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Ballet Kelowna finds new leader

Ballet Kelowna was found a new artistic director.

Simone Orlando has accepted the job, replacing David LaHay.

“After an international search, we are excited that Simone will be leading Ballet Kelowna into the future.  Simone brings an exciting new vision in the performing arts and is a leader who combines uncompromising artistic standards and business acumen," says board president Deborah Ward.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead Ballet Kelowna into its second decade,” says Orlando. “I see this community and this company as a great place to focus on promoting and fostering Canadian talent; not only dance artists but dance creators as well.”

Orlando danced professionally with the National Ballet of Canada and Desrosiers Dance Theatre before joining Ballet British Columbia where she was a principal artist for many years before her performance career was cut short due to an injury.

As a choreographer, she has created numerous commissions for Ballet Kelowna and other professional dance companies including pieces for Ballet BC, Toronto Dance Theatre, Dancers Dancing and a short dance film for the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad. 

She has also earned several grants and awards for her choreographic talents including the prestigious Clifford E. Lee Award, the 2013 Pretty Creatives International Choreographic Award and a fellowship from the New York Choreographic Institute – an affiliate with New York City Ballet.

In addition to taking on the role of Artistic Director, Orlando will be doing double duty as CEO of Ballet Kelowna.

“I realized a few years ago that to successfully run a dance company, I would need to augment my skills and abilities beyond my experience as a dancer and choreographer,” says Orlando.

Having recently graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Business Management program with distinction, Orlando feels she is well prepared to take on the double role of AD and CEO and to take Ballet Kelowna to the next level.

“It’s my goal to have Ballet Kelowna be recognized both nationally and internationally as a thriving, innovative company,” adds Orlando.

“I’m interested in developing and nurturing relationships with audience members, donors and supporters who are keen to achieve something great together; a ballet company that offers programs of the highest quality, that are exciting and relevant, and that can grow and sustain audiences over time."

Orlando will assume her duties Sept 1.

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