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Gary Avis

Principal Character Artist of The Royal Ballet

Biography

Gary Avis in action.
Alessandra Ferri and Gary Avis in Woolf Works, The Royal Ballet © 2015 ROH. Photograph by Tristram Kenton

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) and in Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works.

Avis 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. 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 which 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.

Photos

Zenaida Yanowsky as Manon and Gary Avis as the Gaoler in Kenneth Macmillan's Manon, The Royal Ballet,

Matthew Golding as Prince Siegfried, Natalia Osipova as Odette and Gary Avis as Von Rothbart in Swan Lake.

Alessandra Ferri and Gary Avis in Woolf Works, The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis in Carmen, The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis as Drosselmeyer and Brian Maloney and Bethany Keating as Dolls in The Nutcracker

Gary Avis as Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker

Darcey Bussell and Royal Ballet Principals at the London 2012 closing ceremony

Zenaida Yanowsky as Natalia Petrovna and Gary Avis as Rakitin in A Month in the Country

Gary Avis as Monsieur GM, Lauren Cuthbertson as Manon and José Martin as Lescaut in Manon

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

Gary Avis, Ludovic Ondiviela and Mara Galeazzi in Ludovic Ondiviela’s Cassandra

Gary Avis as the Gaoler and Artists of the Royal Ballet in Manon, The Royal Ballet

Melissa Hamilton and Gary Avis

Gary Avis and Meaghan Grace Hinkis in The Nutcracker

Tara-Brigitte Bhavnani and Gary Avis in Mayerling, The Royal Ballet

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

Gary Avis in The Nutcracker, The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis as Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker

Gary Avis in The Nutcracker

Gary Avis in Manon, The Royal Ballet

Gary Avis

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