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Rupert Pennefather

Principal of The Royal Ballet


English dancer Rupert Pennefather is a Principal with The Royal Ballet. He trained at The Royal Ballet School and graduated into the Company in 1999. He was promoted to Principal in 2008 following his role debut as Romeo. Other signature roles include Crown Prince Rudolf (Mayerling), Des Grieux (Manon), Prince Siegfried (Swan Lake), James (La Sylphide), Albrecht (Giselle), and Beliaev (A Month in the Country).

Pennefather was born in Maidenhead. He joined his twin sister's ballet class at age 7 and went on to train as a Junior Associate at White Lodge and at Tring Park School before studying privately with Julie Roach. He joined The Royal Ballet Upper School and in 1999 graduated into the Company.

One of Pennefather's first major roles was as Paris, partnering Sylvie Guillem's Juliet. This role was soon followed by dancing in Sylvia with Marianela Nuñez and A Month in the Country with Darcey Bussell. In addition to the classical and dramatic ballets, his repertory includes roles in DGV: Danse à grandevitesse, Chroma, Song of the Earth and Acis and Galatea (with The Royal Opera). He created roles in Sensorium and 24 Preludes, among others.

Upcoming productions

  • DGV: Danse à grande vitesse

    Cast as Principal

    Christopher Wheeldon channels the hurtling momentum of Michael Nyman’s music in choreography of thrilling propulsion.

  • Sweet Violets

    Cast as Walter Sickert

    Murder, sexuality and art are the potent themes of Liam Scarlett’s ballet, inspired by Walter Sickert’s paintings.

  • Manon

    Cast as Des Grieux

    Kenneth MacMillan's acclaimed tragic ballet is a modern masterpiece.

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

    Cast as Jack/The Knave of Hearts

    Follow Alice down the rabbit hole in Christopher Wheeldon’s thrillingly entertaining ballet.


News and features

  1. The Male Virtuoso

    The Male Virtuoso

    A look at the development of the male dancer.

  2. Rupert Pennefather makes debut in Manon

    Rupert Pennefather makes debut in Manon

    Royal Ballet Principal makes his debut on his birthday

  3. A World Stage - Rupert Pennefather

    A World Stage - Rupert Pennefather

    Watch the latest film in our World Stage series.