Although he retired from dancing three years ago, Tulsa Ballet’s Resident Choreographer Ma Cong has stayed as busy as ever in recent years. Cong, who had a 13-year career as a dancer, moved to Tulsa in 1999 and performed as a dancer with the Tulsa Ballet before being named the company’s resident choreographer in 2009. In the past year alone, he has choreographed for the National Ballet of China and Queensland Ballet in Australia, as well as Tulsa Ballet. Cong has also created original works for Houston Ballet, BalletMet, Ballet Florida, Richmond Ballet and Ballet Nouveau Colorado, among many others, and was invited to perform Melodia, his original work, at the Grand Gala for Peasaro International Choreographic Festival in Italy and later at the Miami International Ballet Competition.
In an interview with Oklahoma Magazine’s Julie Chin, Cong shares his thoughts on…
…his hopes for the future.
I really, really enjoy creating works. I just created my first full-length ballet last year. I hope I will be able to create more full-length ballets, and I hope I will be able to continue to produce more wonderful works for the audience. I also hope I will get more opportunities to travel more to different areas, different companies, and to have communication with other companies, not only for myself, but as part of Tulsa, and to be able to bring our Tulsa culture and Tulsa Ballet to the outside world.
…the future of the Tulsa Ballet.
I think we’re doing wonderfully, and our artistic director, Marcello Angelini, has an incredible vision for the company. We’re in the middle of the capital campaign which is going to help us grow into something really great. In 10 years, we hope we’ll be one of the top leaders of national ballet. Hopefully in the future, Tulsa Ballet will be traveling internationally more often and we can build more incredible productions. I think that’s Marcello’s vision, and we all follow him in trying to achieve this company’s goal.
…the growth of ballet in Oklahoma.
I have been here 16 years, more than 16 years … I have seen the growth of the people who are interested in ballet. I hope more people will be more involved with arts, and they will really come to see ballet as something really, really important to their lives.
…his free time.
I really enjoy cooking. I think that’s kind of my therapy. Sometimes me and my partner love to entertain people. We just invite friends over, have a glass of wine; chatting about life and catching up on stuff, things we haven’t been talking about, what we’re missing from each other. I think that’s my favorite thing to do, really.
…places he’d like to visit.
There are some other countries I really really do want to visit, I think, such as the Netherlands. I really want to visit the Netherlands, and also I really want to visit Switzerland and, of course, England. I’ve never been to the [United Kingdom], and many friends have been telling me “you have to visit the UK.”
…how Tulsa has grown since
he first moved here in 1999.
I’ve been here 16 years, so I’ve seen the growth of Tulsa. It was just incredible, really. I just started to grow to like Tulsa so much that every time I’m traveling outside it’s like “You know, I want to go back home to Tulsa.” I just think that the city is definitely growing almost every year, and every year I look at Tulsa it’s completely different.
See our web-exclusive video interview with Ma Cong below.