Accessibility links

|

Sign In
Basket
Basket
  • Home
  • News
  • Yasmine Naghdi promoted to Principal dancer

Yasmine Naghdi promoted to Principal dancer

The Royal Ballet announces Company promotions and joiners for the 2017/18 Season.

By Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products)

9 July 2017 at 12.08pm | 51 Comments

Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, announces that Yasmine Naghdi has been promoted to Principal dancer, the highest rank in the Company. O’Hare comments, ‘I’m delighted to promote Yasmine Naghdi to Principal. She has had an extraordinary year, making successful debuts in a number of classic and contemporary ballets, and I look forward to this new chapter of her career and the opportunities that await.’

Born in London, Yasmine Naghdi joined the Company in 2010 after training at The Royal Ballet School. Yasmine’s extensive repertory includes Princess Aurora (The Sleeping Beauty), Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), Olga (Onegin) and the Sugar Plum Fairy (The Nutcracker). Her contemporary work includes Woolf Works by Wayne McGregor, David Dawson’s The Human Seasons and George Balanchine’s Tarantella. Yasmine’s first performance as a Principal will be in The Royal Ballet’s special presentation ‘Opening the New’ in September as part of the Hull UK City of Culture celebrations. Yasmine will perform with Hull-born Xander Parish, First Soloist with the Mariinsky Ballet, alongside Principals and Soloists from The Royal Ballet.

Kevin O’Hare has also made the following promotions within the Company:

Christina Arestis, Bennet Gartside, Kristen McNally and Thomas Whitehead are promoted to Principal Character Artist.

Matthew Ball and Marcelino Sambé are promoted to First Soloist.

Reece Clarke, Benjamin Ella and Anna Rose O’Sullivan are promoted to Soloist. As previously announced, William Bracewell joins the Company as a Soloist from Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Hannah Grennell, Calvin Richardson, Gina Storm-Jensen and David Yudes are promoted to First Artist.

Giacomo Rovero, Francisco Serrano and Charlotte Tonkinson become Artists, after joining the Company at the start of the 2016/17 Season as Aud Jebsen Young Dancers. This programme provides recently graduated dancers a year’s contract to work and perform alongside the corps de ballet of The Royal Ballet. In the 2017/18 Season the Company welcomes six graduates from The Royal Ballet School who join as Aud Jebsen Young Dancers: Joonhyuk Jun, Joshua Junker, Sae Maeda, Nadia Mullova-Barley, Aiden O’Brien and Amelia Palmiero.

Staniłsaw Węgrzyn joins the Company as Prix de Lausanne dancer for the 2017/18 Season.

First Soloist Melissa Hamilton returns to the Company after a leave of absence performing with Semperoper Dresden.

The following dancers leave the Company:

Matthew Golding will leave The Royal Ballet after three years as Principal dancer. Golding joined The Royal Ballet in January 2014, having danced with the Company the previous Season as Guest Principal.

Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, comments, ‘Matthew gave many fine performances during his time with The Royal Ballet and danced a number of leading roles from across our repertory in ballets including Manon, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Giselle, The Dream, Onegin and Romeo and Juliet. We wish him well for the next stage of his performing career.’

As previously announced, Principal dancer Zenaida Yanowsky leaves after 23 years with the Company. First Soloist Valeri Hristov joins the artistic teaching faculty at The Royal Ballet School after 15 years with the Company. First Soloist Johannes Stepanek retires after 17 years with The Royal Ballet to progress a new career within opera and dance. First Artist Hayley Forskitt retires from dance and Artist Solomon Golding leaves to join San Francisco Ballet.

This article has 51 comments

  1. Steph responded on 9 July 2017 at 12:23pm Reply

    Congratulations for all those who have been promoted!
    Wonderful to see Melissa Hamilton back in the compny, but also very sad to see some very incredible dancers leavin or retiring - all the best for the future!xx

  2. Nick responded on 9 July 2017 at 12:37pm Reply

    Congratulations to everyone, it seems harsh to pick out individuals but I think many of us have our favourites and it's a thrill to see them do so well. I am so pleased for Yasmine Naghdi, and of course for me because it means I get to see her wonderfully emotionally powerful performances more often! And with Matthew Ball's promotion, it would be lovely to see them together more too. Such a depth of talent in these promotions, well done and thank you to you all.

