Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, says:
The wonderful accomplishments of the Company, the verve and commitment of every member, have resulted in an extraordinary Season with our return to a busy schedule of full-length productions and world premieres. I would like to congratulate each and every one of our performers and staff while also announcing some promotions, welcoming new joiners and thanking those who have made their mark on The Royal Ballet and now leave to take up new adventures.
Joseph Sissens is promoted to First Soloist.
Annette Buvoli, Ashley Dean, Leticia Dias, Mariko Sasaki, Lukas B. Brændsrød, Leo Dixon, David Donnelly and Téo Dubreuil are promoted to Soloist.
Sophie Allnatt, Isabel Lubach, Sae Maeda, Julia Roscoe, Charlotte Tonkinson, Joonhyuk Jun, Joshua Junker, Taisuke Nakao and Giacomo Rovero are promoted to First Artist.
Marco Masciari, the Prix de Lausanne dancer for the 2020-2021 Season joins the Company as an Artist.
Darrion Sellman graduate of the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco and gold medallist at the 2022 Prix de Lausanne, joins as the Prix de Lausanne dancer for the 2022-2023 Season.
Principal dancer Federico Bonelli, as previously announced, has retired from the Company to take up a new position as Artistic Director of Northern Ballet.
Following a 19-year career with The Royal Ballet, Soloist Paul Kay leaves the Company to take up the post of Artistic Manager for Intensive Courses and Auditions (UK) with The Royal Ballet School, bringing his association with the School where he first trained, both at White Lodge and Upper School, full circle. Kay has featured in a wide range of the Company’s repertory, demonstrating a flair for virtuoso and character roles and for the distinctive style of Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor.
First Soloist Tierney Heap retires from the Company after ten years to pursue a career in nutrition, and Artist Joseph Aumeer leaves after four seasons to join the Royal Danish Ballet. The Royal Ballet wishes them every success for the future and thanks them all for their valued contribution to the artistic life of The Royal Ballet.
Lesley Collier leaves her full-time role as Répétiteur to the Principal Artists after 27 years of coaching with the Company and Royal Ballet School. Following a remarkable career as Royal Ballet Principal, she stepped down from dancing in 1995 to become Ballet Mistress for The Royal Ballet School and took up her current position coaching Principal dancers in 2000.
Lesley has been a true inspiration to generations of dancers at The Royal Ballet and leaves an indelible mark on the Company. Her knowledge of working with Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan has been invaluable in passing on the mantle. As a dazzling ballerina in all the classics herself, it is no wonder that Lesley’s coaching has been enriching for our dancers over the years, including current performers Steven McRae, Laura Morera, Akane Takada and Francesca Hayward, among many others. Working with Lesley most recently in Ashton’s Rhapsody, Francesca has spoken memorably about being inspired to dance after seeing Lesley dance the Sugar Plum Fairy on video and how prized the opportunity has been to work with her. Lesley’s gentle and incisive observations always reap wonderful results and it has been an immense pleasure and privilege to watch her in the studio over the years, with the likes of Jonathan Cope and Edward Watson, encouraging the artistry of our dancers to bloom. I am delighted that Lesley will still work with us on occasion, including on Cinderella next Season.
Richard Clark, Clinical Lead in Ballet Healthcare, leaves to become Rehabilitation Lead at Tottenham Hotspurs Football Club.
Amanda Skoog, The Royal Ballet’s Senior Producer, leaves to take up the role of Executive Director at English National Ballet School.
Grant Green returns as a full-time pianist from the start of next Season, and Zhu Sun joins on a nine-month contract as Associate Pianist.
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.