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Gary Avis

Principal Character Artist of The Royal Ballet

Biography

Gary Avis in action.
Gary Avis in The Nutcracker, The Royal Ballet © ROH/Bill Cooper, 2012

English dancer Gary Avis is Ballet Master and a Principal Character Artist of The Royal Ballet. He joined the Company in 1989 and was promoted to Soloist in 1995 and to Principal Character Artist in 2005. He was made Assistant Ballet Master in 2007 and Ballet Master in 2010. His many roles with the Company include almost all the male Principal Character roles, including Drosselmeyer (The Nutcracker), Von Rothbart (Swan Lake) and Step-Sister (Cinderella). His role creations include Father Shepherd (Christopher Wheeldon's The Winter's Tale).

Avis was born in Ipswich and began ballet training aged 12, having originally planned to go into musical theatre; Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire remain significant inspirations. He trained locally at the Linda Shipton School of Dance and at Bird College, Kent, before joining The Royal Ballet Upper School and graduating into the Company. He left the Company in 1999 to co-found K-Ballet Company in Japan, and danced with English National Ballet for two years before returning to The Royal Ballet in 2004. Avis has enjoyed a long partnership with Darcey Bussell, creating a role with her in Wheeldon's DGV: Danse à grande vitesse and partnering her in her Viva la Diva Arena Tour, on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and at the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony.

In 2011 Avis was made an Honorary Graduate of University Campus Suffolk and was awarded the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Outstanding Male Performance – Classical. He has close ties with The Hunger Project UK, a charity committed to ending world hunger and for whom he has arranged a number of fund-raising gala performances.

Videos

News and features

Your reaction: Ashton Mixed Programme 2014

Your reaction: Ashton Mixed Programme 2014

22 October 2014

Audience comments from the first night of works by Frederick Ashton, including Scènes de ballet and Symphonic Variations.

Watch: Are opera and ballet elitist?

Watch: Are opera and ballet elitist?

3 April 2013

Highlights from The Big Question debate, held at the Royal Opera House.

Your Reaction: Are opera and ballet elitist?

Your Reaction: Are opera and ballet elitist?

12 March 2013

A selection of tweets and comments following our Big Question debate.

The Big Question: Are opera and ballet elitist?

The Big Question: Are opera and ballet elitist?

5 March 2013

First in a new series of live-streamed events to feature debate, performance, and audience questions.

Twitter Q&A: Gary Avis

Twitter Q&A: Gary Avis

14 December 2012

The Principal Character Artist's answers to your questions.

Balletic climax to London 2012 Closing Ceremony

Balletic climax to London 2012 Closing Ceremony

13 August 2012

Darcey Bussell joins Royal Ballet Principals and 200-strong ensemble for finale.

Photos

Zenaida Yanowsky as Manon and Gary Avis as the Gaoler in Kenneth Macmillan's Manon, The Royal Ballet, © ROH / Bill Cooper, 2005

Gary Avis

Tara-Brigitte Bhavnani and Gary Avis in Mayerling, The Royal Ballet © ROH/Johan Persson, 2013

Gary Avis in The Nutcracker © ROH/Johan Persson 2010

Darcey Bussell and Royal Ballet Principals at the London 2012 closing ceremony © Reuters/Gary Hershorn

Gary Avis and Meaghan Grace Hinkis in The Nutcracker © ROH/Bill Cooper 2012

Gary Avis as Drosselmeyer and Brian Maloney and Bethany Keating as Dolls in The Nutcracker ©Johan Persson/ROH 2010

Gary Avis as Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker © ROH / Bill Cooper 2012

Gary Avis as Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker © ROH / Bill Cooper 2012

Gary Avis in The Nutcracker, The Royal Ballet © ROH/Bill Cooper, 2012

Gary Avis as the Gaoler and Artists of the Royal Ballet in Manon, The Royal Ballet © ROH / Johan Persson 2011

Gary Avis in Manon, The Royal Ballet © ROH/Johan Persson, 2011

Melissa Hamilton and Gary Avis

Lauren Cuthbertson as Manon, Gary Avis as Monsieur GM and Christina Arestis as Madam and Artists of The Royal Ballet in Act II of Kenneth Macmillan's Manon © ROH / Tristram Kenton 2011

Gary Avis as Monsieur GM, Lauren Cuthbertson as Manon and José Martin as Lescaut in Manon © ROH / Tristram Kenton 2011

Roberta Marquez as Lise, Ludovic Ondiviella as Alain, Gary Avis as Thomas and Philip Mosley as Widow Simone in La Fille Mal Gardee © Tristram Kenton/ROH 2010

Zenaida Yanowsky as Natalia Petrovna and Gary Avis as Rakitin in A Month in the Country © Dee Conway/ROH 2008