  3. Aki responded on 9 July 2017 at 12:59pm Reply

    Heartbroken that Yuhui has been overlooked, again...
    As a fan who lives overseas, I just wish ROH will give us opportunities to see Yuhui in rehearsals , DVDs, and live cinemas as much as possible.

    • Susan Y responded on 10 July 2017 at 6:54am

      Aki - as you live overseas and presumably don't often see live performances, why do you want Yuhui to be promoted? I am genuinely curious why these comments appear each year.

      I think Yuhui is a sweet dancer, but in the same level as the recent principal promotions (Francesca, Akane & now Yasmine)...? From performances I've seen, in my opinion, no.

      I think the Royal Ballet is the most exciting it's been in years. K O'Hare is continually getting it right with the promotions as well. Huge congratulations to Yasmine & all the others. Extremely well deserved.

    • Neil Trotman responded on 10 July 2017 at 9:28pm

      I agree with you Aki, Yuhui is a wonderful dancer and has been overlooked too often. Susan Y, just because someone lives abroad dies not mean they can't have an opinion.

    • Patrick Buckingham responded on 11 July 2017 at 9:34pm

      The lack of promotion for Yuhui seems to be an issue every year and I think we have probably reached the point at which the Royal Ballet might usefully clear the air once and for all.

      I'm very pleased for Yasmine who is lovely to watch and will surely enchant as she takes on meatier principal roles in years to come. She's the only promotion to principal this year and I do wonder how much room there will be to accommodate the hugely talented crop of Soloists and First Soloists. I suspect some will have to go elsewhere to achieve principal rank which will clearly benefit other companies.

      Congratulations to everyone else who was promoted. I've seen all of you dance over the past year and know that you richly deserve this recognition.

  4. John Huxley Travis responded on 9 July 2017 at 1:20pm Reply

    Well deserved !

  5. Dave Morgan responded on 9 July 2017 at 1:38pm Reply

    splendid news - in particular for Yasmine who is my favourite dancer :-)

  6. Natascha Lancaster responded on 9 July 2017 at 3:37pm Reply

    So glad to hear Yasmine has been promoted. She is a joy to watch.

  7. Alyssa Grady responded on 9 July 2017 at 4:11pm Reply

    Well deserved promotions, but still don't understand why Yuhui hasn't been promoted to principal yet.

  8. Lyn Liles responded on 9 July 2017 at 6:10pm Reply

    Fabulous all round

  9. Roses responded on 9 July 2017 at 6:34pm Reply

    Congratulations to Matty Ball and Yasmine! Looking forward to more partnerships between the two.

  10. alex responded on 9 July 2017 at 10:26pm Reply

    Overjoyed by the news of Yasmine Naghdi's promotion to Principal! She is a pure joy to watch and a true classical ballerina in every sense of the word. Very much looking forward to following her career as a Principal of the Royal Ballet! Also thrilled for the wonderful Matthew Ball, Marcelino Sambe, Reece Clark and Anna Rose O'Sullivan.

  11. Vitoria S. responded on 10 July 2017 at 12:26am Reply

    I'm happy for Yasmine. Hopefully she will have a wonderful career, and it was very well expected that Matthew and Marcelino would become First Soloists, as they've been shining a lot lately. Kristen McNally is a wonderful character artist and I'm delighted she's been finally recognized as such. And it's always great to have Melissa Hamilton back.
    Unsurprisingly, Yuhui Choe has been passed over again. In the past few years I would get a bit enraged but nowadays I just sigh, more disappointed with myself for believing over and over again that she will ever have a chance. I would just like to know if this is something of her choice or if the management has such a grudge against her. If it's the latter, then I wouldn't be surprised if she chose not to stay in the company for much longer.

  12. Jane responded on 10 July 2017 at 3:47am Reply

    I don't understand why Kevin has not promoted Yuhui yet. Quite disappointed.

  13. Anna responded on 10 July 2017 at 4:08am Reply

    So glad for Yasmine!!!! A very well deserved promotion.
    Congratulations to each one of the dancers who got a promotion this time!!!!!
    But all artists of the Royal Ballet are incredible and should be proud just to be one of them.

  14. Stephen Jay-Taylor responded on 10 July 2017 at 7:19am Reply

    I feel that Reece Clarke might profitably have been jumped by (at least) more than just one category.

    And this does seem a most infelicitously semi-surreptitious exit for the long-absent Matthew Golding.

