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The Royal Ballet announces promotions for 2018/19 Season

Matthew Ball is promoted to Principal dancer, the highest rank in the Company.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

13 July 2018 at 7.30am | 70 Comments

The Royal Ballet has announced promotions for the 2018/19 season.

Matthew Ball been promoted to Principal dancer, the highest rank in the Company.

Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, comments: ‘I’m delighted that Matthew Ball will be a Principal dancer from the start of the 2018/19 Season. He has had a tremendous year with some very exciting debuts in both classical and contemporary ballets across the repertory as well as creating roles in the new works. It is wonderful that Matthew has achieved so much since he joined the company from the Royal Ballet School and I eagerly look forward to watching this next chapter of his career.’

Born in Liverpool, Matthew Ball joined the Company in 2013 after training at The Royal Ballet School. His repertory with the Company includes Albrecht (Giselle), The Prince (The Nutcracker), Prince Florimund (The Sleeping Beauty), Prince Siegfried (Swan Lake), Armand (Marguerite and Armand), Lensky (Onegin) and Romeo (Romeo and Juliet). His contemporary work includes Obsidian Tear, Woolf Works and Yugen by Wayne McGregor, Corybantic Games by Christopher Wheeldon and Symphonic Dances by Liam Scarlett.

Matthew’s first major role as a Principal will be in La Bayadère as Solor. He will feature in Alastair Marriott’s new work, The Unknown Soldier, which premieres on Tuesday 20 November and commemorates the centenary of the end of the First World War. In December, he will perform with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures at Sadler’s Wells, dancing the role of The Swan in Swan Lake.

Kevin O’Hare has also made the following promotions within the Company:

William Bracewell, Tierney Heap, Fumi Kaneko, and Mayara Magri are promoted to First Soloist.

Calvin Richardson has been promoted to Soloist. Téo Dubreuil and Joseph Sissens are promoted to First Artist.

Stanisław Węgrzyn, who was Prix de Lausanne dancer for the 2017/18 Season, becomes an Artist.

Sae Maeda, Nadia Mullova-Barley, Joonhyuk Jun, Joshua Junker and Aiden O’Brien also become Artists, after joining the Company at the start of the last Season as Aud Jebsen Young Dancers, a programme which provides recently graduated dancers a year’s contract to work and perform alongside the corps de ballet of The Royal Ballet whilst receiving mentoring and coaching.

Details of leavers and joiners will be announced in due course.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

13 July 2018 at 7.30am

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged Ballet, kevin o'hare, Matthew Ball, promotions, The Royal Ballet

This article has 70 comments

  1. Kim Oconnell responded on 13 July 2018 at 7:36am Reply

    Congrats to all of you , especially Matt . Exceptionally well done & very much deserved. Thankyou to all for continuing to delight season after season & looking forward to seeing your careers blossom further . Magnificent

  2. W J Owen responded on 13 July 2018 at 7:44am Reply

    Congratulations to Matthew Ball. Great to see a scouser as principal. It’s been lovely following his career.
    I’m sad to see Melissa Hamilton has not been promoted to principal. I love watching her dance. I hope to see her in more principal roles next season.

    • Yes, I was hoping that Melissa Hamilton would become a Principal Dancer. She's even better than some older Principals!!

  3. Steph responded on 13 July 2018 at 7:48am Reply

    Congratulations everyone! Very well deserved promotion of Matthew Ball. Especially happy for Fumi Kaneko and Calvin Richardson being promoted - would love to see more of them!

  4. Daphne Vakacegu responded on 13 July 2018 at 7:58am Reply

    Congratulations to all the dancers receiving promotions - fantastic news. I live in Korea so I really appreciate watching the RB online video clips of rehearsals - because of these I know who most of the dancers are and love hearing great news about them. Thank you Kevin O'Hare and the Royal Ballet!

  5. Angela Hurlstone responded on 13 July 2018 at 8:05am Reply

    Congratulations to Matthew Ball on his promotion to principal. He is an outstanding dancer.

