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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

Swan Lake to be live screened in cinemas across the world on 17 March 2015

Swan Lake to be live screened in cinemas across the world on 17 March 2015

12 March 2015

Anthony Dowell's production of perhaps the greatest Romantic ballet of all stars Natalia Osipova, Matthew Golding and Gary Avis.

International ballet stars to perform at Ann Maguire Gala on 22 March 2015

International ballet stars to perform at Ann Maguire Gala on 22 March 2015

26 January 2015

Evening of world class dance to honour the life of Ann Maguire and celebrate her legacy.

Digital Theatre to host watch-along of The Nutcracker on 21 December 2014

Digital Theatre to host watch-along of The Nutcracker on 21 December 2014

15 December 2014

Watch the classic Christmas production with ballet fans around the world.

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.

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