  15. Victor responded on 10 July 2017 at 8:12am Reply

    Congratulations to all!! Come back home safe & enjoy the rest of your tour . I've been following you all on social media , such wonderful to see you all in good form & having great time . Well done

  16. elleG responded on 10 July 2017 at 8:18am Reply

    Kevin O'Hare - you got this absolutely right. You have recognised extraordinary talent, nurtured it and rewarded many of your most deserving dancers with promotion. You have also 'hit the spot' with masses of the RB's regular fans, especially as far as Yasmine Naghdi in concerned. Happiness all round. Congratulations to all and thank you.

  17. Simon Smith responded on 10 July 2017 at 10:09am Reply

    Congratulations all - fabulous news. Thank you Kevin O'Hare and Royal Ballet for nurturing and rewarding such talent. I'm sure we'll quickly see further promotions for a number of these dancers.

    I do hope Principal Character Artists will continue to have opportunities to dance a broad range of roles and will look with great interest at casting for Winter's Tale.

    And thank you Matthew Golding - a wonderful Onegin and I will remember his Romeo with much affection, partnering Francesca's Juliet as she made her debut.

  18. Karen responded on 10 July 2017 at 3:11pm Reply

    What a shame. The slide into provincial touring company/earnest dancing school continues.
    Eternally grateful I didn't include ROH in my will.

  19. Alistair Jones responded on 10 July 2017 at 4:04pm Reply

    One of the great things about the Royal Ballet is that it is a constantly developing company and supporters can see the talent emerging and developing among the lower ranks. So special to see them climbing up the ladder and attaining to the rank of Principal dancer. It is particularly pleasing that young dancers Reece Clarke, Benjamin Ella and Anna Rose O’Sullivan are now dancing as soloists.

    • Patrick Buckingham responded on 11 July 2017 at 9:39pm

      I agree. The three dancers you mention have been consistently good all year, with Reece having particularly stood out..

  20. Virginia responded on 10 July 2017 at 5:06pm Reply

    I must say I'm very sorry Matthew Golding is off - does anyone know why? I know he hasn't been on stage for quite a while.

  21. r.a. responded on 10 July 2017 at 8:30pm Reply

    It would be good to see the talents of Beatriz Stix-Brunell being recognized - I would like to see her as principal.

    • NT responded on 11 July 2017 at 3:13pm

      Second that comment about Beatriz, hopefully when Laura retires and a principal spot opens up, I'm looking forward to Beatriz getting promoted to fill that spot. I would hate to see her become a second Yuhui, talented and overlooked.

  22. Edward Maxwell responded on 10 July 2017 at 10:54pm Reply

    Congratualtions to all those who have been promoted and commiserations to all who haven't been. But I must join the chorus of complaint - why, oh why, oh why, has Yuhui Choe been overlooked again. Her performances are always of the highest quality and, as her Aurora (standing in for at short notice) showed, of Principal artistry

  23. Stevie responded on 11 July 2017 at 9:43am Reply

    I am pleased and relieved to read that Melissa Hamilton is back, following her extremely impressive and successful stay in Germany. She has been greatly missed and I had started to fear that she may stay away, having received such recognition and high esteem, during her time with Semperoper , from both her stage reviews and appearances in the film of 'Gala Des Etoiles.' , La Scala, She is indeed a great credit to the Royal Ballet and a wonderful ambassador for its talents.
    It is hoped that she will soon be recognised as such by her own company and given appropriate status as principle.

  24. Patricia Baker responded on 11 July 2017 at 6:13pm Reply

    Is it not time for Kevin O'Hare to let all the fans of Yuhui Choe know why she has been overlooked for promotion yet again. Did Yasmine Naghdi out-perform her in the recent Symphonic Variiations - I think not. I knew she was not going to be promoted when I received the 2017/18 Season Programme. Please Mr O'Hare tell us why. How do you break the news each year to Yuhui?

  25. Jorge Salcedo responded on 11 July 2017 at 9:45pm Reply

    Several very deserved promotions, but allow to stress the one of Marcelino Sambé. And I am sure that he may soon be promoted to Principal. I am looking forward for it .

  26. Carol Hazel responded on 12 July 2017 at 1:39am Reply

    Very sad to learn about the departure of Matthew Golding. Why?

