcracker. She went on to study tap and jazz dance in addition to ballet.

Her family moved to the UK when she was a teenager, where she continued her dance training.

Career Highlights

  • Muir was a founding member of Peter Schaufuss’s London Festival Ballet School.
  • When she graduated, she joined the company, now known as the English National Ballet.
  • She joined Rambert Dance Company in London under Christopher Bruce CBE in 1994.
  • In 2004, she made the move to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
  • After a 20-year career as a dancer and performer, she turned her talent and experience in both classical and contemporary technique to teaching and directing.
  • Muir has become a sought-after guest teacher and director who has worked with the English National Ballet, Rambert Dance Company and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company.
  • She has also taken on a variety of other roles in major dance companies, including acting as rehearsal assistant for Hofesh Shechter’s Untouchable at the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden.
  • She was assistant artistic director of the Scottish Ballet in Glasgow, Scotland from 2015 until 2017.
  • Muir became Artistic Director of the Charlotte Ballet (fourth to hold the position) in 2017.
  • As AD at Charlotte Ballet, she commissioned 12 world premieres and presented six U.S. premieres.

The Future

Muir told the CBC that she was hoping to diversify the NBC’s repertoire.

“I hope to mentor some new, exciting voices choreographically, either from within the company or Canada at large,” she said.

“I think also to just look for some new and interesting stories that we can adapt into the world of ballet that resonate and connect more closely to our audiences and community.”

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