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The Royal Ballet in review: A look back on 2013 from Kevin O'Hare

The Director of The Royal Ballet picks out his highlights of the year. Do you agree?

By Kevin O'Hare (Director of The Royal Ballet)

30 December 2013 at 11.21am | 7 Comments

It's been quite a year for The Royal Ballet – here are just a few of my highlights:

New work

Six new creations were staged, two carrying on The Royal Ballet tradition of narrative works: Wayne McGregor's evocative and poetic Raven Girl and Liam Scarlett's dark and compelling Hansel and Gretel. Christopher Wheeldon took us to a beautiful other world in Aeternum and Alexei Ratmansky worked with the company in the more abstract but romantic 24 Preludes. We celebrated Britten's centenary with Kim Brandstrup's intimate and intriguing Ceremony of Innocence at the Aldeburgh Festival and in November we welcomed British-born David Dawson, who created the atmospheric The Human Seasons. In addition we added an exhilarating new full-length work to the repertory with Carlos Acosta's exuberant Don Quixote, already an audience favourite.

Heritage works

Heritage works also played a major part as we celebrated Frederick Ashton in February – it was particularly wonderful to see Monotones after so long – and in March Kenneth MacMillan's masterly Mayerling was given powerhouse performances by no fewer than five terrific casts.

Orchestral delights

We enjoyed the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House playing newly commissioned scores by Gabriel Yarad and Greg Haines, and storming through the centenary celebratory performances of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring under Barry Wordsworth's baton.

Awards and international audiences

A clutch of awards were won celebrating the success of productions, choreography and dancers, and the Company got seriously mobile with performances in Rio de Janeiro, Snape, Derry, Monte Carlo and Tokyo. The Company's performances of Alice's Adventures in WonderlandDon Quixote and The Nutcracker were seen in 300 cinemas in the UK and over 1,000 cinemas in 29 countries worldwide.

Chance to Dance

It was a delight to see the youngsters of Chance to Dance tackling the complexities of Kenneth MacMillan's The Rite of Spring with gusto and great aplomb, as well as the professionalism and charm of The Royal Ballet School White Lodgers in helping to bring Peter Wright's Nutcracker to life. The future certainly looks bright.

Joiners and leavers

Our world-class roster of Principals led the Company in sparkling style and although we said goodbye to some of our well-known and familiar dancers we also welcomed some new ones who will surely be part of the Royal Ballet family for years to come.


Finally, great performances are the pinnacle of the combined efforts of a great many people. Not just through the extraordinary artistry and dedication of the dancers on stage but also through the efforts of the entire artistic and administrative staff and the behind-the-scenes technicians in every department of the Opera House. That, for me, is an unseen highlight which can’t go unmentioned.

What were your Royal Ballet highlights of 2013?

This article has 7 comments

  1. Jean Roberts responded on 30 December 2013 at 3:50pm Reply

    Carlos Acosta's 'Don Quixote'. His dancing with Marianela Nunez was glorious! Together with their musicality and timing, their stage presence propels them into another sphere way above the rest!

    You have two gems, treasure them!

  2. What a busy year it's been for The Royal. Perfection is exhausting, isn't it! I'd agree, a good selection, but then you have some great on and off the stage.

  3. Paul responded on 2 January 2014 at 6:25pm Reply

    Alina Cojocaru leaving and Natalia Osipova joining. The former was sad, the latter - fabulous. The rest was noise.

  4. Enid Massingham responded on 7 January 2014 at 10:57pm Reply

    Alina Cojocaru leaving when she is possibly reaching the height of her powers was desperately sad, with as yet no sign of her returning as a guest artiste.

  5. jackie dallos responded on 21 March 2014 at 8:04pm Reply

    A fabulous year and a wonderful reflective page highlighting some great work. We are loving the HD broadcasts of performances over here in Greece and are very thankful for the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your companies work. May 2014 be a truly blessed year for you all.

  6. John Thorburn responded on 15 September 2017 at 11:26am Reply

    Dear Kevin O'Hare, please bring back Alina Cojocaru. Monica Mason gave away your best dancer for generations. I'm still on the RBallet mailing list but rarely go. Osipova is athletic but Cojocaru was the real thing. Any chance of bringing her back? PLEASE! Or it's time to drop the mailing list. Sad that. John Thorburn

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