Madeleine Onne proposed to become the Artistic Director of the Finnish National Ballet

The Board of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet decided upon the proposal today.

In a meeting held today, on Friday September the 29th, the Board of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet decided to propose Madeleine Onne as the Artistic Director of the FNB. The proposal took place following a motion by the General Director Päivi Kärkkäinen, which had been unanimously supported by the nomination and remuneration committee appointed by the board. The board will make their final decision over the appointment of the Artistic Director after hearing personnel groups on October the 10th, 2017. Madeleine Onne, originally from Sweden, is currently the Director of the Houston Ballet Academy in the United States.

The recruitment process for the Artistic Ballet was public, combining the use of a recruitment specialist with an invitation to apply directly. The process involved almost 80 people, with applicants from 16 different countries. The board made their selection based on the applicants’ merits, the interviews conducted, and aptitude evaluations. The top applicants were also requested to provide international references and reviews.

The Artistic Director of the Finnish National Ballet is responsible for the artistic planning of the repertoire, as well as leading and developing the operations of the FNB. The Artistic Director reports to the General Director. In the recruitment process, the key requirements for the position of Artistic Director were the knowledge of ballet, classical ballet in particular, managerial and co-operation skills, strategy development and implementation skills, as well as the ability to lead operative processes and leverage external networks. The Board of Directors found Madeleine Onne to best fulfil these requirements.

The reasoning behind the proposal:

Madeleine Onne has extensive knowledge and skills in both classical ballet and modern choreographies. She worked as a ballet dancer at the Royal Swedish Ballet in Stockholm from 1978 to 2002. As a Principal Dancer since 1984, she has danced most of the major roles of classical ballet.

In 1995, Madeleine Onne was given the honorary title of the Dancer of the Swedish Royal Court. She formed a touring dance group from the soloists of the Royal Swedish Ballet in 1996. 

After her career as a dancer, Onne has been the Artistic Director of both the Royal Swedish Ballet and Hong Kong Ballet, for a total of 15 years. These leadership roles have provided her with crucial experience in creating and implementing strategy as well as in managing people.

Madeleine Onne has an extensive international network of contacts and excellent co-operation skills both within and outside ballet organisations. She has worked in international positions, first as a dancer and later as a member of the jury in several competitions around the world.

Onne has a keen interest in classical ballet education and its further development. In her current role in Houston, she leads a ballet academy connected to a large ballet group.

Onne has a deep insight into the operations of a Nordic art organisation, having been the representative of the personnel in the Stockholm Royal Ballet and other positions of trust. In her earlier leadership roles, she has demonstrated an excellent grasp of finance, conducting and orchestral work, as well the ability to understand the big picture.

If Onne is appointed, her contract will be for a fixed term of four years, from August the 1st, 2018 to July the 31st, 2022, with an optional extension of three years. The tenure of the current Artistic Director of the Finnish National Ballet, Kenneth Greve, ends on July the 31st, 2018.

Madeleine Onne, General Director Päivi Kärkkäinen, and the members of the Board are not available for comments prior to the board meeting on October the 10th, 2017.

For more information, please contact:
Communications Director Liisa Riekki, tel. +358 40 510 7336,

Finnish National Opera and Ballet / Communications
Communications Manager Katja Jokinen 358 9 4030 2322

Researcher Juhani Koivisto 358 9 4030 2215
Communications Specialist Petra Rönkä 358 9 4030 2274 (opera)
Communications Specialist Jussi Iltanen 358 9 4030 2223 (ballet)
Communications Specialist Emilia Vähätalo  358 40 832 1611 (digital communication)
Communications Coordinator Tuike Lehko 358 50 439 2710