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Gary Avis

Principal Character Artist of The Royal Ballet

Biography

Gary Avis in action.
Gary Avis as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, The Royal Ballet © 2015 ROH. Photograph by Alice Pennefather

English dancer Gary Avis is Senior 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 during the 2009/10 Season, promoted to Senior Ballet Master in 2019. 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). He has created many roles for The Royal Ballet.

He was born in Ipswich and began ballet aged 12, having originally trained in musical theatre; Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire remain major 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. He has enjoyed a long dance partnership with Darcey Bussell, creating a role with her in Christopher Wheeldon’s DGV: Danse à grande vitesse and partnered her in her Farewell Performance from the Royal Ballet, at the Royal Opera House in June 2007 dancing the role of Man, to her Woman, in Song of the Earth. Also partnering her in Viva la Diva Arena Tour on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and at the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony.

In 2011 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by University Campus Suffolk and was awarded the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Outstanding Male Performance (Classical). He supports a wide variety of charitable causes, mainly in his home county of Suffolk (Suffolk Community Foundation) and was involved in the creation of World Hunger Day. He is a patron of the Choreographic Development Fund at Dance East, Chelsea Ballet and is on the board of Dance East. He was made an MBE in 2018.

Videos

News and features

Your Reaction: What did you think of The Nutcracker 2018/19?

3 December 2018
Your Reaction: What did you think of <em>The Nutcracker</em> 2018/19?

Audience responses to The Royal Ballet's Christmas classic, broadcast live to cinemas across the world on opening night.

'Full of imagination and pain and beauty': Exploring human relationships through dance in Woolf Works

9 February 2017
'Full of imagination and pain and beauty': Exploring human relationships through dance in <em>Woolf Works</em>

Wayne McGregor, Max Richter and Alessandra Ferri reveal the literary and human inspirations behind Woolf Works.

Your Reaction: What did you think of The Nutcracker live in cinemas? (2016/17)

8 December 2016
Your Reaction: What did you think of <em>The Nutcracker</em> live in cinemas? (2016/17)

The audience react to this festive ballet as it returns to cinemas across the world in Sir Peter Wright's 90th birthday year.

Photos

Yasmine Naghdi as Juliet and Gary Avis as Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, The Royal Ballet

Anna Rose O'Sullivan as Clara, Gary Avis as Herr Drosselmeyer and artists of The Royal Ballet in The Nutcracker, The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis as Dr Coppélius and Marianela Nuñez as Swanilda in Coppélia

World Ballet Day 2019, Enigma Variations rehearsal

World Ballet Day 2019, Enigma Variations rehearsal

World Ballet Day 2019, Concerto rehearsal

World Ballet Day 2019, Concerto rehearsal

Gary Avis as Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker, The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis and Marianela Nuñez in rehearsal for A Month in the Country, The Royal Ballet

Nathalie Harrison as the Queen and Gary Avis as Von Rothbart in Swan Lake, The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis and Alessandra Ferri in Wayne McGregor's Woolf Works

Gary Avis, Ballet Master and Principal Character Artist with The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis

Francesca Hayward and Gary Avis in The Invitation

Gary Avis and Francesca Hayward in rehearsal for The Invitation, The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis and Alexander Campbell in Romeo and Juliet

Gary Avis as Ugly Sister and Ryoichi Hirano as Suitor in Cinderella, The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis as the High Brahmin and Artists of The Royal Ballet as the D’Jampée dancers in La Bayadère, The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis as The Immortal Kostcheï and Artists of The Royal Ballet in The Firebird, The Royal Ballet

Natalia Osipova as Odile and Gary Avis as Von Rothbart in Swan Lake, The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis in The Nutcracker

Gary Avis in The Nutcracker, The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis as Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker

Gary Avis in Manon, The Royal Ballet

Roberta Marquez as Lise, Ludovic Ondiviella as Alain, Gary Avis as Thomas and Philip Mosley as Widow Simone in La Fille Mal Gardee

William Bracewell and Fumi Kaneko rehearsing with Gary Avis during Ballet Studio Live

Gary Avis as Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker, The Royal Ballet

Mica Bradbury as a Harlot and Gary Avis as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis as The Immortal Kostcheï in The Firebird, The Royal Ballet

Darcey Bussell and Gary Avis in 'Facade' in Margot Fonteyn: A Celebration, The Royal Ballet

Darcey Bussell and Gary Avis in 'Facade' in Margot Fonteyn: A Celebration, The Royal Ballet

Darcey Bussell and Gary Avis in 'Facade' in Margot Fonteyn: A Celebration, The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis as The Immortal Kostcheï in The Firebird, The Royal Ballet

World Ballet Day 2019, Concerto rehearsal

Gary Avis, Ballet Master and Principal Character Artist with The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis as Von Rothbart in Swan Lake, The Royal Ballet