  6. Richard responded on 13 July 2018 at 8:12am Reply

    Many congratulations to all - particularly well deserved for William Bracewell after his lovely interpretation of Siegfried in Swan Lake, and especially pleased too for stalwarts Tierney Heap and Mayara Magri who can always be relied upon for great performances.

  7. Michael Sharpe responded on 13 July 2018 at 8:40am Reply

    Thrilled for Matt,though it was clearly going to happen,and for Fumi.Disappoined for Reece Clarke,who deserves to be a first soloist.

  8. Peter Hillyar-Russ responded on 13 July 2018 at 8:53am Reply

    And all well deserved, but there do seem to be some names missing; mostly female dancers - this list shows nine promotions for men, and five for women.

  9. Fiona responded on 13 July 2018 at 9:33am Reply

    BBC Radio 3 played a piece from Giselle this morning in his honour and relayed the story when Matthew had to step in after the first act to dance with Osipova when David Hallberg popped his calf muscle.

  10. Rachel Miller responded on 13 July 2018 at 9:35am Reply

    Very happy to see Mayara Magri, Fumi Kaneko, and Tierney Heap promoted to First Soloist!!! Three of my favourites! And of course Matthew Ball. Congratulations to all those promoted!! Also lovely to see Nadia enter the company as an artist, after seeing her in the documentary about The Nutcracker not so long ago.

  11. George Dicksons responded on 13 July 2018 at 10:06am Reply

    Well, in fact there are only eight promotions of established members of the Company: three female promotions (Kaneko, Heap,Magri) and five male promotions (Ball, Bracewell, Richardson, Dubreuil and Sissens), all coming from within the ranks of RB.

    The other six are apprentices who are now officially contracted to join the corps de ballet as Artists so they are Joiners, not promoted dancers.

  12. Steve Clark responded on 13 July 2018 at 10:08am Reply

    Congratulations to all! Although, as far as I am concerned, the entire Company are Principals

  13. Victor responded on 13 July 2018 at 10:53am Reply

    Congratulations Matthew Ball , after all the hard work, sweat, blood & tears , well deserved indeed . Melissa Hamilton should be promoted as well this year .

  14. Diane Whitehead responded on 13 July 2018 at 11:04am Reply

    Huge congratulations to Matthew- very well deserved

  15. Stevie responded on 13 July 2018 at 11:47am Reply

    Is that it ????????????????

  16. ML responded on 13 July 2018 at 11:47am Reply

    Congratulations to everyone, especially to Calvin, Joseph, Tierney, William and Fumi, who have consistently put in impeccable performances in every role they've had, whether in the corps or in a featured part.

  17. Iris Trollerud responded on 13 July 2018 at 12:52pm Reply

    Congratulations to all! So happy for Matthew Ball, especially since I was there when he had to step in for David Hallberg in Giselle, that was a great job!

  18. Vitoria S. responded on 13 July 2018 at 1:10pm Reply

    Not surprised at all with Matthew’s promotion! With the attention he’s been getting lately and the many roles he’s dancing, it was only a mater of time to see him becoming a Principal.
    I’m also delighted to see Mayara and Fumi becoming First Soloists, they definitely deserve it. Mayara’s promotion was very well timed, but for the past few years I had always felt as if Fumi was being passed over. Thankfully not!
    Calvin Richardson is a gorgeous dancer and a promise for the company as well, good to see him being recognized. The only dancer I was expecting to be promoted this season who wasn’t is Reece Clarke! But then again, his time is definitely coming as well.

