- " Our arms start from the back because
they were once wings "
We have seen the eyes of young dance students lighting up. We have seen their smiles. We have heard their laugh. We have listened to the life stories of dancers. We have met artists and social entrepreneurs whose purpose is to use dance as a catalyst to help others shape a brighter future or as a therapy to heal wounds.
The What Dance Can Do Project is a Zurich-based organization launched in January 2017 with the purpose to explore the impact of dance and raise awareness of companies using dance to effect some kind of outreach or change.
British born Alexander Jones was trained at the Royal Ballet School London. He won the gold medal in 2004 Adeleine Genee competition and was presented the Dame Ninette de Valois award, London Ballet Circle. Upon graduation, he joined the Stuttgart Ballet where he was promoted to Principal dancer on stage after his debut performance of John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet. He then danced all the classical and major roles including the title role in “Onegin”, Armand in John Neumeier’s “Lady of the Camellias”, Colas in Ashton’s “La Fille Mal Gardee” and many others, along with other choreographies from George Balanchine, Kenneth Macmillan, Bejart, Jerome Robbins, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian and Christian Spuck. In 2014 he was nominated by the National dance awards, England for Best Male Classical dancer.
In 2015 Alexander joined the Ballet Zurich, where he created the role of Siegfried in Ratmansky’s reconstruction of Swan Lake for the Ballet Zurich and La Scala in Milan, and in 2016 he appeared as a guest artist with Staatsballet Berlin, performing Albrecht in Patrice Barts Giselle.
Other repertoire in Zurich includes Christian Spuck’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Anna Karenina.
He has performed in many of the major theatres, including Opera Garnier, Royal Opera House, London, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow and Arena of Verona as part of the Roberto Bolle and friends tour.
He is currently working on a feature film project with Pontus Lidberg and Aurelie Dupont, where he will enjoy his first experience as an actor.Ambassador
Yen-Ching Lin is as an independent artist and teacher developing her own research and creative practices in movement, photography and video. Born in Taiwan, Yen-Ching studied at the Taipei National University of the Arts and the London Contemporary Dance School from where she holds a MA in Contemporary Dance.
Yen-Ching has worked with choreographers such as Maresa von Stockert, Charles Linehan, Jonathan Lunn, Jan de Schynkel, and Didy Veldman. She had danced for Hofesh Schether Company and Bern Ballet, under the direction of Stijn Celis, before joining Akram Khan Company in 2010. There, she taught workshops, restaged repertoire and worked as Rehearsal Director. After leaving AKC in 2017, she joined Clod Ensemble.
Yen-Ching explores art forms teaming up with various artists: Virtual Reality (VR) film WHILST by AΦE, The Waldorf Project: Chapter Three / FUTURO – experimental, immersive food experience, by Sean Rogg & AΦE.
She also is a member of the Theo Adams Company since 2017.
PC Terry Lin
Dor is a world renown and celebrated dancer who won the Israeli Ministry of Culture prize for “Best Cast Performance” and received the “Audience Award” at the prestigious Copenhagen Choreography Dance Competition.
Dor was trained at The Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company Workshop Institute. He joined the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company 2, Karl Alfred Schreiner and the Muza Dance Company. In his very rich career, he has danced pieces by William Forsythe, Jacopo Godani, Emanuel Gat, Marco Goecke, Yoram Karmi, Keren Rosenberg and Barak Marshell, among others. He also was part of Idan Sharabi & Dancers, teaching workshops based on Sharabi’s material and staged some of Sharabi’s creations with the Netherlands Dance Theatre 2, the Royal Danish Ballet and many more.
Dor teaches workshops based on his self-developed technique, Anchor Technique, in academies and companies such as the School of Contemporary Dance Hamburg or the Linz Ballet Music Theatre. He joined the Tanz Luzerner Theatre ensemble under the direction of Kathleen McNurney in 2016 before preming his solo creation, “I Choose You” in the Stanislvasky Theatre in Moscow alongside reputable dancers such as Ana Laguna, Diana Vishneva and Aurélie Dupont.
