Press Release: Atlanta Ballet Announces China Tour for Fall 2013


Press Release

Ballet Adds Fall China Tour to 13-14 Season

Company to Perform for China’s Inaugural “International Ballet Season”

First Major International Tour in More Than 10 Years

ATLANTA – (September 30, 2013) A special addition has been made to Atlanta Ballet’s 13-14 performance season.

The 84-year-old company has announced that it will now begin its upcoming season with a two-week tour to China - its first major international tour in more than 10 years.*

Atlanta Ballet artistic director John McFall shared the news during the Company’s “Welcome to the Season” event, Friday, Sept. 27.  

The Ballet will join 11 other companies from around the world for China’s inaugural “International Ballet Season” hosted by the National Ballet of China. The Company, represented by 19 of its 26 professional dancers, will depart Atlanta Tuesday, Oct. 29 for the engagement, which will include seven performances at various venues throughout Beijing, China. Their return is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 11.

As the sole representative from the United States, the Company has titled the program “Atlanta Ballet presents Dance from America,” which will feature four distinct works chosen to reflect the Ballet’s broad repertoire and the versatility of its artists:

  • Pas de deux from George Balanchine’s patriotic “Stars & Stripes”
  • Christopher Wheeldon’s neo-classical “Rush”
  • Atlanta Ballet resident choreographer Helen Pickett’s “Prayer of Touch”
  • The wedding night pas de deux from Stanton Welch’s “Madame Butterfly”

“We are honored to have the extraordinary opportunity to visit China and represent our city and state abroad,” said Atlanta Ballet artistic director John McFall. “The birth of this festival speaks volumes about the energy, enthusiasm and vision of the Chinese dance community, and we are thrilled to be at the forefront of the movement. We are also looking forward to being a part of the rich exchange of ideas and culture. I’m positive that our time there will impact the Company in profound ways, and it’s inspiring to know that we’ll be able to bring those experiences back to our patrons.”

McFall has been a proponent of touring since joining Atlanta Ballet in 1994. However, travel slowed in recent years as the Company focused more on projects and affairs at home. The China engagement will be the Company’s first major international presentation since performing McFall’s “Peter Pan” in London in 1999 – the centerpiece for the Royal Festival Halls’ Millennium Celebration. Despite the hiatus, touring has remained a priority. Strategic touring has now become a major component of Atlanta Ballet’s current 5-year plan, which was adopted in 2010.

“This opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time for the organization,” said Atlanta Ballet executive director Arturo Jacobus. “The Company has evolved significantly since our last trip overseas, and we feel poised to reintroduce ourselves to the international dance community. The last five years, especially, have allowed us to strengthen our foundation as an organization and sharpen our focus artistically. We’ve brought the world to Atlanta, now it’s time to once again share Atlanta Ballet with the world.”

Although this will be Atlanta Ballet’s first trip to China, the Company will join a long list of representatives from the city and state that have traveled east.

The relationship began in 2006 when then-Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce traveled to China on a global outreach mission to raise awareness of the region in the market. The trip was a success and interactions and visits have remained frequent since. 

In early 2012, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed traveled to China with leaders from more than 20 Atlanta companies “seeking to learn how to do business in China.” Most recently, in August of this year, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and a delegation traveled to meet with prominent members of government and corporate communities to explore business, trade and tourism opportunities.

“I am pleased that Atlanta’s relationship with China continues to flourish and that Atlanta Ballet will represent our great city and nation during their performances in Beijing,” said Mayor Reed. “I salute Atlanta Ballet for participating in this cultural exchange that will continue to foster our relationship with China.”

"The arts is an integral part of our region's economic development efforts,” said Jorge Fernandez, Vice President of Global Commerce for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. “Not only is the arts a very robust industry in Atlanta contributing to job creation, but also significantly enhancing our region's quality of life - one of the top five reasons why companies choose Atlanta for their U.S. operations. China is a priority market for Metro Atlanta Chamber and all of Georgia. Having Atlanta Ballet travel to China is a great way to tell the story of Atlanta to the important Chinese market." 

For more information on Atlanta Ballet’s tour to China, visit

Upon returning from China, Atlanta Ballet will officially begin its 13-14 season in December with “Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker” at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. The season will continue in February at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre with the Atlanta Ballet premiere of Jean-Christophe Maillot’s “Roméo et Juliette” followed by “Modern Choreographic Voices” in March, “Hamlet” in April and “MAYhem” as the season finale in May. For additional information on the 13-14 season, including ticket information, visit


*Atlanta Ballet traveled to Nuevo Leon, Mexico in October 2008 for a limited two-day engagement of “Swan Lake” at the Instituto Technologico de Monterrey. 

About Atlanta Ballet

Founded in 1929, Atlanta Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the country and the official state Ballet of Georgia. Atlanta Ballet's eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals. After 84 years, Atlanta Ballet continues its commitment to share and educate audiences on the empowering joy of dance. In 1996, Atlanta Ballet opened the Centre for Dance Education and is dedicated to nurturing young dancers while providing an outlet for adults to express their creativity. The Centre serves over 150,000 people in metro Atlanta each year. Atlanta Ballet's roots remain firmly grounded in the Atlanta community and continue to play a vital role in the city's cultural growth and revitalization. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @atlantaballet, and like us on Facebook at