  19. r.a. responded on 13 July 2018 at 1:39pm Reply

    Absolutely delighted for Matthew Ball. I was present when he stepped in for Act II of Giselle. I also saw him partner Osipova twice in Swan Lake and I think it is a very special partnership. He is a very versatile dancer, equally at home in classical roles and in contemporary repertoire.
    I hope very much that Beatriz Stix-Brunell will be given more opportunities in 2018/19. I think she is an outstanding dancer and I look forward to seeing her promoted to principal soon.
    Of the other promotions this tine round, I'm very pleased to see Tierney Heap become 1st soloist. I've been so impressed with her work this year especially in Wheeldon's Bernstein ballet and in the Spanish dance in Swan Lake.

  20. elleG responded on 13 July 2018 at 1:50pm Reply

    This list of promotions is great. All these dancers can adapt to a wide range of choreography, all invest themselves totally in the role they are playing, are all technically secure, and all have that 'extra something' which draws the eye whenever they are on stage. Huge congratulations to all.

  21. Many congratulations to all those promoted - thoroughly well deserved in every single case! I'm especially thrilled for Matthew Ball and William Bracewell, both of whom have been exceptional in every role I've seen them dance. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what they, and the whole Company, bring to the stage over the next season. It can't come soon enough!

  22. Great news on all the promotions but really would like to see Marcelino Sambe promoted to Principle his dancing is infectious and his presence lights up the stage.

    • Raphael responded on 13 July 2018 at 3:01pm

      he's had a rapid ascent since starting the royal ballet and was promoted again just last year, his time will come!

    • Jorge Salcedo Fernandes responded on 13 July 2018 at 7:40pm

      I fully agree with you . Marcelino was only very unlucky to be injured the way I heard he was during part of the season. If not, and in my humble opinion, he would be the one that would more deserve to be promoted to Principal . I hope it will happen next year.

  23. Yulia responded on 13 July 2018 at 2:48pm Reply

    Congratulations Matt and Mayara !!!!

  24. Raphael responded on 13 July 2018 at 3:03pm Reply

    some news worthy of the cycle today, elevating people who actually deserve it, congrats all around!

  25. A and P. Miller responded on 13 July 2018 at 3:54pm Reply

    Congratulations to all dancers that have been promoted especially Matthew Ball as Principal and the very expressive William Bracewell who joined the company last season and was exceptional as Siegfried in the wonderful new production of Swan lake.

  26. Joanne Simmons responded on 13 July 2018 at 3:54pm Reply

    Congratulations to M Ball

  27. Valerie Knight responded on 13 July 2018 at 4:21pm Reply

    Many congratulations to all. So pleased Matthew Ball has been promoted to Principal, well deserved. Also pleased to see Stanislaw Wegryzn is now an Artist in the Company. I remember seeing him as Prize winner at the Prix de Lausanne on Youtube in 2017.

  28. Sally de Koning responded on 13 July 2018 at 4:46pm Reply

    Congratulations to all but especially Joseph Sissens. I have seen him dance from a young age and is well deserving of this promotion.

  29. Leona Lawson responded on 13 July 2018 at 5:29pm Reply

    Congratulations to all the promoted dancers, they all deserve it so much! But I am especially happy for Fumi Kaneko, who had to wait a little for this promotion and absolutely thrilled for William Bracewell and Calvin Richardson, who both had an amazing season! Cant wait for the next season with new great opportunities for these dancers!

  30. Lyn responded on 13 July 2018 at 6:01pm Reply

    Congratulations to Matthew on a well deserved promotion.
    Congratulations also to all the others who have been promoted.
    I too would have loved to see Sambe as Principal. Such a charismatic dancer

  31. I'm specially thrilled for the promotion of Mayara. She's one of my favorites. Congratulations to the rest of dancers who have been promoted!!!! Each one of you is really special.
    I 'm disappointed for Melissa Hamilton. She's so good and really stands out among her fellow First Soloists.
    And..what about Cesar Corrales???? Isn't he supposed to be in the company now????

  32. Joacasta responded on 13 July 2018 at 7:11pm Reply

    No promotion for Reece Clarke! Scandalous.