Mamalia has recently premiered his duet piece with dancer/choreographer, Dariusz Nowak, entitled, “into me, see”, commissioned to open the Jewish Art’s Festival Zurich in May 2018.
Marie-Agnès Gillot is one of the most in-demand dancers in France and beyond. Whether performing in works by acclaimed choreographers or starring in fashion designers campaigns, she has inspired creators from the dance and fashion worlds and collaborated with a wide range of international artists. Nominated “Etoile” in 2004, she was the first female in-house choreographer to receive a commission from the Paris Opera Ballet. She has staged her works across balletic, contemporary, and even hip hop styles. Marie-Agnès actively supports a number of philanthropic causes. This is therefore as a celebrated artist and as a woman of commitment and conviction that she joined the What Dance Can Do Ambassadors.
PC James BortAmbassador
Nominated « Etoile » of the Paris Opéra Ballet in 2017 at the age of 23, Hugo Marchand was honored in the category of the « Best male dancer » by the Benois de la Danse the same year. Hugo considers give back to society belongs to his role as an artist.
“One of my ambitions as an Etoile dancer is to take part in public awareness as to what dancing can do for society.”
PC James BortAmbassador
Based in NYC, the Gary (Indiana) native Renaldo Maurice has been dancing around the globe with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater since 2011. Mr. Maurice was also awarded the Key to his city in February 2012.
“Every artist has a responsibility. Special talents and aptitude have been given to us for a reason. You have to use your gift to help others.”
PC Charles BaulinAmbassador
Ahmad Joudeh was born and raised in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, in Damascus, Syria. Ever since his childhood, his dream was to be a dancer. Despite intense opposition from some family members and society in general, he attended dance lessons, often in secret. Ahmad was trained at Syria’s major dance company the Enana Dance Theatre and studied at the Damascus Higher Institute for Dramatic Arts. In his free time he also taught dancing to orphans and young people with Down’s Syndrome at the SOS villages around Damascus.
In 2014 Ahmad starred in the Arabian version of “So You Think You Can Dance”. His appearance in this programme earned him fame both at home and abroad.
The Dutch journalist, Roozbeh Kaboly, spotted Ahmad on the Facebook page of the Higher Institute for Dramatic Arts and travelled to Damascus to document the life of Ahmad and his family for the Dutch news programme “Nieuwsuur”. The moving and inspirational documentary “Dance or Die” has also been broadcast by the international media, including the BBC, Channel 4 News, Arte and France 2. It has been viewed by millions of people across the globe.
After seeing the documentary, Ted Brandsen, director of the Dutch National Ballet was inspired to help Ahmad. Together with individuals and colleagues from The Netherlands, the Dutch National Ballet has succeeded in bringing him to The Netherlands to continue his studies and career there.
“Dancing has given me the strength to face many obstacles that came my way. It has shaped my personality. Because I am a dancer, I am alive.”Ambassador
Ji Min Hong is from South Korea, and has danced with the National Ballet of Canada (2010 – 2014) and Royal Danish Ballet (2014 – present). “Dance has taught me how to live my life: to be humble because the power and beauty of art are so much bigger than who I am; to be patient because things don’t always work out the way I want them to, but eventually they will work out the way they should if I don’t give up on myself; and to be grateful for everything because I know how it feels not to be able to do what I love to do, and being able to dance is a miracle. Picasso said that “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”, and, through my art form of dance, I hope to help create moments like these for our audiences.”
PC Natascha Thiara RydvaldAmbassador
Léonore Baulac, half French half Norwegian, was nominated “Etoile” of the Paris Opera Ballet in 2016 after performing Odette/Odile in Swan Lake.
“I wish children from all around the world could thrive up to their potential, and I definitely think dance can help!”