Washington Ballet School Names Head

Kee-Juan Han has worked in North Carolina, Arizona and Boston.
Kee-Juan Han has worked in North Carolina, Arizona and Boston. (Courtesy Of The Washington School Of Ballet - Courtesy Of The Washington School Of Ballet)
By Sarah Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 8, 2007

Former Boston Ballet soloist Kee-Juan Han, 49, has been named to head the Washington School of Ballet, the institution announced yesterday. He will take over in July, becoming only the third director of the 63-year-old school, founded by the late Mary Day.

Born in Singapore, Han has taught at the North Carolina School of the Arts since 2003. For the decade before that he directed the Arizona Ballet School, training arm of the Arizona Ballet. Among his students there were David Hallberg, now a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, and Washington Ballet member Luis Torres. Han danced with the Boston Ballet for three years, retiring in 1993.

Han fills the position left open by the death in January 2006 of Rebecca Wright. Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre said yesterday: "Han's sense of formality and discipline and focus in the studio is in keeping with the sort of school Mary Day sought to run all those years."

According to Han, his appointment fulfills Day's long-held wish to hire him. The two met decades ago through the late Choo-San Goh, a fellow Singaporean who in the late 1970s and 1980s was the Washington Ballet's celebrated resident choreographer and associate director. Han trained under Goh's sister and later danced with Vancouver's Goh Ballet, run by Choo-San Goh's brother. Day, Han said, had offered him jobs in her company and on the school's faculty, but "it was bad timing" until now.

"I hope to enhance what [Mary Day] left behind," Han said yesterday. "That's very important to me."

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