The Hong Kong Ballet, one of Asia's leading ballet companies, recently appointed Madeleine Onne as its artistic director. She brings with her 32 years of experience as a dancer, manager and artistic director. John Ying, chairman of the board of governors of The Hong Kong Ballet, said he was thrilled that Ms Onne was joining the Company. Ms Onne was artistic director of the 236-year-old Royal Swedish Ballet for six years, from 2002 to last year. She founded and was manager of Stockholm 59 Degrees North, a dance company comprising 15 of the Royal Swedish Ballet's most prominent dancers from 1996 to 2002. Before that she was a principal dancer with the Royal Swedish Ballet from 1984. She is one of only five women to have received the title of 'Royal Court Dancer' from King Carl XVI Gustaf, and was awarded The Royal Swedish Opera House Gold Medal of Honour this year. Ms Onne has received the Drottningholm Court Theatre's medal for her work with historical ballets, and The Carina Ari Foundation medal, for which past recipients include such distinguished names in the ballet world such as Makarova, Kylian and Neumeier. As a dancer and artistic director, she has worked with some of the world's top choreographers, including Ried Anderson, Patrice Bart, Mauro Bigonzetti, Erik Bruhn, Nils Christe, Birgit Cullberg, Nacho Duato, Mats Ek, Par Isberg, Alonzo King, Jiri Kylian, Natalia Makarova, Jean-Christophe Maillot, John Neumeier, Heinz Spoerli and Christian Spuck. Ms Onne said she was looking forward to her new post. 'It's extremely exciting to have this fantastic opportunity to work with a well-established company that has a strong track record of performance and ambitious plans for the future. I have seldom met dancers, an artistic team and a board that have put so much of their heart, soul and sheer hard work into making their company a success,' she said. Ms Onne raised the artistic level of the Royal Swedish Ballet and achieved box office success. She commissioned 14 new ballets from Swedish and international choreographers. The Royal Swedish Ballet last year toured the mainland and made its debut at Beijing's National Centre for Performing Arts. Ms Onne said she aimed to make a performance of The Hong Kong Ballet a must-see. 'Seeing a performance of The Hong Kong Ballet should be a natural choice for residents and short-term visitors. My goal is that we will be on their list of top 10 attractions.' Mr Ying said that Ms Onne's commitment to expanding a company's repertoire and touring schedule was admirable. 'Ms Onne's leadership will bring The Hong Kong Ballet to the next milestone in our development - an internationally recognised classical ballet company with world-class dancers, a unique repertoire and an identity that reflects the soul of Hong Kong.'