Richmond Ballet announces associate artistic director
Ma Cong has been with the company since 2009
The Richmond Ballet announced Monday that Ma Cong has been named as its associate artistic director. He will serve in an adjunct capacity for 18 months before joining full time in 2022, supporting Artistic Director Stoner Winslett, who has led the ballet company since 1980.
“As I finish my 40th season at Richmond Ballet, I am in awe of what we have built here, working together since 1980,” Winslett said in a statement. “I have spent many years looking for someone to help support me in leading the Ballet, and I know that I have cast the right person in Ma.”
Cong, a ballet and Broadway choreographer, has been with the Richmond Ballet since 2009 when he joined as part of the season’s New Works Festival. His Richmond Ballet choreography has also been performed in London, Beijing and New York City.
“The Richmond Ballet dancers, staff and community have held a special place in my heart for years. I have always been impressed by the artistry of the organization as well as its culture of integrity and respect,” Cong said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Stoner and the entire organization and to adding my voice to the Ballet’s story.”
Cong began his career in dance at the National Ballet of China from 1995 to 1999 after studying at the Beijing Dance Academy. He then danced for 14 years at the Tulsa Ballet, where he also began his choreographic career. Cong has choreographed pieces performed by the Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, BalletMet, Smuin Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Queensland Ballet Australia and the National Ballet of China.
The Richmond Ballet was founded in 1957, and The School of Richmond Ballet was founded in 1975. In 1990, it was named the official State Ballet of Virginia by then-Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. Nearly 100,000 people annually attend Richmond Ballet performances locally or through the company’s traveling repertory.