Remembering Johaar Mosaval (1928–2023)
The Royal Ballet remembers Johaar Mosaval who died on 16 August at the age of 95.
Johaar Mosaval was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He trained at the Cape Town University Ballet Club and subsequently Sadler’s Wells Ballet School. He graduated into the Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet in 1952. After two years he was promoted to Soloist and four years later to Principal. He toured extensively in the UK and abroad, with the Theatre Ballet, then The Royal Ballet Touring Company and The Royal Ballet New Group. In 1975 he left at the invitation of the South African government to return to his place of birth to set up a ballet school. He continued to make a significant contribution to arts and culture and is recognised for his role in breaking boundaries for diversity in dance.
Mosaval’s virtuoso technique lent him well to such roles as Léonide Massine’s Can Can dancer in La Boutique fantasque as well as the Jester in Cinderella, the Blue Boy in Les Patineurs and Puck in The Dream by Frederick Ashton. His dancing was also distinguished by a delicate blend of comedy and pathos, demonstrated in ballets by John Cranko as the lovesick Jasper in Pineapple Poll and in his created role Bootface in The Lady and the Fool. Other roles included Widow Simone in La Fille mal gardée, Dr Coppélius in Coppélia, Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty and Neapolitan in Swan Lake.
Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, comments, ‘We were sorry to hear the news of Johaar’s passing. We had hoped to see him in London last year when documentary plans had been made for him to return to the Royal Opera House and meet old friends. His qualities illuminated much of our repertory and it is wonderful that he advocated so strongly for dance back in South Africa and was honoured for his work.’