The principal dancer with the 87-year-old Latvian National Opera Ballet has been named to the corresponding position with the Hong Kong Ballet, replacing dismissed local dancer Faye Leung, in a decision that was criticised yesterday as lacking transparency. Margarita Demjanoka, 30, who was born in Russia, has been given the job six months after the controversial dismissal of Leung, who had been with the company for 13 years. Hong Kong Ballet artistic director Madeleine Onne said Demjanoka had a 'lean and agile physique that complements those of our company's beautiful Asian dancers'. Onne, who started in the job in March, said Demjanoka had deep experience in interpreting both classical and modern ballet and would be an inspiration for everyone at the Hong Kong Ballet. But Civic Party legislator Tanya Chan said the statement did not explain the decision clearly enough. 'I still wonder what criteria Hong Kong Ballet employed to select their top ballerina,' she said, also asking whether the company had exhausted all the available options among local dancers. 'The company is funded by public money, and it should pay more attention to fostering local talent,' she said. But she said nationality should not be a prime consideration. Mathias Woo Yan-wai, executive director of experimental theatre company Zuni Icosahedron, said the lack of transparency in the company's management had been highlighted by the decision to fire Leung. 'I don't know why Faye Leung had to be replaced in the first place. What did Faye do wrong?' he asked. The Hong Kong Ballet said at the time that the company and the dancer were 'going different ways'. Mr Woo said the company had not given the public a clear vision of its long-term development and there were no clues in the new appointment. Leung declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Hong Kong Ballet said Onne had started an international search for a new principal dancer when she assumed her post in March. Demjanoka started dancing ballet in Latvia when she was seven. She joined the Latvian National Opera Ballet in 1996 after graduating from high school, and rose to soloist within two months, being promoted to principal dancer in 2000. She was named Best Dancer of the Year in the Latvian Theatre Award in 2003 and received a similar award last year.