The Arts

Septime Webre

Photo Amanda Kho

Artistic director Septime Webre is pushing the Hong Kong Ballet forward into a new era of innovation

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Septime Webre wears any number of hats in the ballet world—ballet director, choreographer, dancer, educator and more. An instrumental figure in the global revival of narrative ballet, Webre has been the artistic director of the Hong Kong Ballet since 2017. He has quickly become known for innovative productions that adapt classic works with a local context, such as his Romeo and Juliet, reimagined in the style of 1960s Hong Kong. The company also made a triumphant return to the stage in 2021 with George Balanchine’s Jewels, a notoriously challenging piece.

Originally from the US, although his early years were spent largely in the Bahamas, Webre previously spent 17 years as artistic director of the Washington Ballet, where he first established his reputation for innovation and for increasing community engagement. Before that he spent six years in the same role at the American Repertory Ballet. His predecessor at the Hong Kong Ballet was Madeleine Onne, who had been the director from 2009 until Webre took over in 2017.

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Coming from a large Cuban-American family that stressed academic achievement over artistic pursuits, Septime Webre practised ballet in his spare time while officially studying law at the University of Texas at Austin. 

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