  33. judy walker responded on 13 July 2018 at 7:39pm Reply

    I am very sad Melissa Hamilton hasn't been promoted. I think she is famtastic, a real favourite. She hadn't danced enough since her return for my liking

  34. Anke responded on 13 July 2018 at 7:45pm Reply

    Yuhui...? :(

  35. John Progate responded on 13 July 2018 at 8:03pm Reply

    Particularly disappointed at Melissa Hamilton not getting promoted. She was wonderful in Manon and deserves a principle position at Royal. Also Reece Clarke should have been pushed up too Congratulations to Matt Ball who was great this year.

  36. R H Handley responded on 13 July 2018 at 8:28pm Reply

    Very good news, and am particularly pleased to see Tierney Heap amongst them. Well done everyone'''

  37. Anne Glover responded on 13 July 2018 at 10:10pm Reply

    Brilliant promotion for Matthew Ball - so well deserved!! Looking forward to many years seeing you dance!! Our total treat!! Congrats!!

  38. Helen responded on 13 July 2018 at 11:05pm Reply

    So pleased to see Joseph Sissens has been promoted - what an exceptional young dancer!

  39. Rachel responded on 14 July 2018 at 8:51am Reply

    Congratulations to all the dancers who have been promoted, the whole company have given brilliant performances this year so standing out is particularly impressive. It’s fantastic to see Matthew Ball’s talent and artistry rewarded, he is absolutely sublime.

  40. Irina responded on 14 July 2018 at 2:44pm Reply

    Really delighted for Calvin Richardson!
    He’s a fantastic dancer! May be the best in the whole company.

  41. Sarah Langfield responded on 15 July 2018 at 3:44pm Reply

    Delighted for the brilliant Mayara Magri my favourite dancer and a truly humble person.

  42. Caroline responded on 16 July 2018 at 11:22am Reply

    Congratulations to all promotees. How lucky we are to have such wonderful dancers in the company. The fact that there are so many others who could/should have been promoted is testament to the depth of talent that Kevin O'Hare has to call on. Yes, I would like to have seen others elevated but their time will come. Whatever Kevin does is OK with me.

  43. Jane Sprague responded on 17 July 2018 at 11:19pm Reply

    Congratulations to all. Delighted to see Matthew Ball achieve this accolade. Have thoroughly enjoyed watching him dance recently, particularly enjoyed his rehearsal of Marguerite and Armand at the Royal Ballet school

  44. Morton D. Paley responded on 18 July 2018 at 2:20am Reply

    Matthew Ball is a great danseur noble, a superb partner for Natalia Osipova in Giselle.

  45. Danielle responded on 18 July 2018 at 12:49pm Reply

    Really happy for Mayara! Disappointed for Yuhui, once again. I think she should consider working elsewhere.

  46. Brian responded on 19 July 2018 at 10:11am Reply

    Congratulations to Matthew Ball but it is very disappointing that Yuhui Choe and Melissa Hamilton haven't been promoted.

  47. Judge responded on 20 July 2018 at 6:17pm Reply

    Fantastic news on Matthew Ball. He has developed from a promising start in to an exceptional dancer, utterly majestic in princely roles and expressing great emotional depth.

    Like others, I’m also disappointed that Melissa has not been promoted, as I relish the opportunity to see her perform. But I’m not at all surprised. I can’t help feeling that she would almost certainly have been promoted by now had she not decided to go off to Dresden. Paving the way for Akane, Francesca and Yasmine to leapfrog her.

  48. Liane responded on 20 July 2018 at 10:06pm Reply

    The failure to promote Melisa Hamilton is bizarre and makes me wonder what's really going on. She exploded into the company 2007 into 2008 becoming an obvious choice for Macgregor, since then developing into the best Macmillan dancer in the Company. In a recent Swan Lake, she commanded the stage as the Hungarian Princess even with Odile dancing. She's danced the roles and Principal is therefore about recognition; come on Kevin, which boxes are not being ticked, I think we should be told.

