“I believe that creation is necessary. To find ways to bring ideas and emotions into a performative experience for an audience and a performer ... creating together with different disciplines, discovering what it is we want to explore, and sharing this with a public ... as an audience they are free to find their way to connect their own personal experiences with the performance that they are experiencing ...” Peter Leung
Portrait of Peter Leung
Creator of the world’s first virtual ballet in 2016, Amsterdam based choreographer and stage director, Peter Leung not only pushes, breaks down, but also transcends the boundaries of (classical) dance.
Visual storytelling through multidisciplinary art, forms the basis of his work. Adopting unconventional techniques and collaborating with artists from disparate disciplines (technology, film, music, photography, art and fashion) help to create a 360 degree interface. This enables audiences to access the performance at different points, and to engage with it on multiple sensory levels. Thus, challenging the conventions of the performative experience, and thereby creating a platform to reach new audiences beyond traditional theatres.
Peter initially trained as a classical ballet dancer at The Royal Ballet School before dancing at Bayerisches Staatsballett, Le Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon and Dutch National Ballet. Even though he no longer performs professionally, he continues to explore and expand his creative horizons beyond dance. He is the creative director of House of Makers, an Amsterdam based interdisciplinary performance arts company. Since 2017, he has been affiliated with the Dutch National Ballet as a Young Creative Associate. He has also studied filmmaking at the New York Film Academy, and photography at Central Saint Martins, London, and the Fotoacademie NL.
Commissions since 2010
These include: Dutch National Ballet; the Van Gogh Museum, EYE museum, and Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam; Rotterdam Kunsthal, and Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam; Origen Cultural Festival, Switzerland; International Bach Festival in Gran Canaria; music producer and DJ, Armin van Buuren; fashion designer, David Laport; KLM & Rituals, and Heineken.
In particular, ‘Nightfall’, the world’s first virtual reality ballet was received to critical acclaim. The Dutch newspaper, De Volkskrant considered it “a seminal moment in dance history” and compared it to another, namely the first ‘TV ballet’, created in the 1950s, by renowned Dutch choreographer, Hans van Manen.
More recently, Peter has created several works for Michaela Deprince, second soloist at Dutch National Ballet and Ambassador for War Child, a Dutch charity. This includes ‘Portrait’
staged at the Women of the World Summit in London, and for Black Achievement Month in Amsterdam.
Commissions in 2019
In 2019, Peter has continued to challenge himself and grow as a director and choreographer resulting in a more diverse and comprehensive body of work.
In spring he directed Bach’s ‘Johannes Passion’ for de Ij-Salon at the Muziekgebouw aan t’ij, Amsterdam and restaged this version for the International Bach Festival in Gran Canaria. Collaborating with the dancers, he choreographed ‘Individuell’, which premiered at the National Theater Munich for the Bayerisches Junior Ballet.
A more poignant piece was ‘De Dans Ontsprongen’ for Rememberance Day in the Netherlands. It commemorates holocaust survivor, Edith Eger, the ‘Ballerina of Auschwitz’ who was forced to dance for Joseph Mengele, ‘the Angel of Death’. Together with Dutch National Ballet first soloist, Igone de Jongh, and award-winning actor Pierre Bokma, this work explores the complex relationship between the victim and perpetrator.
Later in the year he will be co-directing the annual International Young Patrons Gala at the Dutch National Opera and Ballet, remounting his Stabat Mater (Pergolesi) and creating new work for “Dance Stories”, a series of new works by Amsterdam based makers at Theaterhuis Amsterdam.
“Improvisation is what we all do as children. We fantasise and create with little inhibition. I encourage those I work with to find their inner child, and to allow themselves to create an imperfect product. This is perfection in itself. By behaving like this within a process, you can learn so much about yourself, stepping outside of your habits and comfort zone.”