    • Carol Hazel responded on 13 July 2017 at 5:58pm

      My family is sad to learn of the departure of Matthew Golding. We have admired his dancing for some time and we feel that he has great stage presence.
      We have been concerned about his recent injuries and we would like to be reassured that he is recovering well as we hope to see him dance again in the future.
      Please, if there is any way to convey our best wishes and our appreciation to him, we would be pleased to know that.

  27. Daphne responded on 12 July 2017 at 7:23pm Reply

    Why did Matthew Golding leave? What are his plans? Thank you for answering. (He was a danser with our Dutch National Ballet for many years.)
    Hope to see all RB cinema performances in the coming season. Absolutely fantastic.

  28. Brian responded on 13 July 2017 at 10:25pm Reply

    I agree with the chorus of disapproval over the failure (yet again) to promote Yuhui Choe to Principal. This is hard to believe given the quality and consistency of her performances over the last 3/4 years. Most disappointed.

  29. Ana responded on 14 July 2017 at 12:01am Reply

    Delighted to see these promotions. Yasmine Naghdi absolutely stole the show in Symphonic Variations - I remember thinking "next principal" throughout the entire performance. Marcelino Sambé as always just a joy to watch this season - well deserved promotion and definitely principal in the making. As for the fabulous Bstix Brunell who was mentioned before - her time surely will come. Congratulations to the entire company on another beautiful season!

  30. Kevin responded on 14 July 2017 at 10:00am Reply

    I like all the dancers that have been promoted, but just to say:

    Benjamin Ella's Benvolio and his Hans-Peter show dignity, intelligence and flair. He is always interesting to see on stage. Even as a minor character on stage, he is believable and convincing.

  31. FLOSS responded on 14 July 2017 at 1:39pm Reply

    A big thank you to the entire company for the quality of their performances during the 2016-17 season. That quality was all the more remarkable when you bear in mind that the company was without two of its male principal dancers for the entire season,The fact that the company coped so well speaks volumes for the quality and abilities of the dancers to be found in the company's junior ranks. I wonder how many other companies would have coped so well. I doubt that many audience members were aware how junior some of the dancers taking major roles were. The depth of talent was underlined by the fact that the company was still providing pleasant surprises with debuts in roles pretty much up to its last performance of Sleeping Beauty. This makes the earlier comment about the company's continuing decline into a provincial touring company or earnest dance school quite perplexing. It would be interesting to know what prompted that comment.

    Congratulations to everyone who has been promoted. All of the promotions are richly deserved.It comes as something of a relief to know that despite earlier reports the AD has not decided to abandon appointing principal character dancers as their presence is so important in narrative works.The promotions suggest that there are likely to be some exciting debuts to look forward to when the casting for Giselle, Manon and the new Swan Lake is announced.

    I am sure that everyone who attends performances regularly has their own favorite dancers but I really don't understand the clamor for specific dancers to be promoted. I don't think that an AD who was influenced in his decision making by the clamor from a particular dancer's fan base would be worth his salt. An AD has to be free to make his own artistic decisions about repertory and personnel on the basis of his long term vision for the company which he runs. Years ago when I was talking about a dancer whom I much admired who was regularly passed over for promotion by the RB's management I was told that I had to remember that in a company like the RB there were dancers at First Soloist level who would have been Principal dancers in most other companies. The dancer in question never got promoted to Principal but she got her performances in the repertory which suited her best and she gave her many fans an inordinate amount of pleasure. It's not a bad fate is it?

    • Anastasia responded on 21 July 2017 at 2:58pm

      Thank you for your comment, I couldn't agree more. I too was surprised to read this unfounded assertion about the RB's decline to a 'provincial touring company'.
      The amount of talent in this company is outstanding and has been proved over and over again this past season. We have seen so many incredible debuts in principal roles of dancers from different ranks - and there are still many more dancers to watch that definitely will forge ahead in the years to come. Kudos to each and every dancer in the company and to the staff of course for an exciting season. It was an absolute pleasure to watch you.

  32. Katie Barnes responded on 15 July 2017 at 12:59am Reply

    Congratulations all round to the promotees and to Kevin O'Hare for getting it just right. Hopefully it won't be long before Matthew Ball and Marcelino Sambe join Yasmin as principals, and it's great to see Reece and Benjamin forging ahead. Fond farewells and thanks to all those departing, though I see that Zenaida is now listed as a guest artist so maybe we'll be seeing her again soon! (Queen of Hearts? Paulina?) No mention of Vincenzo di Primo, last year's Prix de Lausanne dancer, who was so memorable in Anastasia - he isn't still listed, so presumably he has left too?