  49. Thoroughly deserved by all and am especially pleased about Matthew Ball and Mayara Magri. I still fail to comprehend why the brilliant Melissa Hamilton has sadly been overlooked again to be promoted to Principal.

  50. I can only agree that Reece Clarke is due for promotion. ROH can not afford to lose him !

  51. Matthew responded on 23 July 2018 at 4:26pm Reply

    I agree about Miss Choe. I always book for her performances. She is magnificent. She radiates charm and dignity.

  52. Chaplin responded on 27 July 2018 at 12:00am Reply

    It's very bizarre to me that Yuhui Chloe has not been promoted to principle when she's already danced several of the roles. I believe she's been a first soloist for about 10 years now. Some of the dancers who are principles are not quite as deserving of the title in comparison to Choe.

  53. Kristine responded on 2 August 2018 at 9:33am Reply

    I wonder why Yuhue is still not promoted ... such a talented dancer

  54. Louise Vialard responded on 5 August 2018 at 7:51pm Reply

    I also want to know why Yuhui choe is still not promoted she is wonderful (and beautiful)!

  55. Maggie B responded on 7 August 2018 at 10:55am Reply

    I have seen stunning performances this year from Melissa Hamilton and Beatriz Stix-Brunell, so was disappointed neither were promoted. This situation saddens me. I am puzzled as to why an existing principal dancer who has never danced the principal roles in 'Swan Lake' and 'Romeo and Juliet' is able to retain their principal status, thus blocking the chances of other dancers - it does not make sense. It's a poor management decision Mr O'Hare !!

  56. avesraggiana responded on 16 August 2018 at 4:40am Reply

    Yuhui Choe passed over for promotion to prima ballerina again. That's not only scandalous, that's criminal.

    Anybody called in to pinch hit as Aurora in SB for an injured Natalia Osipova deserves to be promoted to principal out of hand.

    Come on, Kevin.

  57. Anne responded on 31 August 2018 at 12:17pm Reply

    I do think it's time now that the RB address their failure to promote Yuhui Choe, especially when so many of their paying audience members are clamouring for her promotion. What can possibly be the reason?!! It is very clear that she is hugely popular with audiences and she has already danced many of the principal roles. She is one of the best ballerinas in the world yet she continues to be left on the shelf, it's absolutely heart-breaking. We want to see her dance exclusively principal roles. Does the RB not care at all what their audience thinks? It's shameful.

  58. Liz Ough responded on 12 September 2018 at 8:20pm Reply

    Best wishes to Fernando Montaño for the coming year. Come back soon as will miss your presence,
    Good luck in whatever you do and looking for further promotion on your return.

  59. Shelley responded on 16 September 2018 at 5:56am Reply

    when is yuhui going to be promoted to principal?!? shes a phenomenal dancer and she deserves it. i cant believe shes passed over again.

  60. Michael responded on 22 September 2018 at 12:42am Reply

    Yuhui Choe passed over again. Congrats to everyone but this is so disappointing.

  61. Cathy responded on 29 November 2018 at 9:01pm Reply

    Congratulations to Tierney Heap xxx

  62. Jimin Lee responded on 14 December 2018 at 2:56pm Reply

    how about Yuhui Choe??
    It is good to keep the tradition.But this is not,,

  63. Natassja responded on 16 January 2019 at 5:33am Reply

    when will Yuhui Choe be promoted? her promotion has been long overdue!

  64. Jasmin responded on 10 February 2019 at 5:36am Reply

    Yuhui Choe being overlooked again. I wonder what's going on? Or maybe she discussed it with O'Hare? Some dancers have a reason not to promote.

    On the other hand she is the one who deserves it the most.

    I feel other dancers who have been principles for a long time aren't as deserving.

    Yuhui Choe is now in her mid-30s, so almost too late. On the other hand she looks young and fresh compared to other dancers her age.

    I think we deserve a explanation as to why there is no promotion for Yuhui Choe.

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