The following dancers have decided to leave The Royal Ballet during the 2020/21 Season, taking up voluntary redundancy as part of the Royal Opera House restructure in response to the coronavirus pandemic:
Elizabeth Harrod was promoted to First Artist in 2008 and to Soloist in 2013. A highlight during her career was a presentation of the pas de deux from Ashton’s The Two Pigeons with her husband, Steven McRae, at The Royal Ballet’s gala performance at Hull City of Culture 2017.
Nathalie Harrison was promoted to First Artist in 2009. She leaves to develop dance film projects and arts fundraising opportunities.
Demelza Parish was promoted to First Artist in 2016. She was part of the creation processes of Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Winter’s Tale, and featured in a showcase of Hull-born talent at The Royal Ballet’s gala presentation at Hull City of Culture 2017.
Gemma Pitchley-Gale was promoted to First Artist in 2014. Her attention to detail was put to good use as Ballet Mistress for London Children’s Ballet and she has plans to open her own fitness studio.
Grace Blundell became an Artist in 2015. She takes up a new career with her own business, Grace Blundell Ballet and Fitness.
Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, said,
This fine group of dancers have made such a fantastic contribution to the life and soul of the Company. Their journey from The Royal Ballet School through to the Company has been an inspiration to young aspiring dancers and their collective qualities epitomise what is so special about The Royal Ballet. I am sure our audiences will join us in wishing them well for the future.
The Royal Ballet has also announced that Soloist Fernando Montaño has decided to leave the Company to pursue new dance and arts projects. This follows a period of absence during which time he undertook a range of creative and humanitarian work. Montaño studied at Incolballet Colombian and Cuban National Ballet schools and graduated into the Cuban National Ballet in 2004, before completing one further year of study at the Teatro Nuovo do Torino, Italy. He joined The Royal Ballet in 2006 as an Artist and was promoted to First Artist in 2010 and Soloist in 2014. Montaño has set up a charitable foundation to help young Columbians develop their passion for the arts and has a range of projects in development, including a feature film inspired by his autobiography and a choreographic venture, Sinbad, with theatre producer Mona Khashoggi.
Our thanks to Fernando for his wonderful contribution to all we present on stage during these past 14 years. His exciting plans for the future show true entrepreneurial spirit which should greatly enrich the arts scene and be an inspiration for many young people today. We all wish him the very best with his new ventures.
Top photo: Chroma – Paul Kay, Fernando Montaño and Téo Dubreuil
© ROH/Bill Cooper, 2013
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.