Kinsun Chan © Urs Bucher

Kinsun Chan, new Ballet Director of the Semperoper Ballett starting 2024/25 season

Kinsun Chan will become Artistic Director of the Semperoper Ballett at the start of the 2024/25 season. He succeeds Aaron S. Watkin, who will move to the English National Ballet at the beginning of the coming season after 17 years in Dresden. Kinsun Chan’s contract will initially run for four seasons until the 2027/28 season. In the 2023/24 season, Marcelo Gomes as Artistic Manager and Adi Luick as Company Manager will assume joint responsibility for the Semperoper Ballett.

Kinsun Chan, currently director of the dance company at Theater St. Gallen, is a diversely trained artist with an extensive interest in the Arts.His choreographic works have been performed by Basel Ballet, Zurich Ballet, Hanover State Opera Ballet, Gauthier Dance Company, Singapore Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, John Cranko School, Ballet Stuttgart for the Noverre Society and as part of the Heinz-Bosl-Foundation-performances, among others. Kinsun Chan was engaged for many years as a soloist with the Ballet Zurich (director: Heinz Spoerli) and the Basel Ballet (director: Richard Wherlock). He has danced in the classical repertoire as well as in works by Jiří Kylián, William Forsythe, Nacho Duato and Hans van Manen, among others. His artistic work also extends to the creation of costumes and stage sets. In addition, he has held numerous teaching positions and jury activities, e.g. at the Prix de Lausanne. Kinsun Chan is also active as a visual artist and graphic designer.

Kinsun Chan is aware of the challenge and potential of his new task: “Dresden is a city so rich and inspiring in history and culture. The Semperoper is a place of living traditions, artistic excellence and great creative opportunities. The Semperoper Ballett is one of the world’s leading companies due to its artistic diversity, its extensive repertoire from classical to modern and its outstanding dancers. To strengthen on the already excellent reputation and further develop the high level that Aaron S. Watkin has established over years of outstanding work, and to continue a unique artistic profile, is a wonderful task that I am very much looking forward to.”

Nora Schmid, designated General Director of the Semperoper Dresden from the 2024/25 season, looks forward to the collaboration: “With Kinsun Chan, we have gained an artist with an interdisciplinary interest for the ballet direction who, based on his extensive artistic experience, will further develop the Semperoper Ballett and lead it into an exciting promising future. His conceptual thinking, his reflected, level-headed, comprehensive perspective on the complex artistic processes have convinced me. I am very much looking forward to shaping the artistic profile of the Semperoper together with him as a partner from the 2024/25 season.”

Wolfgang Rothe, the Managing Director of the Saxon State Theaters, welcomes Kinsun Chan’s move to Dresden: “When the current ballet director Aaron S. Watkin decided to take on a new challenge at the English National Ballet, I was saddened, as he has shaped the Semperoper Ballett into one of the world’s leading ballet companies. But because nothing is as constant as change, especially in the theater, we now welcome Kinsun Chan with open arms. He has gained valuable experience in many different places, which predestines him to set new accents in Dresden and to ideally complement the artistic leadership team.”

The Swiss-Canadian choreographer and designer, Kinsun Chan, began his studies in Art and Graphic Design, entering the ballet world at a late age. He started his professional dance career in America and came to Europe when he was invited to join the Zürich Ballet and later the Basel Ballet. He performed many soloist roles from renown choreographers such as Kylián, Forsythe, Duato, Spoerli, Van Manen, Wherlock and Wubbe. His first choreography was created at the Zürich Ballet for the platform “Young choreographers”. Soon after he was invited to choreograph for the “Noverre Society” at the Stuttgart Ballet. His choreographies have been performed internationally by the Basel Ballet, Singapore Ballet, Tiroler Landestheater, Luzerner Theater, Hong Kong Ballet, Hannover Ballet, Staatstheater Kassel, Royal Ballet School of Antwerp, John Cranko School, Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, as part of the programmes of Heinz-Bosl-Foundation and the Tanz Akademie Zürich. His creation for the Hong Kong Ballet was invited to the Jacobs Pillow Festival (USA) and Festival des arts de Saint-Sauveur (Québec, Canada). As of the 2019/20 season, he became the director of the Tanzkompanie Theater St. Gallen. From 2024/25 onwards he will be the director of the Semperoper Ballett.