A leader in Vancouver's arts community will now play a principal role in shaping the vision of arts and culture in the city.
“We are thrilled to welcome Branislav Henselmann to the City of Vancouver. He brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and creativity to the city having spent time as part of the arts community in New York, London and Munich,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a press statement. “Arts and culture plays a huge role in Vancouver’s economy and livability and we look forward to Branislav helping us do even more to continue to support our thriving arts and culture community.”
“We are delighted to have Branislav join the City,” said Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, general manager of Community Services. “He brings his wide international experience and local Vancouver knowledge to Cultural Services at City Hall."
As Ballet BC’s executive director since 2012, Henselmann has seen the organization through a period of extensive growth. The internationally acclaimed contemporary ballet company, which verged on bankruptcy in 2009, now brings in record-setting box office and fundraising revenues. Prior to joining Ballet BC, he was executive producer for the Michael Clark Company in London, head of programming and learning for DanceEast in England, and the artistic curator for New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute.
Henselmann originally trained as a dancer in Munich, later deepening his studies at conservatory level at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London. He holds a Master of Fine Arts (Dance, Choreography, and Business Administration), earned as a Dean’s Fellowship recipient at New York University. He was a DAAD German Academic Fellow, studying with the Merce Cunningham Foundation and was twice the recipient of the Young Artist award of the Ministry of Arts and Culture NRW. Henselmann was recognized by Business in Vancouver with a Forty Under 40 award in 2014.
He currently serves as the chair of Canadian Ballet Companies for the National Dance Council and as board director for the Canadian Dance Assembly.
"I am thrilled to join Vancouver’s Community Services team as the managing director of Cultural Services, where I will have a distinct privilege and a unique opportunity to build on the successes of existing programs, that have nurtured some of the most distinct artistic voices in the country – voices such as Ballet BC, where I will be ending my tenure as executive director,” said Henselmann. “Public investment in arts and culture, with a firm focus on creating social capital through breaking down barriers and providing an opportunity for cultural dialogue and social interaction is at the heart of any vibrant city. In my new role, I look forward to identifying collaborative, community oriented, and innovative strategies for the Vancouver’s cultural sector - strategies that will ensure ongoing vitality of Vancouver’s civic life, built around and defined by the shared civic culture and values. This targeted, collective investment in the cultural sector will be key in fulfilling Vancouver’s current and future aspirations.”
"I congratulate Branislav and wish him every success in his new role," said Brenda Leadlay, executive director of the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture. "I'm encouraged by the vote by Vancouver City Council this week to recognize culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development. This was a step in the right direction for the City, and the Alliance looks forward to working with Branislav and Cultural Services to continue to raise awareness of the value of arts and culture in our community."
The City's managing director position has been vacant since the departure of Richard Newirth in July.