From The Washington Ballet To Hong Kong Ballet: Design Army Continues Their Creative Work With Septime Webre

“Hong Kong Ballet 40th Anniversary Season Brand Video”

Wow, I thought some of the media coverage was clickbait but even being fairly familiar with contemporary ballet I’m pretty blown away by this brand video for the Hong Kong Ballet’s 40th Anniversary Never Stand Still campaign created by Design Army. I have to admit, my knowledge of who’s who in ballet these days is a bit spotty but I’m surprised not to be hearing more about Hong Kong Ballet under the artistic direction of Septime Webre.

Lot of forces involved but my understanding is that the film itself was directed by Dean Alexander. Design Army’s creative chief Pum Lefebure discusses the process:

“The art direction of the film in many ways grew out of the architecture…It has a distinct characteristic and color with cotton-candy-like pastels bright against the sky. Out of this grew production design and even sound…”

“Design Army sketched every piece, and these sketches became our bible. We were juggling conversations with the choreographer, the director, stylists, music designers and prop stylists—and also in talks with the client on how to break through and do something bigger, to bring in humor, to push further in making this accessible.”

“Wheeldon, Ratmansky, McIntyre and The Beatles”

I assume that Hong Kong Ballet’s Ballet in the City activities are also part of the 40th Anniversary. Checking out that page and the 2019/20 Season one sees a lot of visual style similar to the brand video. The above video featuring ballets to The Beatles music is from 2018. That’s the year Design Army began working with Hong Kong Ballet on Never Stand Still which is actually a 2018/19 campaign. Septime Webre took charge in 2017 after an extended tenure with The Washington Ballet.

“The Washington Ballet presents Sleepy Hollow”

The connection between Design Army and Septime Webre goes back to his days at The Washington Ballet. Design Army’s work for The Washington Ballet is also quite distinctive with a rather different tone including a commemorative book for Wonderland. They also created the above promo video for Sleepy Hollow which actually was posted on a previous iteration of DanceLand. Great to see their continuing collaborative efforts!

Clyde F. Smith

DanceLand founder Clyde F. Smith has a BFA and MA in Dance from UNC-Greensboro and a PhD in Cultural Studies from The Ohio State University. In addition to staging his own works, Clyde performed with NC's New Performing Dance Company and San Francisco's The High Risk Group. Clyde returned to performing in 2015 with an improvisational project called Working Sessions.

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