    • Katie Barnes responded on 17 July 2017 at 11:05pm

      I forgot to add, I'm also very sorry to see Valeri Hristov go. His Onegin found the character's Russian soul and it was easy to see how his Bay Middleton could charm his way into the heart of a lonely Empress. And in the B cast of Strapless lately, the way he brought out Sargent's ruthlessness was scary. I lament that circumstances prevented me seeing his Polixenes. Does anyone know whether he will still do the two Nutcrackers for which he's listed in January? It would be good to see him one more time.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 20 July 2017 at 2:27pm

      Hi Katie,

      At the present time, it's scheduled that Valeri will dance these two performances.

      Thanks

      Chris

  33. Mary responded on 16 July 2017 at 1:39pm Reply

    Congratulations to those promoted - and very good luck to leavers - I always enjoyed Matthew Golding's performances very much - a very elegant figure on stage.

    I am also very sad that Yuhui has not been promoted - I hope very much she will continue to be listed as performer so that I can book tickets to see her. It seemed that I could not find her this last booking period and she is the one for me.

  34. Anna responded on 19 July 2017 at 12:59am Reply

    Melissa Hamilton was my favorite candidate for Principal, however she hasn't been around lately so it's fair that Naghdi, who is a joy and delight to watch, got the promotion.

    Hope that Stix-Brunell and Mayara Magri will soon be promoted.

  35. Dana responded on 20 July 2017 at 9:37am Reply

    Yuhui is unquestionably a very talented dancer indeed - amongst the very best in the world. She is a highly precise, fluid, and natural performer who manages to make every move seem so effortless, maintaining a genuine, generous smile of graceful delight on her face.

    I have never heard any ballerina garner as much applause - and even whistles / shouts of "bravo!" - from the audience. She is a true Royal Ballet favourite and star, and a wonderfully unique dancer with her own personal style.

    Perhaps the lack of a promotion is due to Yuhui's own professional / personal commitments as well? Why do we always assume that these decisions are not negotiated? Sometimes dancers are comfortable with the smaller roles and the ability to freely dip in and out of projects. Think Valentino Zucchetti: a supreme talent but one who also has a desire to choreograph his own material. It would be hard to have such artistic and creative license as a Principal dancer as well.

  36. Sandie responded on 1 August 2017 at 1:03pm Reply

    I am delighted to see that Roberto Bolle's name still appears as Guest Principal on the current list of Dancers. He is a wonderfully talented and expressive dancer and I do hope he will grace the ROH many more times in his career. I was lucky enough to see his Roberto Bolle and Friends Gala in Rome and Verona this year and I thought his performances with the lovely Melissa Hamilton were sublime.

  37. Judge responded on 6 August 2017 at 5:46pm Reply

    My understanding is that disappointingly there were protracted visa issues with Matthew Golding. Perhaps a little flavour of Brexit issues to come; if so we may well end up with a provincial company... Sorry to see him officially go.

    As far as I know Vincenzo di Primo left very early of his own volition.

    Delighted to see promotions for Matthew Ball and Marcelino Sambé, and for Christina Arestis to finally be made Principal Character Artist. Would have liked to see promotion for the stalwart Leticia Stock, but I suppose can't have everything.

  38. Judy walker responded on 7 August 2017 at 3:32pm Reply

    I am just so pleased to see Melussa Hamilton back. Hurrah

  39. I'm a bit surprised to hear there were visa issues for Matthew Golding. I met him in Hong Kong around the time he was to join RB and unless I'm imagining things, recall his telling me he had no UK visa problem as his grandparents were British. Anyway, he is guesting with HK Ballet again in Le Corsaire in November.

  40. avesraggiana responded on 5 October 2017 at 1:42pm Reply

    At 33 years of age, it’ll be a cold day in Hell when Yuhui Choe gets promoted. In the last few years, she has danced her fair share of principal roles, has acquitted herself admirably in all of them.

    In all her performances, she has danced with the finesse and physical expressivity that evinces, “Ballerina Quality.” Hers is a level of dancing that we associate with prima ballerinas.

    In my mind, regardless of whether they ever promote her, that’s what she will always be.

  41. Rebecca responded on 8 October 2017 at 8:21pm Reply

    Yuhui is our favourite too! Hope to see her promoted one day!

Comment on this article

Your email will not be published

Website URL is optional