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Edward Watson

Principal of The Royal Ballet

Biography

Edward Watson in action.
Edward Watson in rehearsal for 24 Preludes © ROH/Johan Persson, 2013

English dancer Edward Watson is a Principal of The Royal Ballet. He has won particular acclaim for his interpretation of Principal roles in the works of Kenneth MacMillan, including Crown Prince Rudolf (Mayerling), Romeo, Des Grieux (Manon), The Chosen One (The Rite of Spring), Woyzeck (Different Drummer) and roles in Gloria and Song of the Earth, in addition to his many other roles for The Royal Ballet. In the Linbury Studio Theatre he created the role of Gregor Samsa (Arthur Pita’s The Metamorphosis) and a special mixed programme with Wendy Whelan.

Watson was born in Bromley, South London. He started going to ballet lessons aged three with his twin sister and joined The Royal Ballet School aged 11. He graduated into The Royal Ballet in 1994 and was promoted to First Artist in 1998, Soloist in 2000, First Soloist in 2002 and Principal in 2005. Watson’s extreme flexibility has often made him a muse for The Royal Ballet’s Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor and Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon. Role creations for McGregor include in Symbiont(s), Qualia, Chroma, Infra, Limen, Carbon Life, Raven Girl, Tetractys and Woolf Works, and for Wheeldon Lewis Carroll/The White Rabbit (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), Leontes (The Winter’s Tale) and John Singer Sargent (Strapless). Watson has worked with numerous other choreographers, including Siobhan Davies, Alastair Marriott, Cathy Marston (whom he has known from childhood) and Ashley Page.

Other significant roles with the Company include Count Albrecht (Giselle), Palemon (Ondine) and Ivan Tsarevich (The Firebird). In 2012 Watson received an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance for The Metamorphosis. He was awarded an MBE in 2015.

Videos

News and features

Watch: 'Opera, Ballet and the Bard' Insights event on demand.

Watch: 'Opera, Ballet and the Bard' Insights event on demand.

15 April 2016

Shakespeare Day insights event focuses on operas and ballets inspired by the playwright's work, including The Winter's Tale, Romeo and Juliet and Otello.

Watch: Inside The Royal Ballet's state-of-the-art Healthcare Suite

Watch: Inside The Royal Ballet's state-of-the-art Healthcare Suite

14 January 2016

Like a Premier League football club, The Royal Ballet uses the latest sports science to ensure its artists have long and successful careers.

Gallery: Portraits of Royal Ballet dancers by photographer Rick Guest

Gallery: Portraits of Royal Ballet dancers by photographer Rick Guest

29 December 2015

A new exhibition and two new books focus on what it takes to be a ballet dancer.

Photos

Edward Watson in Ceremony of Innocence

Lauren Cuthbertson in Alastair Marriott’s Connectome

Lauren Cuthbertson and Matthew Ball in Alastair Marriott’s Connectome

Natalia Osipova and Edward Watson in Connectome

Edward Watson in Song of the Earth

Jonathan Howells, Lauren Cuthbertson, Edward Watson, Charlotte Westenra and Christopher Wheeldon in rehearsal for Strapless, The Royal Ballet

Edward Watson in rehearsal for Strapless, The Royal Ballet

Edward Watson and Natalia Osipova in rehearsal for Strapless, The Royal Ballet

Natalia Osipova and Edward Watson in rehearsal for Strapless, The Royal Ballet

Edward Watson photographed for The Language of the Soul

Edward Watson in rehearsals for Raven Girl

Edward Watson and Liam Mower in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake for Sampling The Myth, The Royal Ballet

Edward Watson in Whelan/Watson: Other Stories.

Edward Watson in rehearsal for Woolf Works, The Royal Ballet

Edward Watson in The Four Temperaments

Natalia Osipova and Edward Watson in rehearsals for Connectome

Lauren Cuthbertson and Edward Watson in The Human Seasons

Edward Watson in rehearsal for 24 Preludes

Edward Watson

Edward Watson in rehearsal for The Winter's Tale

Edward Watson in rehearsal for The Winter's Tale

Edward Watson and Lauren Cuthbertson in rehearsal for The Winter's Tale

Edward Watson in Tetractys - The Art of Fugue, The Royal Ballet

Edward Watson as Des Grieux and Mara Galeazzi as Manon in Manon

Edward Watson

Edward Watson and Melissa Hamilton in Fool's Paradise.

Edward Watson in rehearsals for Metamorphosis: Titian 2012.

Leanne Benjamin in rehearsals for Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, with Edward Watson and Carlos Acosta.

Edward Watson and Marianela Nunez in Infra

Edward Watson as Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis

Edward Watson on the set of the Spring 2012 World Stage shoot

Edward Watson on the set of the Spring 2012 World Stage shoot

Edward Watson on the set of the Spring 2012 World Stage shoot

Edward Watson rehearsing The Rite of Spring

Edward Watson rehearsing The Rite of Spring

Edward Watson as The White Rabbit in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland