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Artists of The Royal Ballet in Swan Lake, The Royal Ballet © 2018 ROH. Photograph by Bill Cooper
Artists of The Royal Ballet in Swan Lake, The Royal Ballet © 2018 ROH. Photograph by Bill Cooper

The Royal Ballet announces promotions, leavers and joiners for the 2019/20 season

Director of The Royal Ballet Kevin O’Hare today announces promotions, leavers and joiners for The Royal Ballet’s 2019/20 Season.

By Becky Black (Social Media Editor)
Friday 12 July 2019, 4.30pm

Kevin O’Hare comments, 'This is always a special moment in the Season to celebrate the extraordinary talents of our dancers at the varying stages of their careers with The Royal Ballet. My congratulations to those promoted and sincere thanks to those leaving or taking up new positions within the Company for their wonderful commitment and artistry. I am delighted to welcome our new joiners and wish them every happiness dancing with The Royal Ballet'.

As previously announced, Marcelino Sambé has been promoted to Principal. His first performance as a Principal of The Royal Ballet will be as Lescaut in Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon.

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

Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Luca Acri have been promoted to First Soloist.

Romany Pajdak, Isabella Gasparini, Tomas Mock and David Yudes have been promoted to Soloist.

Katharina Nikelski, Amelia Townsend, Yu Hang, Harris Bell, Harrison Lee and Taisuke Nakao from the 2018/19 Aud Jebsen Young Dancers Programme, and formerly graduates of The Royal Ballet School, become Artists in the new Season. Sophie Allnatt, also a graduate of The Royal Ballet School, becomes an Artist following a one-year contract with the Company this Season.

For the 2019/20 Season The Royal Ballet welcomes five dancers to the Aud Jebsen Young Dancers Programme: Madison Bailey, Liam Boswell, Brayden Gallucci, Bomin Kim and Ginevra Zambon, all from The Royal Ballet School.

Sumina Sasaki joins as the Prix de Lausanne dancer for the 2019/20 Season.

Gary Avis becomes Senior Ballet Master and Samantha Raine Senior Ballet Mistress from the 2019/20 Season. These titles reflect the invaluable commitment and contribution made to the artistic strengths of the Company. Gary Avis will continue to perform as a Principal Character Artist with The Royal Ballet.

As previously announced, Principal dancer Nehemiah Kish retires after nine years with The Royal Ballet. He embarks on a course of postgraduate study in the arts and cultural policy at Goldsmiths, University of London, in the autumn.

Helen Crawford steps down as a First Soloist following a successful 20-year career with the Company and has been appointed Ballet Mistress from the 2019/20 Season. First Soloist Hikaru Kobayashi, Soloist Emma Maguire and First Artist Camille Bracher all leave after contributing many valued years across the broad range of the Company’s repertory. The Royal Ballet wishes them well with for the future.

Lania Atkins leaves the Aud Jebsen Young Dancer Programme to join the National Norwegian Ballet. Prix de Lausanne dancer Davide Loricchio leaves to take up a position with the Mikhailovsky Ballet.

Ballet Master and former First Soloist Ricardo Cervera leaves The Royal Ballet to join the teaching staff of The Royal Ballet School. O’Hare comments: 'Since transferring to the ballet staff, Ricardo has been an invaluable member of the team and we will be sad to see him go. With his many years’ experience at the Company, deep knowledge of our repertory and keen eye for detail, he is sure to inspire the emerging talent of the future. The move to his former place of study continues to strengthen the links between Company and School.'

Former Principal Jonathan Cope steps down as a full-time Répétiteur. O’Hare comments: 'Following his extraordinary career as a Principal dancer with The Royal Ballet – one of the finest male dancers of recent times – Jonathan has made a vital contribution to the recent successes of the Company, helping to nurture the artistry of a new generation of dancers. We hope that he will continue to enrich our Principal coaching from time to time.'

Carlos Acosta leaves his position as Principal Guest Répétiteur as he takes up his new post as Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet. O’Hare said, 'With his inimitable passion for dance, Carlos will be an inspirational figure for the city of Birmingham and for the members of BRB and we look forward to maintaining a close relationship between our sister companies.'