Introducing Hope Muir
Artistic Director Designate
July 7, 2021
Hope Muir. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.
In January 2022, Hope Muir will return to her hometown of Toronto to lead The National Ballet of Canada into a new era of excellence. She brings curiosity, an instinct for collaboration and an abiding love for new work and the creative process, rooted in her international career as a dancer, guest teacher, stager, rehearsal director and artistic leader. Since 2017, Hope has been Artistic Director of Charlotte Ballet where she has rebuilt the repertoire with new work and underpinned it with a commitment to strong classical training. Resolute in her support of dancers, openminded and ambitious in her programming, Hope is a generous and exciting leader of today.
Hope Muir in an English National Ballet School graduation performance. Photo by Bill Cooper.
Hope fell in love with dance as a child growing up in Toronto, where she saw her first performance by the National Ballet and began her dance training. As a teenager, she relocated to the UK and became a founding student at what was then the official school of London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) under Peter Schaufuss. There, she gained exposure to a wide variety of repertoire and training methods that sparked an enduring fascination with creativity and process.
“I love being in the studio,” she says. “It’s my natural habitat and it’s where I feel the most comfortable.”
Hope charted a 20-year performance career from English National Ballet to Rambert Dance Company under Artistic Director Christopher Bruce CBE and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, where she could work with living choreographers and be more involved in the creative process. She was particularly influenced by Bruce, whose ballet Rooster she staged for the National Ballet in 2008.
“Those experiences were the building blocks for how I manage a company today,” she says. “It’s about supporting dancers and providing that safe space, that autonomy, the opportunity to celebrate their differences, and to invest in the work with their own perspectives.”
Hope Muir and Artists of the Ballet. Photo by Jeff Cravotta. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Ballet.
When Hope retired from performing, she seized every opportunity to delve deeper into studio and company life and further expand on her experiences. She became a highly sought-after guest teacher and rehearsal director, working for Ballet BC under Emily Molnar and assisting Crystal Pite on the creation of Emergence for the National Ballet in 2009. Hope joined Scottish Ballet as a member of the artistic staff in 2009 and was promoted to Assistant Artistic Director under Christopher Hampson in 2015.
“At all of these different points in my career, I have sought after the new and welcomed the next challenge,” she says. “I have always been intrigued by both the risk takers and pioneers and am grateful for all the incredible artists that have inspired my journey thus far.”
When Hope took the helm at Charlotte Ballet in 2017, she put her passion into programming, introducing eight new choreographic voices and five new ballets in her first season alone. She also launched the company’s first Choreographic Lab, nurtured a culture of care for her dancers and upheld an exacting foundation in classical training.
Hope Muir in rehearsal. Photo by Jeff Cravotta. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Ballet.
Now poised to assume the artistic leadership of The National Ballet of Canada, Hope says she is ready to find her place within an organization she has long admired.
“My hopes and ambitions for The National Ballet of Canada are to continue the standard of excellence that has been built over the years, cultivate new voices and choreographers, curate a repertoire unlike any in the world, educate our audiences, provide access and have an inclusive, supportive, encouraging working environment. I just want the company to continue to go from strength to strength.”
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