Ou Lu Hangs Up His Ballet Slippers
Ou Lu Hangs Up His Ballet Slippers To Take Up Behind The Scenes Role
The Royal New Zealand Ballet today announced that Ou Lu – once described by a critic as “quite simply one of the finest ballet dancers in the world” – has retired from dance. He will remain with the company to take up the position of Assistant Director.
Lu says that it is with a twinge of sadness that for the first time in a decade of RNZB performances, he will not take a curtain call when the company opens its new production next month, The Meridian Energy Season of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
“I’ll miss the glory of the performance, especially when Hunchback is going to be such a great show. But I started to train when I was 12 and I’m 40 now –I decided it was time to move on," he says.
“I’m delighted to take up the position of Assistant Director. For the last couple of years I’ve been combining the roles of dancer and ballet master, now with this new job I’ve completed the transition,” he says.
Artistic Director Gary Harris says the RNZB is delighted Lu will remain within the company fold: “Lu is a top man and we’re lucky to have him. Though, a dancer’s days are numbered, a teacher’s aren’t,” he says.
“I know that the company’s in good hands with Lu. He is a brilliant teacher and well respected by the company and throughout the profession for his quiet, efficient and good-humoured approach.”
As a dancer, Lu’s dazzling showmanship and technical brilliance saw him become one of this country’s favourite adopted sons. He first came to the attention of New Zealand audiences following a guest appearance in the 1988 company’s season of Romeo and Juliet. In 1992 Lu accepted a permanent position with the company, dancing the leading roles in virtually all the company’s productions until his retirement.
Lu’s contribution to New Zealand dance was recognised in 2001 where he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to ballet. He has also received awards from the Chinese Ministry of Culture for his contribution to Chinese culture in 1986 and 1990 and won several awards in international ballet competitions.