Stella Lau, veteran ballerina, well reputed in rehearsal directing, is currently Senior Lecturer of Ballet and Leader of the Gifted Young Dancer Programme (GYDP) and Outreach at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA). She was appointed advisor to the Academy’s Applied Learning Courses (ApL) dance programme. She teaches Ballet Technique, Pointe Classes for Females and Ballet Repertory, and is advisor to post-graduate students at the Academy.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Stella started her training at the Hong Kong Academy of Ballet when she was 20. She was awarded the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music Fund Scholarship twice while studying there. Upon graduation, Stella joined the Hong Kong Ballet Company and eventually became the first homegrown dancer promoted to the principal rank in its history.
During her years with the Company, Stella had danced classical as well as contemporary ballets in Hong Kong and overseas. She was featured in Giselle as Giselle; Romeo and Juliet as Juliet; La Sylphide as the Sylph; The Nutcracker as Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen; The Tales of Hoffmann as Antonia; and The Mid-summer Night Dream as Titania. She was the lead dancer in George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Allegro Brilliante, Who Cares? and Square Dance; Jiři Kylián’s Nuages; Nacho Duato’s Jardi Tancat; Kenneth MacMillan’s Pavane; Fredrick Ashton’s Les Patineurs; and Val Caniparoli’s Connotations. In addition to her performing duties, Stella also participated in the Company’s outreach and educational programmes as presenter and dance instructor.
Stella furthered her study at the HKAPA, where she graduated from the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) Degree in Dance with first-class honours. In 2010, Stella successfully completed her Master of Fine Arts in Dance at the Academy and was awarded the Dean’s prize. She joined the School of Dance as full-time lecturer in 2002.
Stella has extensive experience in rehearsal direction. She was ballet mistress in Hong Kong Ballet’s The Nutcracker and The Happenings, and Hong Kong Ballet Group’s Don Quixote. She was rehearsal director for works of Yuri Ng, Graeme Collin, Natalie Weir, Thierry Maladain, Christopher Hampson, Wang Yuan Yuan, Wayne Ealing, Jean Paul Camelin, Kinsun Chan, Ismael Ivo, Iratxe Ansa, Cameron McMillan, Raymond Chai, Anh Ngoc Nguyen and most recently Zoltán Fodor.
Stella’s creative work includes Dancing to Delibes and Sylvia. She also restaged Michel Fokine’s Les Sylphides, Magic Garden from Don Quixote and excerpts from Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, Napoli and Coppélia. She reconstructed La Cachucha from original score by Ann Hutchison and choreographed dance scenes for Musica Viva in their opera productions Rigoletto, Carmen and Il Travatore.
Besides teaching at the Academy, Stella constantly expands and extends her knowledge in dance in a wider context by undertaking artistic and scholarly activities. She has been on study trips to Vienna, Shanghai, Beijing and the Hague; she has attended dance conferences in Hong Kong and Australia; she has visited Beijing Dance Academy, Australia Ballet School and Victoria College of the Arts; and she has participated in dance courses in London, Copenhagen, Toronto and New York. In 2013, she received the certification from Irene Dowd, who taught her Spiral©1991 choreography. In July 2014, she presented a conference paper on rehearsal directing in Angers, France at the Global Summit of the World Dance Alliance.
Stella is also committed to the development of dance in the community at large. She hosted talks, lectures and workshops on dance appreciation organized by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), HKU SPACE, Baptist University, IATC, Hong Kong Dance Alliance (HKDA), Hong Kong Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet Group, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) and Macau Cultural Centre. She gave master classes and talks to participants in Tanzolympasia in Seoul, Korea and C-MAP Choreographers Festival International in Bacolod in Philippines. She was appointed by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) as panelist for the three-year and one-year grants assessment exercises. She also served as adjudicator in dance competitions as well as scholarships locally and internationally. She was showcased in the Hong Kong Dance Hall of Fame, was awarded the Secretary for Home Affairs’ Commendation Scheme and the City Contemporary Dance Laureate for her outstanding contribution to the development of arts and culture in Hong Kong. She served as Chair of the HKDA, Dance and Multi-Arts Art Form Panel of the LCSD and Vice-chair of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund Awardees Association. Currently she is the Vice-president of the World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific and Hong Kong Chapter. She also serves as board member and dance advisor to numerous bodies including HKDA, LCSD, HKADC, Home Affairs Bureau and WKCDA.