The 2006 Distinguished Achievement Award is presented to Stephen Jefferies to honor his decade-long Artistic Directorship of the Hong Kong Ballet. When Mr. Jefferies assumed the helm in 1996, his vision was to propel the Hong Kong Ballet to the highest artistic standard and ensure it acquired an international reputation for excellence. His unwavering dedication has enabled the Company to achieve his vision.
During his tenure, Mr. Jefferies diversified the Company's repertory adding thirteen classical and nine original full-length, and nine one-act ballets. His Nutcracker is a Hong Kong Christmas tradition setting a local record of 117 performances over nine years. Mr. Jefferies' innovations include commissioning original Chinese-themed productions with new scores. Of these, The Last Emperor, with Wayne Eagling's choreography and Su Cong's music, is the Company's signature touring ballet. The latest, Mr. Jefferies' own Suzie Wong with Chris Babida's original score, premieres in March 2006.
Stephen Jefferies has made his first priority training dancers. This includes providing opportunities for them to develop their full potential including choreographic workshops to showcase their talent and creativity. Under his leadership, the Company has staked its place in the international dance sphere and acted as cultural ambassador for Hong Kong on tours to North American and Europe, Singapore, Shanghai, Northern China, and Beijing.
Stephen Jefferies' outstanding achievement has led the Hong Kong Ballet to become one of Asia's leading classical ballet companies with a unique identity, excellent dancers, and superb productions.