Director of The Royal Ballet, Kevin O'Hare, has announced the promotions, new joiners and leavers for The Royal Ballet's 2023/24 Season.
The dancers have been on spectacular form during the season – says O'Hare – and, following a triumphant return tour to Japan, it is now a great pleasure to announce promotions within the ranks of The Royal Ballet.
The following promotions have been made:
Isabella Gasparini is promoted to First Soloist.
Mica Bradbury, Hannah Grennell, Sae Maeda, Joonhyuk Jun and Taisuke Nakao are promoted to Soloist.
Bomin Kim, Nadia Mullova-Barley, Katharina Nikelski, Amelia Townsend, Yu Hang, Harris Bell, Liam Boswell, Daichi Ikarashi, Harrison Lee, Marco Masciari and Aiden O'Brien are promoted to First Artist.
The Aud Jebsen Young Dancers programme
The Aud Jebsen Young Dancers programme was established in 2014. It provides recently graduated dancers with a year's contract to train and perform alongside the corps de ballet of The Royal Ballet. This programme, made possible by the generous philanthropic support of Aud Jebsen, is central to The Royal Ballet and The Royal Ballet School's endeavour to support emerging talent. By the beginning of next season, 55 contracts will have been made available for dancers at the first stage of their careers since the programme's inception.
From the 22/23 Season's intake, Olivia Findlay, Scarlett Harvey, Ella Newton Severgnini, Martin Diaz and Luc Foskett are now promoted to Artist.
For the 2023/24 Season, six graduates of The Royal Ballet School join the Aud Jebsen Young Dancers Programme: Bethany Bartlett, Sierra Glasheen, Seung Hee Han, Isabella Shaker, Caspar Lench and Blake Smith.
Prix de Lausanne
Julie Ann Joyner, a graduate of the International City School of Ballet and scholarship winner and recipient of the Best Young Talent award at the 2023 Prix de Lausanne, joins as the Prix de Lausanne dancer for the 2023/24 Season.
As previously announced, Principal dancer Laura Morera retires from The Royal Ballet in July following her final performance in Kenneth MacMillan's Anastasia Act III at the Royal Opera House and as Natalia Petrovna in Frederick Ashton's A Month in the Country on the Company's tour to Japan. Morera will return to stage and coach repertory for the Company, including overseeing the ballets of Kenneth MacMillan for the MacMillan Estate.
First Artist Tara-Brigitte Bhavnani left the Company during the Season to pursue teaching and education work. She will perform as a guest Character Artist and continue working with the Royal Opera House's Learning and Participation team during the 2023/24 Season.
Alicia Rose Couvrette, Ava May Llewellyn and Alix Van Tiggelen from the 2022/23 Aud Jebsen Young Dancers Programme, and Prix de Lausanne dancer Darrion Sellman, leave the Company at the end of the Season. The Royal Ballet thanks them for their valued contribution to the Company during their placement and wishes them all the very best in their future careers.
After nearly 20 years at the Royal Opera House, Senior Benesh Choreologist Anna Trevien left The Royal Ballet in April to take up the role of Ballet Master with the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen.
In Ballet Healthcare, the Company's Lead Strength and Conditioning coach, Adam Mattiussi, has moved on to a role with the UK Institute of Sport as its Human Performance Lead/Strength and Conditioning Technical Lead. In his eight years with the Company, Mattiussi has made an immense contribution to the health and rehabilitation needs of the dancers.
The Royal Ballet also announces new appointments to, and departures from, the Music Department. The Company commits to nurturing the future of music for dance and extends thanks to the named and anonymous donors who have helped to support the next generation of conductors and pianists.
Jonathan Lo, Royal Ballet Staff Conductor, alumnus of the Royal Opera House Jette Parker Young Artists Programme and Birmingham Royal Ballet/Royal Ballet conducting fellow, has taken up an appointment as Music Director and Chief Conductor for The Australian Ballet. Following his conducting debut with the Company with performances of Kenneth MacMillan's Mayerling and Wayne McGregor's Woolf Works, Martin Georgiev takes up the position of Royal Ballet Staff Conductor. Venezuelan conductor Jose Angel Salazar joins as the Jette Parker Ballet Conductor.
The Constant Lambert Fellowship, generously supported by Paul Ridout, provides a tailor-made mentoring programme that teaches conducting for ballet, working across The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet. Yi Wei, a Chinese conductor based in Manchester, joins as the Constant Lambert Fellow for the 2023/24 Season. Charlotte Politi, who joined in 2022 as the Constant Lambert Fellow and made her conducting debut with The Royal Ballet with Frederick Ashton's A Month in the Country during the 2023 Japan tour, now becomes the Company's Constant Lambert Associate.
Haruka Kawaguchi joins The Royal Ballet as Pianist and Elli Welsh as Associate Pianist.
The company thanks the current Jette Parker Ballet conductor Edo Frenkel and Associate Pianist Zhu Sun, who leave at the end of the Season, for the invaluable contribution they have made to the artistic life of The Royal Ballet.
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.